Speak in 'Business.' 🔬 (EBH#171: Rio)
You have your language. The business has theirs. There's surprisingly little overlap.
Mission: Create a million employer brand thinkers (like you!)
Employer Brand Headlines is written by James Ellis. »» Yes, you should say hello! ««
If your employer brand is still centered solely around your culture, mission and free lunches —you’re losing candidates. In a red-hot talent market, TA teams need to be hotter —your employer brand needs to stand out.
How? We’re here to help. Take this quiz to find out exactly how spicy your recruiting skills are. Whether you’re a bell pepper or a hot tamale, we’ll show you how to bring the heat to your strategy in 2023.
Three months ago, I announced my very first cohort class to help senior recruiters, HRBPs and employer branders to build their own employer brands. 19 people signed up and over the course of six weeks, they built their own employer brands. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, so I’m thrilled to open the course up again.
If you’re budgeting for an employer brand or EVP in 2023, maybe you should think about building your own. The next two cohorts start January 10th.
The Big Idea
The Employer Brander’s Lament is simple: no one understands me (or my work).
It’s a fair complaint. You’re doing a kind of marketing that most marketers don’t understand (quality vs quantity). Your doing marketing with people who don’t value marketing (recruiters). Your boss probably came from marketing or recruiting, so employer branding isn’t something they have a great deal of experience in. And since EB itself is relatively, we’re all learning how to describe its value to people (or even deciding what that value is). Add to that the sheer tonnage of people (mostly on LinkedIn and in HR publications) who see EB as a sales opportunity and are confusing the people who make decisions about your work as to what EB should be.
So yeah, we come by it honestly.
You could choose to spend your days educating everyone about EB. And while education is a core part of your job, you also need to execute and education isn’t directly productive.
The alternative approach is to educate their bosses: the business.
The teams that make the product and service, the people who drive sales and create growth, that’s the business I’m talking about. And everyone in the company listens to the people who make the money happen.
So if you can get the business to care about employer brand, everyone else will follow suit.
How to make the business care? Start by talking in their language.
Business only cares about three things: making money, saving money, and extending the brand (reaching new audiences so that they can, you guessed it, make more money).
Every function in your company is there to support those three ideas. Which means you should be, too.
Or at the very least, you need to talk in those terms.
I’m not suggesting that you change what you are doing, but rather understand that a lot of what you do doesn’t have a direct connection to these three things, so stop bragging about them. The business doesn’t care about applicant-to-hire ratios or what the career site looks like. When your tweet gets a thousand likes or your video gets featured in an industry publication, that’s meaningful to you, but the business doesn’t care. Heck, its work to make the business see how a lower time-to-fill saves them money.
Your work matters. The question is: are you talking about your work in a way that the business cares about?
The “Secret Strength” strategy. The heart of strategy is knowing your own strengths and being intentional about where to apply that strength. So do you know your strength? Is there a less obvious strength you have access to? I think of Amazon shipping a bajillion boxes worldwide. They might think of their strength as “logistics” but the less obvious strength is that they own bajillions of cubic feet of advertising space on their boxes and tape. If I was Target or Walmart, I might decide that all my bathrooms will be public (think of how much foot traffic they get) and sell toilet paper and soap rights to my paper and soap vendors. Got a new TP? Put it in every Target and Walmart bathroom and a million people will try it out in a month. What do you have a lot of? What do you throw a way a lot? What is your secret strength you can leverage to tell your story? Maybe its something as simple as what can you put in your job postings, as you have lots of them and lots of people see them.
The Employer Brand Minute
Perfectly sharable (with your team, your recruiters, your boss) employer brand thinking in short video form. This week, I covered topics like being specific, being an influencer, using the right bait, and this one with a trick to developing long-term credibility with leadership. (Remember to subscribe on YouTube!)
The magic of understanding and using your brand position starts with creating a filter: deciding in advance what’s worth saying and what’s just going to sound like noise to your targets.
But there are more advantages to having a strong position: de-positioning your competitors. Imagine you’re a little company who’s the first in your space to announce that all employees can work from anywhere. These days, that’s not strictly newsworthy, but by doing so, you’ve changed the calculus talent does when deciding who to engage with. Before your policy change, they may have been focused on working at a big company to learn from experienced people. Or maybe they cared about working in a big place that had lots of perks to make staff feel supported. After the policy change, people now have to ask: do I want lots of perks, or would working from home offer me a whole lot of those same perks because I can better control my environment? Or, can I take the time saved by not commuting and take classes to get better at what I do? Claiming a strong position not only makes you look good, it changes how talent sees and evaluates your competitors.
De-Positioning: The Secret Brand Strategy Apple and Starbucks Won’t Tell You About
Six branding workshop exercises you haven’t tried yet—but should
Employer Branding 2023 - Why it's Time to Re-Balance the Give and Get
Repeat After Me: New Research Reinforces Repetition Is Good Communication
“The best work divides the audience. If we're all in agreement about everything, art will be dull, life will be dull” - Rick Rubin
Whenever you’re ready, I have a few ways I can help you:
EVP Masterclass: Develop your own Employer Brand/EVP alongside other recruiting leaders in my next guided cohort.
Employer Brand for Recruiters: Video on demand to teach recruiters how using their employer brand properly makes them more effective. Group rates available.
Coaching and consulting: Email me and we’ll set up time to talk 1:1 about how I can help you or your company take advantage of your employer brand.
Cheers and thanks!
-James Ellis (LinkedIn)
Search all 1,700+ links historically referenced in the article archive.
Download 105 free (or almost free) ways to activate your employer brand.
Read Talent Chooses You for free from this open source Google Doc.
Here’s the 2022 version of The Employer Brand Manifesto.
220+ episodes of The Talent Cast podcast.
Where the subject line came from:
Duran Duran - Rio
You had to have known we’d have Duran Duran in this list eventually, right? They get almost no respect, treated like some boy band with someone who looks like a fashion model up front. But that really misses the point. First, let us talk about the virtuoso that is John Taylor on bass. Listen to this isolated bass track, sounding like he’d fit right into one of Nile Rodgers’ bands. Or check out this amazing bass cover. Add on a clean-but-always-tight drummer and a guitar track that steals from Andy Summers approach to The Police’s guitar lines. This is no “synth band,” (certainly not one this album came out), this is a pop band with real chops. Enjoy!
If you are enjoying the music, congratulations, you have great taste in music and/or you’re old! Just for you, I made a Spotify playlist of all the subject line 80’s songs I’ve referenced over the last year and a half. You don’t even need hairspray to enjoy it: