How does a magnet attract? It’s magnetism, defined as “a physical phenomenon produced by the motion of electric charge, resulting in attractive and repulsive forces between objects.” Take any magnet and a paperclip from your desk, and it will stick. What makes magnets equally interesting is not everything sticks -- brass, copper, and lead. Magnets are only attracted to what are considered to be “strong” metals.
For an organization to shape its future, it must attract individuals who will thrive in its unique culture. Your employer brand needs to be magnetic. It does not need to attract everyone. It needs to attract people who have the potential to thrive in your culture, who will be motivated by what you do, and be productive in the way work gets done.
How to Create a Magnetic Employer Brand
Always start by understanding your people
When you start with research, you can begin to understand what’s inside the hearts and minds of your employees. You can take a closer look at why some people choose you and why others decline; why some people thrive and others fail to perform. This research uncovers the truth behind the employment experience and culture at your organization.
Research ensures authentic outcomes and builds trust amongst executives, employees, and job seekers. It allows you to build an employer brand foundation with intention and a strategy that has purpose. Candidates and employees can then evaluate the promised and actual employment experience against their own sets of motivations, values, and interests, and it will either attract or repel them.
Be in it for the long haul
Building and managing your employer brand is not a ‘flash in the pan’ campaign. To truly come to life, your employer brand needs an unfading commitment across the employer brand lifecycle -- from talent attraction to talent retention. (<-- Click to tweet!) To be effective, the employer brand must be consistent and communicate these three things:
How your organization is different from your competitors
What it is like to get work done in your organization
The kind of employee who will be motivated to thrive in your organization
Identify your employer brand fans
Inside nearly every organization are employees who are living and breathing the brand. They go above in their work and make an exceptional effort for their teams. They submit employee referrals, take active roles in employee resource groups, and want to represent you during campus and alumni events. And guess what? Great people attract great people. They are corporate magnets. You can harness the power of these brand advocates to attract higher quality referrals.
Have a strategy for handling negativity
With magnets, attraction requires a negative and a positive. With employer brands, negativity can often repel. Chances are there will be negativity connected with your employer brand (e.g. Glassdoor or Comparably reviews, negative press, Indeed.com ratings, etc.). What if this negativity is repelling the talent that you want to attract? One of the most foolproof ways to address negativity is to create and share positive, personalized experiences of candidates and employees. Doing this will help redirect attention from the negative to the positive.
Not everyone will appreciate what your organization does or stands for. They may not want to work in the environment you’ve created or perform in the way your culture requires. And that’s okay!
In reality, your recruiters don’t want hundreds, or even thousands, of unqualified or underprepared applicants. And your leaders don’t want a revolving door because people didn’t realize what they were signing up for. They do want qualified candidates who are excited about the realities of your organization, are inspired by what you stand for, and have the potential to stay and make an impact.
Shannon Smedstad (@shannonsmedstad) is a Principal Employer Brand Strategist for exaqueo, an employer brand experience firm building employer brands and the talent strategies that drive them through research, consulting and creative and digital execution. Contact exaqueo to learn more about our employer brand innovation, workforce research and recruiting strategy offerings.