If you're a new employer brand professional—or an experienced EB practitioner in a new role—congratulations! The job market is hot right now and it's an exciting time to be in this field. But what should you do in your first 100 days on the job? Too often people jump straight to tactics. But in reality, you need to build a strong foundation and understand the outcomes before tactics. Here are 10 tips to help get you started:
- Start by getting to know the company's employer brand. What is the company's mission? What are its values? What are its goals for employer branding? How does it align with the corporate brand? Once you have a good understanding of the current organizational thinking, you can start to align your strategy with your expertise, goals, and objectives with it. Even if the organization has no stated employer brand, it still exists. Generically, it’s the relationship between the organization and the people who work for it, used to, or potentially may (i.e., candidates).
- Next, get to know the team. The employer brand touches all aspects of the employment lifecycle, from candidate to employee to alumni. Who is responsible for employer brand touchpoints along the journey? What are their roles, responsibilities, and goals for the year? What does each person own and manage? How can your role in employer brand help them achieve their individual, team, and departmental goals? From talent acquisition to hiring managers, and communications to marketing teams, you'll want to begin developing relationships across your new internal network.
- Gather existing, relevant data. What's working and what's not? Reviewing past performance is a great way to assess the successes and challenges of the employer brand. Career site data allows you to see where traffic is coming from and how many unique visitors the site is getting. ATS reports should give you an overview of application data and how many people make it from application to hire. Other reports to request include engagement surveys, pulse surveys, and new hire or onboarding feedback, as well as any candidate experience and/or exit survey data. If any critical data is lacking, figure out who can help you get it.
- Meet with partners and vendors. To be successful, you'll need the help of partners. Determine who inside your organization owns those relationships and ask how you can learn more. Work together to schedule time to meet with vendors or firms who are already working with your organization, such as job boards, review sites, tech stack vendors, or talent community platforms. Have them discuss the scope of the current contract, the challenges they are helping to overcome, performance metrics, and how to best work together. Get introduced to new potential partners through demos and understand their capabilities to optimize or fill gaps.
- Conduct market research. Research the competition and identify ways your company can stand out. What are the key differentiators that set the company apart from its competition? It's vital to understand what makes the company unique. This is where sites such as Glassdoor, Indeed, Comparably, InHerSight, Reddit, and Quora can be extremely helpful in getting an understanding of employer brand sentiment towards your organization as well as your talent competitors. Review your competitors’ career websites and career postings on LinkedIn and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
- Assess the current state. Conducting a channel audit (of both internal and external channels) will help you understand where the company's employer brand is being represented and what platforms are being used. It will also give insights as to whether those are being updated or outdated, if they receive engagement or not, and help you refocus efforts on areas that may be neglected.
- Learn about its target audience. To do this, start by pulling up the most recent job postings for each role. What are the commonalities in each job description? What does the company say it’s looking for in candidates? Next, talk to employees in key talent audiences. What do they say they do and what it takes to be successful? How did they find their way to your organization? Once you have a good understanding of who your target audience is, start thinking about how you can reach them where they are.
- Develop an employer brand road map. Now that you have a strong understanding of where the organization is, its goals, audience, landscape, and competition, it's time to develop your presentation deck on moving forward. The content should show the steps needed to go from where the organization is today to where it needs to be.
- Gain leadership buy-in. Employer brand professionals cannot work in a vacuum. You need to have leadership buy-in and support in order to be successful. This means aligning your employer brand goals with business objectives, as well as making your pitch for potential people, budget, and partnerships to senior leaders.
- Keep building a network of employer branding professionals outside your organization. This can be done through LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook (the Employer Brand Forum is one that I personally moderate), or in-person at employer branding conferences. This is important because you never know when you will need help or advice, or where your next great idea may get inspired.
In your first 100 days, you should start laying the groundwork for future employer branding initiatives. This can be done by reading everything you can find (annual reports, press releases, etc.), talking to people in different departments, and attending town halls or other events. Be sure to immerse yourself as much as possible in order to get a good understanding of the company. Gather data and build relationships with key stakeholders, before you start making your big recommendations or sweeping changes.
Last but not least, don’t forget to document everything! Keep a journal of your thoughts and progress, as well as any lessons learned along the way. Be sure to update your leadership regularly with progress reports and—if necessary—where you may be encountering road blocks. This will be incredibly valuable to reference in the future (and good visibility for you!). By following these tips, you can hit the ground running and set yourself (and your organization’s employer brand) up for success.