exaqueo’s “How to” Series: How to Advance your Employer Brand Skills … Inch by Inch

For those that know me, they’ll tell you that I’m a huge fan of sports and specifically, football. It’s October which means we’re smack dab in the middle of #FridayNightLights, college football Saturday, and multiple days of NFL games. Since I have sports on the brain, of course my blog will have to be football-related. Don’t worry, I’m not going to teach you about football, but you’ll see a few correlations as it relates to strengthening your employer brand game.

Whether you’re an employer brand veteran or looking for your way into this growing profession, here are few ways to advance your employer brand skills to the end-zone … inch by inch.

1st and Goal - Expand Your Employer Brand Knowledge

Vince Lombardi said, “Football is a game of inches and inches make the champion.” In this situation, those inches are the opportunities you take to learn and empower yourself to get better. The first way to get those inches is to and educate yourself on what’s happening in the profession, your industry, and the labor market. Here is how to keep your ear to the ground:

  • Attend conferences. Each year, there are numerous conferences throughout the globe that are either employer brand focused or have specific topics related to employer branding. Plan out your year and pick one or two to attend. (Check out this list of conferences on exaqueo’s learning page.)
  • Read more. Take the time to read a new book to strengthen a particular skill or listen to podcasts each month. (Looking for inspiration? Read our exaqueo book club post).
  • Geek out. Learn from benchmark data and studies like the CandE Awards but most importantly, take a look at your own internal data. Listen to what your employees and candidates are saying about their own experience.

2nd and Goal - Rely on Your Team

You still haven’t made it into the end-zone, but you’re getting closer. One way of doing this is by relying on your team. Whether it’s your linemen or your quarterback, you need your team to get you those precious inches. As an employer brand practitioner, this could be your co-workers,immediate team or others within your organization. They could also be a team of individuals that you’ve met through networking -- on or offline. Here are a few ways to rely on your team:

  • Expand your reach. Network in forums or groups on social media like Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. (You can contact us to learn more about the Employer Brand Community Group.)
  • Go outside. Learn from areas of the business that you want to strengthen. For example, if you’re on the Talent Acquisition team, but want to strengthen your marketing or communications knowledge, reach out to someone in those functions. You’re all playing for the same team and there’s a lot you can learn from other departments.

3rd and Goal - Learn From Leaders

In football, sometimes there’s luck when a turnover goes your way, but most of the time it’s strategy. To get those last few inches, athletes look to their coaches on the sidelines for strategic direction. In your employer brand career, look to your leader or leaders within the field that you’d like to learn from. If there’s someone that you want to learn from, reach out to that person and ask if they would be open to mentor you. Ask questions and ask them frequently.

Touchdown - Continue to Learn

You’ve made it into the end-zone, now what? Football players practice almost every single day and when they’re not on the turf, they’re reviewing game film on either themselves or their opponents. Apply this to your career and continue to learn. You just don’t stop because you’ve acquired what you need. You keep learning … every single day. Learning should never stop as the industry is constantly evolving and as employer brand professionals, we continue to learn from one another. Here at exaqueo, we’ve put together a list of resources to help you do just that. Feel free to share with your colleagues and submit a resource.

Game MVP - Lead by Example

Once you’ve continuously reached the end-zone, and are an expert in your field -- it’s time to take others under your wing. When you think of football greats, it isn’t just about their skills on the field but also their ability to lead. Look to that new team member and ask how you can help them. How do you lift others up around you? How can your leadership help your team succeed? In return, you never know what you may learn from someone new in the industry.

Since I started with a quote, I’ll end with a quote given by Al Pacino’s character in the movie Any Given Sunday, “The inches we need are everywhere around us. They're in every break of the game, every minute, every second.”

Take those opportunities to learn and you’ll see yourself getting into the end-zone every time. (<-- Click to tweet!)

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