Talking Brand: Deal with hiring disruption by getting tactical

Attraction, Featured

Companies are taking stock of their employer brand messaging to deal with hiring challenges. But beyond the surface level, getting tactics right is key.

The hiring landscape has undergone tremendous disruption throughout the past 18 months. That said, there’s an argument to suggest it’s always been this way and hiring shall forever remain in a permanent state of flux.

After all, there will always be recruitment challenges. Isn’t it how you deal with them that REALLY matters?

All of which touches upon some of the issues I’ve recently encountered and got me thinking about potential solutions.

I’m hearing a mixture of ‘can’t hire’, ‘can’t keep our staff’ storylines. Sometimes both problems are present.

This prevailing sentiment has provoked a lot of companies to reassess their attraction and retention strategies.

Working alongside HR and C-Suite teams, this is my point of interest. However, I’ve noticed that in many cases it’s not merely establishing the basis of an employer brand that’s proving to be problematic.

The struggle to attract, recruit and retain the right people runs deeper than that. What’s often missing is what I like to call a behavioural code, leading to a lack of tactical content.

Essentially, there’s a disconnect between employer brands and the reality of how stuff gets done in an organisation, how people behave, and how they go about their day-to-day.

In an increasingly dispersed world of work, not being able to articulate and present how s*it gets done to a relevant audience is a big problem.

Consistency matters but tactics will win the day

By now, I hope it’s apparent that this isn’t your typical employer brand piece about golden threads, value statements and pillars.

Of course, those building blocks are important when crafting a valuable and consistent EB at a theoretical level.

But let’s begin to consider the disconnect I mentioned in practical terms.

When we start to go beyond the top layers of Employer Value Proposition (EVP) and Employer Brand we can move towards creating effective ‘employer branding’ (see diagram below).

Employer brand-quick definitions (1) (1)

This is where you bring to life behaviours and produce tactical content that goes beyond projecting a superficial image.

As a result, a behavioural code becomes very tangible and relatable to prospective candidates and existing employees alike.

There’s also a commercial aspect at play. Not all businesses have the resource to create and activate expansive employer brand programmes.

The majority of organisations need to get scrappy, laser focussed on channel/content strategy, and maximise the tools at their disposal.

Nate Guggia, Co-Founder at Everyone/Before You Apply has a great take on what wins the day in a competitive talent marketplace. He puts it like this:

"The secret sauce for marketing your company to competitive talent is saying it without saying it.

"Here's why you should work for us" isn't compelling. Frankly, nobody cares. That message is played out. It has been for a long time.

"Documenting the work you're doing + having unique thoughts, opinions, and perspectives on your industry is actually interesting.

"Smart people want to make things with other smart people they trust.

"How do you build trust quickly? Show your work and show that you’re the experts in your field.

"It’s not “what”.

"It’s not “why”.

"It’s “how-you-do” content that wins.

"That’s what you market to the outside world."

Nate offers loads of great insight, and not all of it will appeal to employer brand purists.

For example:

“But here's the reality: You can do all the brand alignment work you want, but if you aren’t communicating with your audience in a way that a) meets their expectations in that channel, and b) comes from actual people they can link their trust to, you’ll completely miss creating content that has a meaningful impact.”

Personally, I believe brand consistency is important. However, I also take the point that you’ve got to release the shackles somewhat and be more intentional in your approach to communicating with your desired audience.

Ultimately, I’ve only skimmed the surface and there’s plenty more to cover around the types of tactical content that can be produced and methods of activation. I’ll save that piece for a later date!

Want to talk tactics?

Drop me a line at william.geldart@bps-world.com to discuss your current employer brand objectives and challenges. Or check out BPS Labs and the way we can help you attract, recruit and retain the right people for your business.

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