HR Management & Compliance

Brand for Talent: Attract the Best

On the one hand, we see businesses looking for "consumers of work" with new habits to understand and new appetites to satisfy. But on the other hand, we see tired talent strategies that no longer attract the new jobseekers, says Libby Sartain.

Brand for Talent, Sartain’s new book co-written with consultant Mark Schumann, maintains that to attract the best employees, you must work diligently on building and maintaining your company’s "talent brand."

Sartain has a strong reputation in brand building as the former CHRO of both Yahoo! and Southwest Airlines.

In the book, she suggests that your talent brand must:

  • Appeal to the consumer who has been trained to make decisions by the brand.
  • Help a business market each touch point of its employee experience.
  • Position the leadership of the business to be key "poster children" of what the brand stands for.
  • Shape the products, services, and experience the business offers to workers.
  • Be a "lens" through which each product and service can be developed as well as marketed.
  • Be THE strategic tool for a company to attract and retain people.
  • Help you to survive social media.

The book proposes seven "essentials" for building a great talent brand.

Essential 1: Wake Up

It’s a new ball game. The new employee or "consumer of work," as Sartain and Schumann say, orders work the same way as ordering a product or service. In a marketplace where knowledge is power, the information a potential worker can seize gives him the upper hand with a potential employer. Here’s what they’re looking for:

Expectations. Consumers of work look for a work experience, not a job. They expect the transaction to be flawless.

Career. New consumers of work walk into a company fully expecting a complete program of how a career will develop, how performance will be managed, how pay will increase, and how work and life will balance.

Engagement. The new consumers of work will expect to be a part of the action at work. They want an experience, to be involved in what the business is doing, and to be a voice that is heard. But, they are also looking for fun. Work/life balance is an expectation, not an option.

Connection. The new consumers will be in contact with colleagues and friends. They will rely on social media sites to discuss companies, jobs, career advice, and work stories. They will collect feedback and guidance from all the "experts" in cyberspace.

Authenticity. The new consumers will demand authenticity in the work experience. They will sense a fake attempt to sell authenticity, or a "plastic fantastic,” as the book says.


BLR’s SmartPolicies supplies 350 HR policies, prewritten for you, and ready to customize or use as is. Examine it at no cost or risk.


Essential 2: Look Ahead

Tomorrow’s work will be more flexible than it has been in the past, and it will be harder to find talented workers. That’s where the employer brand makes a difference.

In the new marketplace for talent, speed will be everything. The organization that uses its talent brand to create demand as a place to work will be first in line to become a magnet for workers.

Essential 3: Create

A company must aggressively market its employer brand to each segment of worker it needs to deliver what the business promises.

To brand for talent is to have the discipline to develop a precise, results-oriented marketing strategy to reach specific segments of potential workers, to market an organization as a place to work, and to create demand in order to find, keep, and engage people to do the right work at the right time with the right results.

Essential 4: Segment

An organization must market its talent brand to the specific segments it seeks to attract and retain.


Why write your own policies when we’ve already done it for you … at less than $1 each! Inspect BLR’s SmartPolicies at no cost or risk.


Essential 5: Implement

Any brand, whether for a product, a service, a house of worship, or a place of work, must jump a series of hurdles to motivate a consumer to take action:

  • The brand must be recognized.
  • The brand must be believed.
  • The brand must be personalized.
  • The brand must be remembered.

In tomorrow’s Advisor, we’ll discuss two more essentials, look at Sartain’s vision for your talent brand, and look at an indispensible source of HR policies.

Other Recent Articles on HR Policies and Procedures
Furloughs: Not Simple to Implement
Mandatory Furloughs—Attractive, But Legally Tricky
RIFs: Beware the Hidden Costs
RIF Rules—The 6 WARN Exceptions