We asked Sullivan what he thought were the best companies as far as employment branding was concerned. He shared his thoughts based on his personal experience.
Sullivan opened his answer with a cautionary tale about one of the largest hotels in Las Vegas, whose name he kept anonymous. Part of their internal branding effort included mandatory monthly blogs from every executive. Sullivan relates a story where the CFO was approached by a janitor who worked at his company and asks, “Hi, you’re the CFO right?” The CFO affirms that yes, he is. The janitor continues, “You lied to me … you wrote on your blog last month that your employees get this, that, and the other, and it’s not true.” Of course the CFO was shocked, but when he looked into it, he realized what he had written wasn’t authentic. Sullivan uses this as an example of how a company has to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. “In a connected world, people find out,” says Sullivan.
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Employment Branding Today: Putting the Company’s Best Face Forward
According to Sullivan, the best branding he had ever seen came from Deloitte, the accounting and consulting firm. Sullivan confided that “when outsiders think of accounting they think dull.” To counter this assumption, Deloitte had their employees go out with their cell phones and shoot 3- to 4-minute videos about what makes their day great and why Deloitte is a great place to work. They received hundreds of authentic videos from their employees and posted them on YouTube—and here is the kicker—without screening them. They did not edit them in any way. They knew they had a good record with their employees, and they let the record stand for itself. It was hugely successful, and it didn’t cost them a thing. “The message came from the employees, and it turned out they have an incredibly exciting firm,” says Sullivan.
Sullivan also mentioned Zappos’ use of a story inventory (see yesterday’s Advisor for more on story inventories). They collected 300 stories and published them in a book. Even just having a book like that, says Sullivan, is great because people have to read it to know how great it is.
Finally, Sullivan praised how Amazon® dealt with the recent negative press propagated by former Amazon employees, who labelled it a terrible place to work. They did more than just deny it. They did what any company under attack must; they followed up with their current practices so that anyone could see that what was being said was either not true or, just as important, no longer true.
The employer brand determines the quality of the workforce. It drives the level of engagement, motivation and retention, which is strongly linked to higher revenues, profit margins and overall returns on investment. How to get your branding strong? Fortunately, there’s help in the form of a report—SilkRoad Presents: Big Book of Employer Branding. You’ll learn everything you need to know about employer branding.
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A strong employer brand can be an effective way to attract and retain top talent. Companies with a strong employer brand attract at least 3.5 more applications per job posting than other company in the same industry.
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