3 Ways That Employer Branding Can Benefit Current Employees

by cv harquail on May 17, 2011

It’s easy to see how Employer Branding is useful to HR departments and potential job applicants.

Employer Branding, the practice of marketing images of your organization as a desirable place to work towards potential job applicants, is a sensible strategy for attracting the right people onto your bus (-iness).

Employer Branding works to draw to an organization the kind of people the organization wants to hire, by making the organization look like it has specific, compelling, desirable characteristics.

Promoting an idealized or crystallized view of “what it’s like to work here”, organizations and their HR departments hope to increase applicants, reduce recruiting inefficiencies, improve yield, and keep employees longer, all because these new employees experience improved person-organization /employee-employer fit.

1031005412_0ea392122f_o.jpgSounds good for HR, sounds good for potential employees.

And, although it is designed to attract future employees, Employee Branding also has a few benefits for current employees.

3 Ways Employer Branding Can Benefit Current Employees

l. The Employer Brand may bring new insight to key managers.

An Employer Branding campaign requires someone in the organization to spend time thinking about “what it’s like to work here” from the employees’ point of view.

Taking the employees’ perspective (however briefly and instrumentally) may give managers and HR departments new insights about the everyday experiences of organization members. These new insights might inspire managers to systematize, reinforce or change the environment at work to make the environment more attractive.

2. The Employer Brand may trigger sense-making and action by current employees.

The messages of an Employee Branding campaign are seen not only by outside, potential employees but also by inside, current employees.

An Employer Branding campaign can create an opportunity for people in the organization to talk with each other about what their organization is like as an employer. Conversations about the Employer Brand might address questions like ” Is this what its like to work here?” and “How can we work together to make this environment more like that idealized picture?”

An uptick in awareness, the invitation to consider the Employer Brand, and the opportunity to talk about it together might lead employees to reinforce and/or improve the organizational environment themselves.

3. The Employer Brand can improve the contributions of new employees to the experience of current employees.

The Employer Brand can help draw the ‘right kind’ of coworkers into the organization, reinforcing the desirable elements of the work environment and helping to fulfill the promise of ‘the brand’ for current and new employees alike.

Of course, the Employer Brand can only have these positive effects if it is somewhat true and reasonably credible. An Employer Brand made up of unreal claims, however desirable these claims may be, would only create disappointment and resentment among current employees.

An Employer Branding campaign can help a current employee these three ways, as long as the current employee has a good personal fit with the desired, projected Employer Brand.

Bonus Benefit if you don’t fit


And for the employee who doesn’t fit the work context of this projected Employer Brand?

There’s still a positive influence. The Employer Branding campaign may help that current employee realize that this organization really *isn’t* a good fit, and inspire the employee to look for a different employer, an organization that has a better fit with his or her own values and needs.

See also:

GoodFitting When Fastened, and CloseUp
AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by Lee Turner on Flickr


David A. Lee May 18, 2011 at 12:36 pm

I think that many organizations seem to forget that in this day of social media getting buy in from employees on the employer brand is critical. I ran the Army Strong marketing campaign and in 2007 as we made the decision to enter into social media to connect our prospects with our “employees” I knew it was critical that Soldiers could say what Army Strong meant to them. The last thing I wanted them to say was “aw, that’s just a recruiting slogan.” At the end of the day, the brand has to truly represent your employees or it will fail.

cv harquail May 18, 2011 at 1:33 pm

David, thanks so much for emphasizing the idea that the employer ‘brand’ needs to be more than a slogan. It can be something that gets ‘buy in’, and it can also be generated by employees themselves… either way it feels more ‘real’ than something created by even the smartest marketing folks.

You’re also raising an important point about communicating the employer brand, since it’s no longer the case (if it ever really was) that organizations can put out a brand and have people interact with it/the abstract idea. When potential employees can actually connect with real employees, the idea that there’s brand there mediating things is almost an afterthought.

Your example of the Army also makes me wonder– are there some organizations where the mystique or the brand is outdated, and where direct contact with actual members turns out to be the best way to communicate an updated brand? Hmmm. More to think about-
thanks again.

Lauren Klein May 19, 2011 at 6:48 pm

Thank you for this provocative article as this notion of people being social is not anything new. Social Networks are forcing mechanisms for these discussions that organizations are having aroud value creation in networks, groups and communities. At Executive Networks, we have HR & Learning networks who are actively involved in this important discussion also!

Etienne Wenger, Beverly Trayner and Maarten de Laat’s recent article on value creation is one that you may find of interest at: http://www.social-learning-strategies.com/documents/Wenger_Trayner_DeLaat_Value_creation.pdf

Thanks again!

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