The Employer Brand Manifesto

Employer brand professionals are a strange lot, in that we are often people without a country. If we’re based inside recruiting team, we aren’t recruiters. If we live in marketing, we’re a very different breed of marketer. The market itself is still emerging to define what it is we do. Commonly, we’re only noticed when something goes wrong.

So this is our rallying cry, a flag all employer brand professionals can point to and say, “yeah, this is why we’re amazing (and different by design)” that can be understood by recruiters, HR, business leaders, and marketers/comms (our big four partners internally).

Employer Brand Academy

This is the manifesto that declares, “we’re not your swag mavens, your job post writers or tool buyers. We are the orchestra conductors seeing the big picture, understanding and communicating the brand to the world so that the business grows.”

Listen to the podcast version of the Employer Brand Manifesto at The Talent Cast

The Vision
Employer brand is how we will fix a broken recruiting system. It is the lever we use to reinvent how we see, connect with and engage the people who will make our businesses grow. It provides the WHY to candidates, which attracts the right people to jobs where they will be more satisfied and productive. This shift in perspective leads to better collaboration with all parts of the business to build better systems that give prospective candidates more than they expected, ultimately helping us find the right talent faster.

The Values

  • We Grow Businesses. We believe our goal is to grow the business. When people have better fitting roles within a company, they are happier and more productive. Happier, productive people grow businesses.
    We Approach Talent Differently. We believe that the various technological and social changes happening around the world give us the chance to completely reinvent how companies think about talent. So we will be the first to ask, “what should it be?”
  • We Collaborate. We believe that employer brand is the place where recruiting, HR, business, and marketing overlap successfully.
  • We Focus. We believe a great employer brand is strong and clear, attracting people whose values and motivations align to those of the company. That isn’t the same as having a brand everyone wants to work for.
  • We Revolutionize. We believe that this change doesn’t happen incrementally. It only happens when you see the big picture and use your employer brand as the glue that connects business to recruiting to marketing and to HR.

The Manifesto

  1. The Future Already Happened. Technology, society and business changes mean that someone who’s talented has more options than ever to make a living (see: war for talent, gig economy, remote work, side hustles, etc).
  2. It’s Not Just The Paycheck. These options are not just about extracting maximum compensation from a company, but about building their own optimal lifestyle, based on a personal and holistic approach to what motivates them.
  3. The Brand Overrules the Role. Having a perfect role to offer is not enough. If the candidate doesn’t know or doesn’t like the brand, the opportunity may as well not exist in the minds of potential talent.
  4. What Worked Before Won’t. The most sought-after talent doesn’t spend time on job boards. They are actively employed in most cases and are being reached out to by headhunters already. This kind of talent already knows what employers to talk to when they are ready to make a move. Job boards are only part of the solution.
  5. Earn Awareness Before you Need It. The best way to attract talent is to be on the talent’s minds before they start looking for a new position, to shift from hunting and gathering to farming.
  6. Give Talent What They Want. Posting jobs won’t get you on the list of someone who isn’t looking for a job. But you can spark a connection through sharing something of meaningful value to that person, be it something emotional, informational, or inspirational.
  7. Think Focus, Not Expansion. Employer brand creates faster and more effective matches, helping talent understand what it’s really like working for your company while providing ways for recruiting to focus on delivering a personalized candidate experience, one that highlights what truly matters to the candidate.
  8. Your Brand Comes From Within. Your employer brand isn’t a veneer or coat of paint. It starts on the inside as a core culture that is reinforced by the people who are hired and stick around. Distilled properly, it can be communicated out, attracting great talent not to apply, but to learn more. As these new people onboard, they augment the culture, making employer brand a system to be managed, not a button to be pushed.
  9. Your Brand Is Bigger Than You. Employer brand impressions, the raw materials that build that the employer brand perception, come from staff, former staff, marketing, comms, internal policies, previous candidates, consumer interactions and others. We must see all of the sources as one integrated picture and not just focus on those that fill the top of the funnel.
  10. Influence the Whole System. Despite being responsible for the brand, the employer brand professional doesn’t directly control all the internal and external inputs that create the candidate’s brand impression. Our job is to influence every part of the business towards aligning to the brand and enhance the system. It is a team sport, where the team only wins when it works together.
  11. Mindset, Not Toolset. Employer brand thinking is a mindset that permeates the entire business. It is a different perspective that sees, connects and influences all aspects of the business and all available tools to attract and hire great talent that drive profitable business solutions.

This is a living document, so I would love to hear your comments, ideas and thoughts on how to make this declaration more powerful.

I want to thank some amazing people who gave notes and ideas to this document. You can be sure that without them, this would suck.

Tennille Folk, Ben Gledhill, Iain Hamilton, Noelle Holdsworth, Andrea Hurtado, Katrina Kibben, Audra Knight, Allison Kruse, Tiffany Lee, Heather Leszczewicz, Charu Malhotra, Holland McCue, Dina Medeiros, Derek Murphy-Johnston, Tracey Parsons, Jorgen Sundberg, Elena Valentine

James Ellis

If you’re interested in learning more about how employer brand can transform your recruiting, hiring, and businesses, visit EmployerBrand.Consulting or see how I can present to your group.

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