Why your Employer Branding Sucks

Ah, how HR people love their taglines, buzzwords and trends.  The latest seems to be Employer Branding.  There are contests, strategy sessions and even rankings on how well a company performs on the proverbial Employer Branding scale.  Honestly, when I look at some of the winners I think, “Wow, their branding sucks, why are they winning an award?”

I think the intent of Employer Branding has been tarnished with the societal desire to be noticed on social media and by their peers.  The intent, or so I thought, was to add a voice to the employees of an organization to allow the outside world to view the company as an employee.  Unfortunately, most of the Employee Branding I see today has less, “I am an employee and this is why I work for…” and more of companies saying, “Look at us, aren’t we great…”

As a consultant, I would encourage my clients to take a grassroots approach to branding.  The first rule would not to tell the story but discover it from your employees by asking questions such as:

  1. Why do you work here?
  2. What’s your passion in your work?
  3. What is something you’ve done to impact our clients’ lives or business that you feel proud of?
  4. How does our company mission and vision inspire you?
  5. If you were to “sell” the idea of working for us to your friends, what would you say about us to make them want to join?

In my opinion, authentic Employer Branding is told by the employees in a raw and unfiltered way.  Think about how you feel when you see videos of pets being reunited with their owners or military personnel returning home early to surprise their loved ones.  These moments are planned, but the nature of the events are raw and tug at our heart strings-or at least mine.

If you are out to “sell” your employer brand, why not leverage your best asset?  Your employees can tell the story in a more authentic way that will help you attract the right type of press.  If you simply approach employer branding as another way to push your corporate initiatives then you’re out to fail.  Sure, you might get a lot of likes but you will miss out on the true engagement.

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