As we live through a watershed moment in American history of social change and discourse, executive leaders and marketers have a moral imperative to do the right thing to create a better workplace that is more just, culturally synched, and delivers transparent upward mobility with diversity and inclusion in mind. That is a given?—?it is no longer a political opinion or choice.
Sadly, what is NOT a given is a sense of urgency of the business imperative for corporations to ensure that their employer brand is tuned-in and aligned with the strategic optics one must communicate, which you, as a corporate leader, fully control. Your business imperative is to write your own story as you wish it to be displayed, because in the digital age, if you are not proactive, someone else will write your story for you. And believe me when I say, you may not like how it reads or sounds.
Let me be clear. The time for empty platitudes on diversity and inclusion policy compliance statements is OVER. If your Employer Branding has not been re-tuned to address strategic brand messaging (visuals and content), chances are that you will be TUNED-OUT into obscurity, irrelevance, and extinction by your single most important asset: your employees and an entire generation of new prospective job candidates.
Prospective employees that were born in the age of digital and social media can instantly feel if you are OUT OF TOUCH with reality, or worse, may perceive that you are complicit in endorsing the insensitivities of the past. The result is that you will simply perpetuate the brand impression that you are not truly listening. So put politics aside, think about self-preservation and protecting your business interests, and consider how your employer brand directly affects your bottom line, profitability, and competitive positioning moving forward.
Unsure where to start? Ask yourself where you stand on the following five easily-fixable and addressable points of external optics:
- Re-Examine Your Web Site’s Leadership Bios Page. I have recently visited over 100 corporate web sites and was amazed at how outside your digital brand, it’s 2020, but on your web site’s leadership page, it’s still 1985. What message does it send to job candidates? Does it look like everyone is cut from the same cloth (gender, race, age, experience)? And does it truly reflect your actual current employee base or culture? Moreover, ask yourself — if I want better talent working for me, will these potential recruits like what they see? Will it resonate with them? The bottom line: change your web site to reflect who you are NOW, as the instant digital optics of looking outdated and irrelevant are simply an implicit or explicit indication that you might be a dinosaur headed for extinction.
- Audit Your Employer Branding Page: What values and visuals are you showing to compel today’s new generation of employees and recruits to find an affinity to your corporate culture? Does it feature the same stock photo imagery of “generic, shiny, happy people holding hands” that appears on 100 other websites? Or does it show authentic employee photos that genuinely reflect who you are? You see, the new graduating classes of recruits aren’t stupid. They are brilliantly informed and know “Fake News” when they see it.
- Reconsider What Your Employer Branding Value Proposition Projects. (EVP). When reading your “why work for us” section, does it ring like it’s the year 2020? Or does it ring like you just checked all the boxes? Today’s generation of recruits and prospects are looking for critical values, keywords, and compelling visuals where they can see themselves included as part of your organization. They need to imagine themselves as being part of your organic culture. Failing to address that imperative is handing an easy victory to your competitor, who managed to capture highly-skilled talent by showing them how they “are one of us,” and inviting them to join the family, while you didn’t!
- Institute Employer Branding Social Media Listening Program. Today’s prospective employees are now just checking your job listing on your web site. They are looking at social media sites for employee reviews to find out what the ‘real deal’ is. If you are waiting to get a crisis call from HR about a lousy review posting, because you didn’t proactively monitor your digital brand in order to ascertain your online reputation, you are already behind. This is your strategic wrinkle in time to fix it before it’s too late.
- Conduct a Voice of Employee (VOE) Survey to Benchmark and Measure Incremental improvements. In my experience, your employees already know what’s right and wrong in your organization. Now more than ever, you need to keep a tight pulse on how they are feeling, what they value most, and what they’d like to see change. It’s no different than the old-school, time-tested technique that political candidates used to find out the truth and course-correct their messaging by asking a city taxi driver what’s going on. Multiple digital tools allow you to securely and efficiently pulse your people and use it as a baseline for change and continuous dialogue and improvement.
The bottom line: why you must tune your Employer Branding now. Whenever societal changes and discourse transpire, your employer branding plays a critical role in your strategic ability to retain and recruit valuable talent. It’s a business imperative with deliberate ROI that could make the difference between being TUNED-IN or being TUNED-OUT.
About the Author: Mr. Gal Borenstein is a recognized Digital B2B and B2G Branding expert and an accomplished strategist in digital branding, marketing, social media, advertising, online reputation management, and public relations matters. He is the founder and CEO of the Borenstein Group, a top digital marketing communications firm in Washington DC. He is the proud author of two business leadership books; “ACTIVATE! How to Power Up Your Brand to Dominate Your Market, Crush Your Competition & Win in the Digital Age” and “What Really Counts for CEOs.” Gal’s philanthropic passion is focused on helping fight food insecurity for children, STEM education, and support for US veteran-related causes.