Are Millennials from Mars? There has been so much discussion about how to hire and retain this group–which is almost 80 million strong now in the U.S. alone–that one begins to wonder if they’re from another planet. While understanding and decoding this group is paramount, there are ways to create a talent attraction strategy that appeals to them.1
The most important weapon is your employer brand.
What is an employer brand…and why should you care?
As a textbook definition, your employer brand is your reputation as an employer. It reflects what your employees and the community think about you. At its core, though, your employer brand is the story of your people behind the scenes.2
It sheds light on the real reasons why they choose to work for you. Why do they get out of bed in the morning and go to work? What do they get out of it? And, when all of those people get together, what is the working environment and culture like?
The employer brand and employee value proposition have become increasingly important as unemployment decreases and job seekers have more choices than ever before.3 So they research. And they ask questions. And they talk to their friends and neighbors. And they’ve decided that they won’t work for a company with a bad reputation. In fact, in one study, almost 70% of candidates said they wouldn’t take a job with a company that had a bad reputation, even if they were unemployed.4
So how do you create a great employer brand?
Building a truly compelling employer brand takes time. It’s not a one-time project that can be completed in two weeks. However, there are four keys to building a strong employer brand over time.
Take time for self-reflection
Every company has an identity. It will typically include elements of your brand’s purpose, your mission and overall core values. As you consider your employer brand, reflect upon those elements and really get to know yourself. What’s important to your company, your CEO, your shareholders? What type of culture do you have (and do you want to have)? Is yours a company where people actually want to work? Why or why not?
This is not a time for rose-colored glasses. Look in the mirror and examine the core elements of your company, warts and all. Consider point #2 as you do this.
Authenticity above all else
Candidates–particularly millennials–hate liars. Don’t try to be something you’re not. The whole point of this exercise is to match who you are as a company to what your target candidates are seeking and to make a quality match there. As you develop your employer brand, stay true to who you are and wrap your branding around that.
Develop a purpose-driven EVP
Your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) consolidates your employer brand into easy-to-understand bites. Millennials in particular are looking for trust and collaboration; strong relationships from their co-workers and their supervisors; engagement; authentic feedback about their performance; and opportunities for growth. Does your EVP align to that?
Become a great storyteller
You have a great employer brand and compelling EVP, but don’t believe the hype. Kevin Costner was wrong. In the real world, “if you build it” people will not come. You need to become a great storyteller to capture the attention of millennials and bring them to you.
There’s a “secret sauce” for how do this, and of course, it helps if your employer brand’s voice and creative designs appeal to your target candidates.5 But, make sure your designs reflect your company, too (see point #2). Once your EVP and stories are ready, include them in all components of your talent acquisition strategies and engage millennials where they congregate (e.g., social media).
As companies fish in the same millennial talent pool, it will be crucial for you to differentiate yourself. By leveraging a compelling employer brand, you can do just that.
- 1. Decoding Millennials, Alorica, 2017. https://www.alorica.com/insight/decoding-millennials/.
- 2. CEOs Need to Pay Attention to Employer Branding, Richard Mosley, Harvard Business Review, https://hbr.org/2015/05/ceos-need-to-pay-attention-to-employer-branding.
- 3. 6 Steps to Building Your Employee Value Proposition, Recruiting.com, http://www.recruiting.com/blog/6-steps-building-employee-value-proposition.
- 4. Employment Cost of a Bad Reputation Survey, A Study by Corporate Responsibility Magazine, CR Magazine, http://pdfserver.amlaw.com/cc/COMMITForumPowerpointdocumentSeptember232013Final.pdf.
- 5. Psst… Here’s the Secret Sauce to a Brilliant Employer Brand, Adam Glassman, Undecover Recruiter, http://theundercoverrecruiter.com/secret-sauce-employer-brand/.