Leveraging Employer Brand as a Recruitment Strategy

First published here: http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/human-capital-and-risk/the-best-recruitment-strategy-creating-an-employer-brand.html

Tips and benefits for leveraging workforce planning that attracts candidates uniquely qualified to help your organization succeed

In an era of unprecedented transformation, competition and uncertainty throughout the healthcare industry, a strong talent acquisition strategy has become essential. By starting with a solid understanding of business goals and clarity around the ideal employees to achieve those goals, companies increase their pool of top talent.

A growing number of businesses within the healthcare industry are answering this challenge by developing their employer brand as part of a workforce planning program. The most successful of these programs are tightly focused and strategically built to attract and retain the type of employees needed to help the organization achieve its objectives.

An employer brand is separate from a company’s broader corporate brand, but the two are complementary. While the corporate brand reflects the desired reputation within the marketplace, the employer brand is an articulation of how a company wants to be known as a workplace.

Every organization already has an employer brand. It is a reputation that develops over time and takes form on its own unless it is shaped and maintained.

For instance, one company may be perceived by candidates as traditional, rigid and conservative with a low risk tolerance while another is seen as progressive, patient-focused, leading-edge and open to new ideas. These views are created by the candidates’ direct experiences with a company as well as the information they encounter about the business.

Savvy leaders proactively develop an employer brand strategy and activate it as a recruiting advantage.

Business goals and the ideal employee
Gaining clarity around business goals is the first step in shaping an employer brand strategy that will attract the type of employees who can help a business grow. An engaged, on-brand employee will be a value driver.

Next is to consider the type of candidate the employer brand should connect with to propel the organization forward. What kind of employee is best suited to help the company achieve its goals? What are their attitudes, values, mindsets and behaviors? Build a strategy to attract and connect with these individuals.

Creating an in-depth profile of the ideal candidate has additional benefits: it can be a useful tool for reinforcing an organization’s broad corporate brand, evaluating benefits offered to employees and simplifying decisions related to culture. With the right employees in place an organization is better able to deliver customer and patient experiences that are aligned with your brand promise.

Having clarity around the benefits that motivate these top performers should be used to assess perks and benefits. Most employers have a distorted perception of what attracts candidates to a position. With a better understanding of how to recruit and retain top talent, companies can evaluate the benefits they offer to determine which are truly important and which could be discarded.

“The modern workforce considers an engaging work environment to be a fundamental expectation, a baseline requirement,” according to Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workforce report.

Identifying the ideal employee also helps in developing an internal culture where they will thrive. With so many employers competing over the same pool of candidates, it is important to get this variable right in order to keep them engaged once they are on board.

Emotional connection and self identity
Once a company knows more about the type of individuals they need to attract and how their unique qualifications synchronize with a company’s business goals, it is time to carefully construct an employer brand strategy that connects with that group on an emotional level.

It may seem odd to consider candidates’ feelings and emotions when developing the employer brand, but these drive their judgement during the recruitment process. The decision center of the brain uses both logic and emotion, with emotion as the primary driver.

The emotional needs of employees include feeling secure in their jobs, the ability to do their best work, a sense of belonging and connectedness, a sense of meaning and purpose, and to feel good about what their company offers the world, per the Gallup report. This connection to purpose is a high-level emotional need. “If a job were just a job, it wouldn’t matter where someone worked,” the report adds.

Thoughtfully constructing the employer brand to speak to the ideal candidate also means creating a connection between the company’s purpose and values and the candidate’s own self-identity. Employees seek an organization with goals and values that are aligned with their own.

Where someone works and what they do are two primary factors that define their identity — how others think of them as well as how they see themselves. Organizations need to portray itself as a place where the ideal candidate believes they can thrive and belong. After all, it is no longer about selling candidates on the position alone. Today, it is about selling them on the entire company.

Identity theorist and marketing professor Americus Reed of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School says that self-identity is formed both by past experiences as well as future aspirations. It is important for candidates to see an organization as the next stop on their journey toward achieving their own goals and how they see their careers progressing. For example, if a company is trying to attract detail-oriented, patient-focused, high achievers, it should portray itself as a high-achieving organization that believes details are important and the patient experience is paramount.

Once the employer brand is constructed and activated throughout the organization, it creates the framework for continuously attracting, engaging and retaining the type of employee who is uniquely qualified to help the company succeed.

About the Author

Jessica Walter is a Communications Strategist with a passion for inspiring companies to live into their full potential.  She’s found that the essential equation for long-term success includes Marketing, Culture, and Leader Development.

Jessica has been a researcher and strategist for an integrated marketing agency, the marketing executive for a regional bank, the communications director for a health system, the public affairs officer for a Dept. of Defense command, and the assignment editor for a TV newsroom.

She holds a master’s degree in Strategic Leadership & Business Ethics from Duquesne University, a bachelor’s in Mass Communication from Towson University, and the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) from the Universal Accreditation Board. She is also a Certified Lean Systems Leader.

You can reach her at jwalter@unbeatableresults.com.

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