It’s Time for Honest Employment Brands 

The Great Resignation. Quiet quitting. Labor shortage. We’ve heard so much about these trends, but it all comes down to a single truth: It can be hard to get and keep good people these days.

Just as there’s no singular reason these tasks are so difficult, there isn’t one solution to the problem. But in our years of successfully helping companies bring on new team members while keeping the ones they already have, we’ve found that a lot of it comes down to having an honest employment brand.

That may seem vague, but it’s actually pretty simple. If you’re serious about boosting your company’s recruitment and hiring efforts, there are two areas you need to emphasize: authenticity and relatability.

If you build it authentically, they will come. And stay.

(You didn’t think you’d get through one of my blogs without a sports reference, did you?)

The only thing worse than not having an employment brand is having one that’s misleading or overly aspirational. This principle applies to your company’s culture, values and management style. If you emphasize work-life balance in job postings but don’t follow through with your team members, it’s misleading. If your company says it values “hiring from within” but every promotion is filled externally, employees may feel tricked. If your team members feel duped it’s likely they won’t stick around, leading to higher turnover rates. Which, as anyone who’s been in a hiring position knows, is annoying and expensive.

Luckily, there’s an easy solution: Be clear and honest about your company.

There’s a perception that you have to tailor a perfect employment brand to attract new talent. But if you’re honest about who you are and what types of people will succeed at your company, the “wrong” person won’t bother to apply. You’ll have higher-quality candidates and new hires won’t feel tricked. They’ll know what they signed up for and—most importantly—are more likely to stay.

So, if you’re a company where “hard work” is a daily value and you have a lot of overtime opportunities, then say it. Some folks want that overtime to sock away extra cash for their families or save up for college!

Likewise, if you’re a “hybrid” company where people still mostly work remotely, don’t show pictures of smiling happy people sipping lattes in your hip office space. Many people want (*gasp*) to work in-person, and they’ll be disappointed to show up to a dozen camera-off Zoom calls every day.

In short, be authentic in your employment brand and the people interested the company culture you offer will be attracted to it.

Be relatable to your audience.

Relatability is something we see large brands, especially national or international brands, struggle with often. We get it. It feels like a lot more effort to tailor messaging to specific areas, and it is! That said, there’s a popular Meredith Hill quote a lot of marketers have probably heard: “When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.”

It’s the difference between getting a hand-written “thank you” card versus a generic, mass-printed one. Do you know that feeling? The first makes you feel warm inside, genuinely appreciated. The second is still nice, but it lacks the personal touch of something created exactly for you.

A real employee who is happy at his job.

Recruiting potential employees is no different. We’re all human, and understanding of your target audience goes a long way.

Potential candidates need to see themselves working for your company. They want to know how they fit it. They want to see their community and their neighbors in the imagery. Show images of the community you work in. Show real employees from their neighborhoods. Use landmarks that they see everyday on their way to work. Show your connection directly to them.

Let your employment brand lay the foundation.

“Authentic recruitment” is the very first step in our People Strategy development process for a reason. Without a strong foundation to build upon, efforts will never meet expectations. By doing the soul-searching necessary to honestly evaluate and define your employment brand, you’re far more likely to find long-term success with your hiring decisions.

If you’re one of many companies finding yourself struggling to acquire or keep the talent you need, let’s chat!

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