The other day I had a long discussion about employer branding. Most people involved in the discussion agreed to define employer branding as the sum of communication strategies to make an employer more attractive. I didnâ€™t.
First because I consider itâ€™s not about the communication strategies but their result. Businesses should definitively understand that the era when they used to speak and candidates had to listen and agree is over. What matters is not what they say but what candidates think. Thatâ€™s the hard truth they learned from customers but things are the same with candidates.
Second because one does not build a brand upon communication strategies anymore. Employer branding as the result of a communication strategy has become a dead concept the very first day employees and candidate were able to share their experience publicly. Not only with friends and their close network but with anybody, anywhere, at scale, on the web. Candidates want transparency in the same way customers want and it does not matter if an employer is not transparent : the less transparent they are, the more transparent their current employees will be. Thatâ€™s the way things are right now and itâ€™s not going to end. In fact itâ€™s going to accelerate and scale up.
Some have tried to fix things by providing employees with ready-to-share messages but itâ€™s not working either. As a matter of fact employees donâ€™t share messages, they share experiences. What means that employer branding is not about branding and communication anymore but about experiences. Experiences are not messages but what employees experience at work in their day-to-day lives. So a good employer branding is not â€“ or not only â€“ about better communication strategies but improving employee experience at any touchpoint with the organization, itâ€™s broader than communication and encompasses operations. It does not mean to make work as awesome as possible but to make it relevant to the promise. Itâ€™s not a race for awesomeness but a matter of alignment and relevance. As a matter of fact the experience employees share over their networks is nothing but the the difference between the promised and the lived experience.
More and more businesses are started to talk about employee experience and I expect it to become a major HR trend in the next months if itâ€™s not denatured and turned into one more buzzword. Employee experience is a matter of employer branding but itâ€™s much more : itâ€™s a matter of engagement, of productivity and the best way for HR to support the digital transformation of their organizations.
It will also imply new partnerships involving HR and Marketing as any part of work and worklife is subject to consumerization, what is a major opportunities for HR if they manage to embrace what the future of work is about.
Thatâ€™s what Iâ€™m going to discuss in my future posts.