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Talent Branding: Staying Ahead of the Curve

By chelsea
Jan. 16, 2017

The What
Many of us working in the tech sector are very aware of the commonly used phrase, ‘employer branding’. LinkedIn puts it well, stating, “Employer branding is the process and action of promoting a company or organization as an employer of choice to a specific targeted group; one of which the objective is to recruit, motivate, and retain.” To showcase an employer brand, companies highlight the benefits, standards, and values associated with their workplace in recruitment strategies and communications.

As trends and hot topics change over time, employer branding is becoming outshadowed by what is known as ‘talent branding’. As defined by LinkedIn, “Talent branding is the highly social, totally public version of an employer brand that incorporates talent thinks, feels, and shares about your company as a place to work.” This differs from employer brands, which are set and guided by the company, rather than being influenced from the public.

To put it simply, there is an increasingly wide spectrum of talent in the marketplace, meaning we have to be seen from the outside… by the talent. This is why our talent brand matters.

An unfortunate truth, plaguing the workplace, is not enough companies believe that building and nourishing an employer brand is all it takes to see huge business returns. Historically, workplaces view their employees as static human capital. Today, we have a vibrant, engaged, and active talent pool, fueled significantly by millennial values. This talent source is where companies must learn to better understand people, while building a compelling brand.

The Why
As Appnovation sustains its position in a period of growth, we value the importance of always staying ahead of trends; never behind. We're making our talent branding objectives a top priority, this quarter and those to come. Talent branding has a massive impact on how any business is perceived internally and externally, and we understand that. This ranges from the broadest of positions in our geographical regions, to the pre-candidates, and to capturing the minds of our own employees. Long story short, talent branding is not something to be left to grow in an organic way; rather, it’s a strategic asset.

Your talent brand is far more valuable than you realize. LinkedIn has launched a very worthwhile guideline called their ‘Employer Brand Playbook’. The playbook reinforces the value of a strong talent brand and reminds us that with a genuine and powerful plan in place that...

“You’ll spend less on hiring. Lower your cost per hire by as much as 50%.”

AND

“You’ll boost retention. Reduce employee turnover by up to 28%.”

As mentioned, you can’t expect a talent brand to be implemented and flourish organically; companies have to design a cycle of nourishment to keep it active, engaging, and compelling at all times. Find ways to publish the most eye-catching, intriguing, and innovating messages, while monitoring it, moulding, adding-to and taking away, and repeating. Skipping or neglecting these steps will waste your time, the businesses time, and see no solid ROI. The second you allocate focus away from your talent brand, you will notice your direct competitors using their own campaigns to get in front of your talent pool. 

The How
The determination and planning around a talent brand is unique to any business, but as a best practice, the LinkedIn Branding Playbook is any professional’s go to. There are also other great resources available to help you upgrade your talent branding strategy, including this great article on Instagram talent brands.

The 5 steps to building your talent brand campaign are below. This has been released directly by LinkedIn and referenced from their Playbook.

  1. Get Buy-In
      a.  Start at the top
      b.  Arm yourself with data
      c.  Bring partners to the table
  2. Listen and Learn
      a.  Audit your existing materials
      b.  Conduct research based on who, what, where, when, and how
  3. Craft Your Approach
      a.  Be real
      b.  Be personal
      c.  Be brave
      d.  Be consistent
      e.  Set your goals
      f.  Test drive your messaging
  4. Promote and Engage
      a.  Empower your employees
      b.  Target your messages
      c.  Make your culture shine
      d.  Be visual, and more!
  5. Measure and Adjust
      a.  Explore and apply Talent Brand Index
      b.  Choose your key indicators

Talent brand is key to making connections within and outside of your business; just remember, as times change, so will your talent brand. Building out and managing your talent brand strategy will always be a work in progress. The reach potential and impact businesses have will quickly correlate with increased hires and reduced retention. I challenge you to re-think how your company portrays their employer brand and how talent brand can bring value overall.