Employer Branding

Building an Employer Brand Team

Building an employer brand team from scratch is hard work, especially when your organization recruits globally. I’ve found that most employer brand program owners are a team of one, maybe two people. These are the project managers, who seek out partnerships internally, usually with HR, marketing, and PR, to get the work done.

Some of the lucky ones (my team included) are structured like marketing agencies within talent attraction. This means that with the basic brand building blocks, they can create much of their own structure and content. I like to think of this as having the 700 piece Lego set and being able to follow the instructions on the box or get super creative with the resources you have. When my team needs a new kind or color of block or radically different design, we partner with the marketing team as they’re the ones who design the building block sets. They’re working with the brand every day and know when there are upcoming direction changes that could derail your new website project, for example.

I co-founded the Talent Brand Alliance, which is a community of employer brand and recruitment marketing practitioners. One of the most often asked questions I see in the group is around team size, correlated with the size and location of the company.

You can see the coverage for 16 different companies here, with a somewhat expected distribution line as hires increase:

  • The majority (62.5%) have 1-4 employer brand FTEs
  • 37.5% have 6-10 employer brand FTEs
  • For companies with one employee (31.25%), the average ratio of hires: EB employees is 4,250:1
  • The average ratio of hires: EB employees is 2,519:1

Other factors that can impact the needed headcount, are global business support and language requirements, role complexity, industry, as well as the planned growth percentage overall.

How do you prove ROI of your company’s investment, and sell the value of an extra headcount?

If you can take a broad look at all of the different tasks and responsibilities that hit your team’s desk every month, it’s easier to uncover what’s less important. These tasks can be de-prioritized, or outsourced if there’s a budget.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Content Management, Production, and Curation – This is the fuel that powers your recruitment marketing engine. My personal preference is to have an internal resource focused on this creative work if possible, as it should match your brand’s existing tone and voice. You can partner with marketing and design departments if your team is small, or outsource projects to a creative agency that you trust.
    • Writing
    • Photography
    • Graphic design
    • Asset management
    • Inbound Channel creative
    • Recruiter Training and documentation
  • Community Management – If your audience isn’t engaged, then nothing happens. Approaching this with a focus on both conversion and conversation will allow you to alter your content mix based on this engagement (or lack of) feedback. You’ll need to partner with PR, social, and your local recruiting team.
    • Social posting and broadcasting
    • Audience post engagement
    • Direct Message response
    • Internal employee engagement
    • Reputation
      • Rating and review monitoring
      • Responding and flagging
      • Analyzing and sharing with leadership
  • Recruitment Marketing – This is the *almost* instant gratification of our work, which is focused on driving applicant traffic and awareness to our open jobs.
    • Job posting and aggregation
    • Paid social media
    • Radio & Television
    • Out of home
  • Recruiting Events – Most recruiting teams aren’t prepared or staffed to manage a rigorous event schedule. I’m not referring to career fairs, per se. I’m referring to conferences and trade shows where your audience goes to learn and develop themselves and their careers. We partner with our corporate events team to make sure the process is consistent and expectations are communicated to everyone involved. If you can swing it, having someone dedicated to event engagement strategy will help to proactively identify events where you want your brand represented. It will also help you say ‘no’ to those events that haven’t been productive for hires.
    • Event Strategy
    • Candidate Engagement
    • Logistics & Promotion
    • Pre and Post Communication
  • Employee Advocacy – According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, above brands and executives, people trust others like themselves. This means that if you empower and encourage your vocal employees to spread the right message, you can amplify your employer brand and reach their networks.
    • Social sharing
    • Employee engagement
    • Focus group research

Once you’ve done that, which role is the most critical to hire for, first?

That will all depend on how your team is structured and if you lean on internal teams for support, do the work yourself, or bring in an outside contractor or consultant. Personally, I’ve had to hire a Jack/Jill/* of all trades straight away, as there are so many different tasks and projects that need managing. But if you can hire more than one person on your team, these are my recommendations, in order:

  1. Content Producer
  2. Community Manager
  3. Recruitment Marketing Manager
  4. Event Strategy Manager
  5. Regional Program Manager, which is critical for global hiring

All of these are deeply supported by an employee advocacy program, but that’s usually under a TA/HR leader’s or program manager’s responsibilities. This is a big topic and one that I’m still learning. That means that there’s more to cover, specifically the interdependent relationships on a creative employer brand team, as well as the regional and cultural differences to consider.

What else did I miss? If you’d like to see the next iteration of this series, please comment below and share this post with your network (or your boss).

About the author: Bryan Chaney is a global talent branding and attraction strategist. He’s worked at IBM, Twilio, and currently leads employer brand for internal recruitment at Indeed. Bryan has worked in recruitment, technology, and marketing, providing him insights into the marketing of hiring, the importance of technology, and the buying process that candidates make when applying for jobs.

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