Your company is a success. You’ve built a great reputation and made a lot of money in your home location. Your employees are engaged and feel that their work is meaningful. Now you set your sites on expansion. It should be easy, right? You just do the exact same things you’ve been doing…just 1,200 miles away. So easy.
As the economy heats up, so does the competition for talent. To ensure that your current employees are less at risk for poaching and that candidates choose to invest their careers with you, consider upgrading your employment brand.
Rackspace, a San Antonio-area cloud hosting company, is famous for its culture. Rackers (as employees call themselves) often cite the company’s adherence to its core values, community volunteer opportunities, philanthropy programs, and work-life balance as major benefits of employment at Rackspace. It’s one of _Fortune_ magazine’s 100 Best Places to Work (#74 in 2017).
But what’s most palpable at Rackspace is how seriously each and every one of their employees takes their credo: fanatical support. “Fanatical support” is the story they tell themselves and one another. It’s on their website and on company t-shirts. It energizes them and the work that they do.
How can you get this kind of buy-in from your employees? Here are some tips:
1. Employee Surveys: Ask your employees what they like or love about working at your organization. Find out why long-term employees stay and why newer employees came to the company. In these answers, you can determine the strengths of your culture and the appeal of working for your organization.
2. Brand It: Synthesize the positive part of your culture down to a name (like Rackspace employees calling themselves Rackers) or a tag line (like Fanatical Support). Use something catchy and memorable. Your marketing team or an outside firm with experience in internal communication branding can help with this.
3. Disciplined Communication: Ensure that all internal communication is branded in the same way. Internal content should also bolster the cultural message. The company’s cultural values should be front and center on all candidate communication and on any career websites where your organization posts open positions.
4. Live It: Hopefully, if you did your homework (see tip #1), you discovered the important and positive aspects of your culture. Find ways to reinforce these strengths at company gatherings, in programs, and in community outreach. Your employment messaging should include examples of employees living this culture. Make sure your PR team includes any “culture highlighting” activities in press releases.
5. Build Recognition Around the Brand: Reward and recognize employees for examples of “living the brand.” Rackspace, for example, could acknowledge employees who go above and beyond in their client support. Be creative with ways to highlight employees who are positive examples of the culture.
These tips should get you started on building your employment brand. Keep in mind, though, that this isn’t the only way to compete for employees. Providing competitive compensation, ensuring that employees find their work meaningful, and having clear paths for advancement are other considerations. Positive employment branding is not a substitute for any of these other important employment advantages, but it is one of the things your organization should be doing to win the war for talent.