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Employer branding = cultural strategy?

If your company has reached the conclusion that they need an employer branding strategy, the first question you should ask is, why? Fair chances are that there is an urge to not fall behind the competitors. It is a fair question to ask, as we live in a talent economy where human capital is our new currency.In my opinion, employer branding strategy is a cultural strategy. Now let’s look at the definition of employer branding. Employer branding is the process of promoting a company, or an organization, as the employer of choice to a desired target group, one which a company needs and wants to recruit and retain. Ok, Great. Now we know what employer branding is. Now who in your opinion are best promotional ambassadors in a company? Employees, right? Employer branding should therefore be an external narrative describing how your organization perform, respond and act.

What is the definition of culture?

Corporate culture refers to the beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company’s employees and management interact and handle outside business transactions. Now before you start thinking about the campaign you want to set out, and worry about facebook and linkedin likes. We need to take a step back. Too often we lose our self in benchmarks, buzzwords and trends. Now, don’t shoot yourself in the foot. The beauty of business is that it’s fast pace and it’s always evolving. There is enough time to get back on the train. Before looking outside of our civilization for benchmarks, we need to look at some fundamental truths – we need to look inside.

  • Who are we as an organization, what is our culture and the legacy that we want to leave behind? Are we allowing our culture to develop without a clear direction, or is it written as a strategy and codex?
  • Why do we exist? What is the fundamental reason for our existence, and what is unique about our organization, culture and offerings? Now, the why is a big question, but don’t let it slip. Answering this and you have a clear differentiator in your market place.
  • How are we as an organization? What is the status quo today? How is our culture, our codex, where are we making money, and why are we able to attract people to us, or worse, why are we losing assets?

I have a hypothesis; culture is the sole differentiator within industries. You might be playing alone in your space today, but tomorrow there will be fierce competition. You might be specialist within your industries, but there are surely competitors who have chosen the same path. If not, they will. Culture is unique and its intangible. This is why we need to understand how we are doing as an organization before investing in employer branding strategies.

If we look at statistics, what is the main reason for people changing jobs?

  • Autonomy
  • Self-development
  • Culture
  • Salary

Before starting with an employer branding strategy we need to answer the who, the why and the how. This gives us answers about our culture and what our company codex is. And a company codex is linked directly to our core values. I repeat, employer branding should be an external narrative describing how your organization perform, respond and act.

While answering these questions may or may not provide you with epiphanies, it might give you the fundamentals to start with your employer branding strategy. The goal of a good employer branding strategy is to promote your company as the preferred employer in your market. People change jobs like they do relationships. The competition for talent is fierce. So, how do we attract the best people, the A-team, and how do we retain them? We need our compass of direction, a clear vision, which is enforced through the whole organization. We need a clear company codex which is lived everyday supported with a strong and defined culture. We need to provide the employees with autonomy, the right for self-development, combined with a strong performance culture.

If you have clear vision which is enforced throughout the organization, a unique culture and clear codex, you will be able to attract top talent, and enable them to reach their potential. A direct result of this is that your organization will market itself through performance and the way you conduct your business. You now have the ingredients to start with your employer branding. Now you are ready to put forth the initiatives in the market.

Good luck!


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