Competing for top talent is tough in the current economic environment. According to the U.S. Labor Department, 3.1 MILLION employees quit their jobs in December 2015. In a robust job market, it is hard to attract, engage and retain top talent. Therefore, organizations are investing more than ever in their employer brand as they start to understand its breadth and value. Human Resources has become one of the key contributors in communicating a company’s brand identity.
The question for HR managers is, “How strong is your employer brand?” Here’s how one global company reinvented its global employer brand to help attract and retain top talent in a very competitive field.
Ericsson is a communication technology and services provider. As such, it competes for talent with the world’s top companies that have highly visible employer brands. Think Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook, to name a few, and you can see what they are up against.
A few years ago, as the company diversified into mobile technology services, it realized the time was right to rebrand itself to compete for top talent. Ericsson’s talent acquisition and recruiting was initially decentralized throughout Sweden and the 10 regions where the company is based. Each region had its own recruiting process. The company itself did not have a consistent brand message or communication strategy.
The rebranding process was an intense one. It included focus groups, delving into the perception of Ericsson as an employer, analyzing its competitors’ branding, and identifying the best method to strengthen its employer brand. The Ericsson team developed a unified employer brand message, named “You + Ericsson”, that focuses on using various media platforms, a new careers website, and social media networks to give people a better understanding of the company culture and its employer brand. Using blogs, video and other formats, the company reaches out to candidates, which has resulted in better brand awareness, and increased site traffic and social media engagement.
Matt Kaiser, a key member of the Employer Branding & Digital Recruiting / Global Talent Acquisition at Ericsson, shared his approaches with HRO Today at its Global APAC Forum. He stated, “What we’ve done now is we really centralized that model and we started to look at more of a global approach, so when we look at our message now, we have one overall message that we’re going to market with in order to attract talent, engage talent, and hire talent. We go to market as one Ericsson. We have a global message, but then we’re also capturing information from the regions to provide some slight nuances or regional representation. We have built a communication platform where we are sharing our message that includes our website and our digital channels – things like our social media platform, and our search channels.”
However, one of the most important issues at Ericsson is employee engagement. Happy employees are brand ambassadors. According to Kaiser, the company has a high engagement rate, which means their employees are, “excited, they’re passionate, they want to come to work, and they’re happy to be there.” The popularity of social media has made companies a great deal more transparent. People are far more likely to trust a company based on what its employees have to say than on its recruitment advertising. This means that talent attraction relies a great deal on employee engagement and advocacy. Ericsson encourages employees to share their happiness with other like-minded people (engineers know other engineers) through social media and a robust employee referral program.
As the Ericsson team found out, an employer brand will continue to grow and develop over time and requires ongoing nurturing and attention. Organizations that fail to recognize the importance of their employer brand and monitor it accordingly are likely to find themselves losing out on the best talent to firms with stronger employer brands.