April 30, 2019
How Compelling Brand Stories Attract Game-Changing Leaders
By: Rick DeRose, Managing Partner
You only need to look as far as the countless lists from Great Place to Work and Glassdoor’s “Best Places to Work” rankings to see who excels at employer branding.
Boston Consulting Group, for example, reached the top five on multiple lists in recent years. Its career page is clear and concise: “The work we do every day — going deep to discover key insights and having the courage to break new ground — leads to a lasting impact on companies, industries, and society.” In this brief statement, BCG speaks beyond the facts to its “why.”
A strong employer brand message is an excellent tool for attracting and retaining leaders. And not just any leaders — we’re talking about the game-changing ones who are extremely capable but also extremely passionate about what you do.
Finding the right candidates is a challenge, as evidenced by research that indicates three out of 10 new hires quit within 90 days. Those new hires wash out because either the role wasn’t what they expected or they didn’t fit the culture. Your transparency about the situation each candidate will encounter is crucial in setting the stage for successful onboarding, early wins, and the “break-even point” (when you need the new hire as much as he or she needs the job).
An important part of your message is your brand promise. Candidates regularly evaluate what an employer stands for and whether it’s the right place for them. You need to capture what makes your company a great place to work. Once you have that nailed down, spread the message in every outreach, market-facing document, and digital channel — starting with your position description.
To enhance your existing marketplace reputation, build your brand story over time through consistent internal and external communication. Here are three ways to start building an exciting, authentic brand story:
1. Gather the right expertise around the table.
Do you have a strong internal CMO or brand consultancy? Sometimes, companies fold marketing under operations or sales. Don’t underestimate what it takes to develop a succinct and captivating employer brand story.
A brand story isn’t limited to sales or operations, though. Crafting a captivating story is an art unto itself, and team members who do it well can elevate your recruitment to new levels. As CEO, assess whether you have the expertise sitting around the table and whether your marketing team truly is on top of your employer brand.
2. Develop a message that cuts through the noise.
One report indicates that 42 percent of consumers find it difficult to determine whether a brand is trustworthy. Create a message that customers, employees, and shareholders can all clearly understand. Hit on both the emotional and factual components of your story. Be transparent about the current and future states of your business, the candidate’s role in driving that transformation, and what benefits you will provide as they join your team.
3. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Continue to communicate your message across the right mediums to reach your target audiences. Video, for example, can be incredibly useful in terms of helping your message stand out from the crowd. When sharing your message, be confident, competent, and enthusiastic. Walk into conversations knowing that you have something valuable to offer. Once you have developed a clear and effective message, map out a plan for driving it out into the marketplace consistently.
Your employer brand is critical to landing leaders who can ensure your business continues to shine. When an executive’s goals, dreams, and passions align with your own, you will be in a great position to fully unleash your — and their — human potential.