Your Brand Story: The Secret Weapon in the War for Talent

— September 12, 2017

How well is your organization attracting and keeping top talent?

If you’ve been trying to build your staff as a recruiter, hiring manager, business owner, or in an HR leadership position, you’ve most likely had some trouble. Let’s be honest with ourselves… a lot of trouble.

Your Brand Story: The Secret Weapon in the War for Talent

We’re experiencing one of the toughest talent shortages in a long time. The amount of “time to hire” is in a seemingly never-ending rise and 68% of HR managers say they’re having trouble filling positions.

For many organizations seeking to attract top talent, the biggest challenge is standing out in a ‘sea of sameness’ and differentiating their brand from the competition. Companies continue to face the challenge of finding quality talent – people with the skills, knowledge, experience, competencies, and values that provide a match for the roles within their organizations.

In our recent study, we surveyed over 750 individuals currently working or seeking employment within a technology company. Our research was focused on three roles:

  • Research and Development
  • Information Technology
  • Customer Service and Support

Our goal was to see what messages would resonate best as one looked to stand out in this sea of sameness for hiring, but also retention. Below we’ve outlined some of our findings from this effort:

Money talks in a competitive job market

Unsurprisingly, high compensation is top of mind and ranks as the most important motivator for the majority of respondents for their job. Someone has to pay the bills!

Motivations differ across roles

When you dive into specific job functions, our data revealed that although the majority of respondents indicated they are “Progressors” (i.e. highly focused on career progression), their job motivations differ. Specifically, for an Information Technology role, respondents ranked job security as the strongest motivator in their daily work. While in the R&D and Customer Service and Support roles, respondents ranked opportunities for advancement as their top motivation.

Our research revealed that 49% of the Progressors within the R&D roles exhibit the persona of a “Researchers” (not surprisingly!). These respondents are focused on doing their homework before they jump into decisions. Also, they desire to work for and stay with an organization that fosters career advancement and provides intellectually challenging opportunities.

In the Customer Service and Support role, 42% of the Progressors align with the persona of “Influencers” – they are persuasive individuals with positive attitudes. They’re typically excellent at steering customers to resolution. The data shows that they desire to join and stay with an organization that values employee contributions and invests in their growth and development.

For the Progressors in the Information Technology role, 41% are “Visionaries” – they think big picture and conceptualize ideas to motivate others to action. They are attracted to join and stay with an organization that is forward-thinking and where they can make a difference.

In the face of the currently challenging job market, firms struggling with communicating consistent and authentic messaging that resonates with the talent they seek will continue to lose in the war for the best talent.

One of the keys to great employer branding is being authentic by presenting a true image of the company culture and making sure it’s aligned with the brand’s story. If you think this happens without a ruthlessly consistent effort remember- your employer brand is already being created on social media by employees and people who have interacted with your hiring process.

Your Brand Story: The Secret Weapon in the War for Talent

If people are already talking, you have to ask yourself whether or not you want a voice in the creation of your employer brand story. We’ve previously discussed how to respond to bad online reviews like a boss, but what do you do when a prospective job candidate leaves a negative review of your business?

Here are 9 quick tips to remember when responding to poor online reviews from prospective job candidates and former employees.

  1. Respond promptly
  2. Be Calm
  3. Ensure you “hear” their complaints
  4. Correct inaccuracies stated in the review
  5. Emphasize your strengths
  6. Write like a “real person” not a corporation
  7. Be consistent
  8. Remember future candidates will see this
  9. Be proactive

You can use negative feedback to enhance your HR and recruiting process as well as understand what you candidates are seeking. In this highly competitive labor market, the power of an effective employer brand cannot be underestimated as it helps to effectively communicate key benefits that will attract qualified candidates and retain current employees.


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