Forbes: The Value Of An Employer Branding Structure
In the first published article, our Head of Employer Branding, Charles Sinclair, presents Oddworks model on how to activate and create a living employer brand. Together with Forbes, we will share the latest trends and insights into employer branding in today’s talent market.
Today, job searching, talent research, company culture and corporate values play a much larger role for organizations than ever before. Companies will have to realize the many values in creating strong company cultures and employer brands if they are interested in attracting this generation’s top talent.
This was the realization that dawned on my company six years ago. Having started as a recruiting startup, our job was to attract talent and connect them with their next career adventure. Finding ourselves in a highly competitive market, we realized our only real chance of bringing talent to us over our much bigger competitors was via our own employer brand and company culture.
In a time of digitalization where work and life tend to blend into one via social media, a shifted focus on employer brand, company culture and reason of being seemed quite clear. The belief that the world becomes a better place if we all do what we’re really passionate about started our employer brand journey.
Two years ago, we were excited to see clients turning to us for help regarding their own employer brands. We realized that through the thousands of interviews we held each year, we gained unique insights into what today’s generation of talent is looking for in employers and how they go about finding the information they need to make the decision of applying. Backed by this insight, in 2016, we transformed into both a recruiting- and employer-branding company.
After weeks of researching to find a model to work with and connect our own experiences with our market, we realized we could not find one model that was easy enough to understand or easy enough to execute upon. Hence, it felt natural to put the best empirical pieces together and add what we found missing into a new model. The result was our own model, which we call the “Oddmodel” of employer branding. In it, a company’s employer brand consists of four parts: reason of being, cultural pillars, cultural activities and communication. Companies around the globe can use this model to improve themselves.
Reason For Being
At the very core of a company’s employer brand is its reason for being. Simon Sinek said it best in his immensely popular TED Talk: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Surprisingly, most companies have forgotten — or never knew — their actual reason for being.
The reason for being is the answer to why you do what you do. And it’s not to make money, especially not for today’s generation of talent. We’re talking about, “What is our actual cause and what are our beliefs?” At Facebook, it’s “To give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.” At Adidas, it’s “Shape the future of sport through innovation.”
An organization’s reason for being is most easily discovered via a workshop format with both employees and management. Supporting the reason for being are the cultural pillars.
The pillars describe who you have to be as individuals and as an organization to be able to fulfill your reason for being. They are preferably discovered via a workshop format together with as many of the company’s employees as possible.
By their very nature, cultural pillars differ within each organization depending on the existing company culture. However, their function is to always support the reason for being. Once you have discovered your reason for being and your cultural pillars, you have the foundation of your employer value proposition (EVP).
A strategic document like an EVP will only be of value if you make sure to activate it inside the organization. This is where the cultural activities come into play. It is via your cultural activities that you bring your EVP to life by connecting daily, weekly and monthly cultural activities to your cultural pillars.
Is one of your cultural pillars kindness to one another? Activate a cultural activity where it’s mandatory for everyone to compliment each other once a day. Is one of your cultural pillars adventure? Go whitewater rafting or surfing as a team. Living out your cultural pillars means activating your cultural activities regularly in big and small ways.
If you live out your reason for being, cultural pillars and cultural activities, you probably have a strong company culture where people feel happy, seen and motivated. But so far, only the people inside the actual organization know about it. If you want to attract the right kind of talent, you have to communicate to the right target groups outside your own walls. This is where communication comes in.
Being as transparent as possible, you want to communicate your employer brand and company culture on everything from your career site to your interview materials to your social media. It is by clear, consistent and personal communication of employer brand and company culture that you create brand awareness and interest in your company among the talent you aim to attract.
With all four parts activated, your company is bound for positive change. More candidates start to apply for open positions, employees turn into brand ambassadors and they stick around and develop their skills for a longer period of time. The workplace gets happier and more motivated, with the extra benefit of you not having to turn to a recruiting company for help ever again.
CEO & Head of Employer Branding