Saturday, January 2, 2010

Employer Branding, Step 3: Communication Plan

Now, after having conducted the research in step 1) and finding your EVP in step 2) we are finally ready to choose the right channels to communicate internally and externally, and to coordinate the employer branding communication with other types of existing communication.

The selected employer value proposition from “step 2” needs to be communicated in a planned fashion in order to affect your target group. Choice of communication channels should be guided by what you want to achieve with the communication. Many employers I have been in contact with use a wide variety of channels - some are traditional, such as using ads and brochures, others are more unusual, such as using social media, online games and movies.

Different channels for different aims
Print should be used to create a feeling for you as an employer, focusing on the intangible values that characterize you as an employer. My experience is that there are too much information on the world wide web, so print is the channel that will increase awareness for your Employer Brand, and trig students to read more about you on the internet and visit you at company presentations. Social media, blogs and home pages can then be used to provide more factual information and information on tangible benefits. Finally, visits at company presentations should help potential employees to identify with the company. The candidates should be given the opportunity to meet current employees and get a feel for the atmosphere in the workplace. They should walk away from the visit feeling like they could be a part of the team at the company.

You should carefully consider the position of your employer brand before choosing the channels. If you are well-known but ‘misunderstood,’ some channels will do better than others. If you are unknown, mass marketing channels should be in your portfolio. If you are part of an industry where differentiation is tough, maybe you should go for other channels than your peers. The same care should be used when selecting internal communication channels. I often see that management spends more time on external communications and events than on revitalizing the current staff ’s commitment to the company’s branding.

Invest in the right channels
Today, the website is one of the main channel companies use to communicate their employer brand, and it is a channel that candidates find very useful. However, there is not always a match between where companies communicate and where their target groups get the information. Research that Universum Communications AB conducts annually with more than 300,000 students worldwide shows significant difference between desired and actual ways of communicating in different countries.

Make use of ambassadors
An efficient and inexpensive communication channel is your own personnel. No matter the number of employees in your corporation, every person can communicate how good (or bad) your company is. According to Universums annual surveys, a very popular source of information for graduates and professionals is ‘acquaintances employed by the company’.

Integrate communication, be coherent
Ref “Employer Branding is not easy”, the same survey shows that about 90 percent of the companies stated that their HR departments are involved in employer branding activities (which is reasonable). The good news is that 50 percent of all respondents mentioned involvement from the marketing department and 60% said that top management is involved. In this phase of the process it is crucial that HR has the support and synchronizes its activities with the communications, marketing and information departments. In order to be effective, the employer branding campaign must be consistent with other marketing campaigns that your company has created. I have seen examples where employer branding campaigns have been called off or made useless by ill-timed or contradictory campaigns from other parts of the company. To avoid throwing your money out of the window you should coordinate messaging.

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