What your employees say about your company matters. If a brand is the sum total of customer experiences with a company or organization, then what is an employer brand? It’s the total experience of an individual as an employee. The employer brand sums up their experience beginning from the first moment they learn about your company, through the process of applying for work, and then their experiences within the company culture. Just like a customer, employees have a story to tell about the company.
Your customers are telling your brand story, but so are your employees. Consumers trust the story employees tell almost as much as what their friends tell them.
Employer brand in home care, healthcare and staffing
In industries like home health, healthcare, and with staffing agencies, having a consistent flow of quality employees is the lifeblood that makes quality service possible. Without the right employee for the right staffing need, the company can’t deliver. But in a powerful way, those same employees also impact the flow of new customers too, because it is their opinion about the company that consumers trust most.
Consumers trust employee opinions more than what is presented by the company or the CEO.
In the annual Edelman Trust Barometer research you can see the big divide between the trust that consumers have with employees versus the company spokesperson or the CEO of the company. In areas like responsiveness, concern for the consumer and employee (Edelman calls this engagement), and something as important as integrity, employee voices are the most important. When consumers think about the product or service and how well the company delivers as promised, they trust academic researchers most, followed or tied by employee perspectives.
When you understand how much influence employees have with customers, the way they feel about the company becomes a critical part of our brand strategy.
Focus on Employee Experience and Trust
Research makes it clear that many employees don’t trust their employer. Only 32% are actually engaged in their jobs. Because of these strong feelings, employees are far less likely to say positive things about the company they work for. The employee experience is what shapes the employer brand. The brand that is experienced, shared by employees, other prospective workers, and with consumers – becomes the employer brand.
The employer brand has a multiplier effect on both consumer marketing and recruitment.
How is this employer brand communicated by employees? It is both shared verbally in conversations and on social media, and in non-verbal ways with people who are considering applying for work and with consumers.
A negative employer brand can undermine a powerful public brand. That’s because all of your employees carry their work experience around with them in every interaction. Very few people have never been on the receiving end of a service worker sharing something about the way their company is treating (or mistreating) them. Consumers intuitively believe that if the company doesn’t treat their employees well, any service they might receive is likely to be poor, too/ That’s probably a safe assumption if you are being served by people who have a negative attitude.
In home health and healthcare, a powerful marketing campaign can be undermined if the brand story that employees tell doesn’t line up.
5 Steps Toward a Strong Employer Brand
- Recognize that the brand you develop with consumers is built upon a different value proposition than what your employer brand offers to workers. Everything from the images you present, to the things you highlight as unique differences, have to be focused in a thoughtful way to win and keep quality workers. On time service may be a good differentiator for consumers, but it doesn’t mean anything to employees- except perhaps pressure to perform.
- Create marketing targets for your ideal employees. Since a large part of your recruitment activity is actually marketing, you have to build “buyer personas” for employees too. The same process that is used for targeting customers works for employees.
- Telling the company story, is a process that should never stop with employees. Just like you never really stop marketing to consumers, employees need to hear the brand story routinely in a way that makes sense to them. A powerful brand story needs be presented authentically in a way that is real to employees.
- Employee experience is constantly shaping the employer brand, so find ways to listen well. Soliciting feedback and engaging employees to help improve the work is critical to building an employer brand.
- Inbound marketing systems and content marketing work for employer brands just like they work for consumer and B2B marketing. When the brand story is communicated using inbound tools, both current and future employees find value in what the company offers to employees.