Abhijit BhaduriGuest Author

How to build your Talent Brand

By | Abhijit Bhaduri |Keynote speaker, Author and Columnist

Employer brand is what job seekers and employees really think of you. Talent Brand is a subset of the Employer Brand. A strong Talent Brand makes your business-critical talent think of you as their preferred employer.

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Talent branding is not about wielding a megaphone

Have you heard some leaders taking great pride in being obscure? I heard the CHRO of an automobile giant say, “I don’t believe in brand building. Our work should speak for itself.” Does the business find it easy to attract the right talent, I ask him. He sighs, “Our challenge is finding and retaining good people. The cost of hiring someone is already so high. Then we have to train the person. The competitors are waiting at the factory gates to lure them away.”

The reality: 75 % of job seekers consider an employer’s brand before even applying for a job. 52% of candidates first seek out 1) the company’s sites and 2) social media to learn more about an employer.

Talent Brand makes your business-critical talent think of you as their preferred employer.

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Traditionally, organisations have competed with their peers for talent. The consumer goods talent jumped from one FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) employer to another. Then one day, all the businesses became tech businesses.

The Great Resignation

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US alone saw 20 million resignations between April and August this year. Jobs are plentiful, wages are rising and companies are competing for talent. In India, IT companies such as Accenture faced a 17% in March to May 2021 against 11% in the same period a year ago. Infosys and Wipro’s attrition rates were reported to be 15.2% and 12.1% in the fourth quarter of 2020-21 financial year. Team Lease estimates that the IT industry will witness a double-digit attrition rate 22-23 per cent in 2021. <read more>

Such a rate of churn makes it hard to deliver projects and even harder to build an environment of psychological trust among colleagues. Most people managers have not been trained in how to build trust and onboard new hires or to spot signs of burnout.

When the chips are down

The modern car now contains 100 million lines of code. In ten years they will have 300 million lines of code by 2030. A passenger plane has around 15 million lines. In 2019, semiconductor chips were 4% of the cost of the car. In 2030, the chip will make up 20% of the cost. <read more>

Microchip shortage will cost the automobile industry $210 billion in lost revenues this year. Nvidia used to supply the chips to Tesla. Then Tesla started poaching experts and designing their own semiconductors back in 2016, using Samsung as its manufacturing partner. The supply chain for talent is just vital as the chips. Tesla also started to talk about its proprietary tech for driverless cars. Add Elon Musk’s personal brand into the mix and you understand that the Talent Brand matters even more when the chips are down. (read more)

Your critical talent is not on your rolls

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You compete with everyone for talent

Amazon and Walmart plan to recruit more than 300,000 workers soon. UPS and FedEx wish to hire nearly 200,000 package handlers and other workers. You probably do not compete with these businesses with your product or service. But you compete with every employer to attract the talent that is business critical. In any field, when there is a wide variety of options available, branding matters to help narrow down options. Your talent brand helps you to attract the right person and keep away the unwanted.

When it comes to your potential talent pool, are you doing anything to be their preferred option?

The most critical talent is not on your payroll

Strong talent brand = Lower hiring cost

An unknown talent brand pays a premium to every person they hire. When a talent brand has a strong pull, the hiring team finds it easier to bring in the right talent – not a compromise candidate. According to LinkedIn, a strong talent brand means a 28% reduction in employee turnover. The pool of qualified candidates is 50% more. The time to hire is 1-2x faster.

The cost per hire is 50% cheaper for an employer with a strong brand.

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The Three Phase Process

Phase 1: Discovery

  • Speak to your new hires. Discover what they imagined it would be like to work in your organisation.
  • Referrals are a powerful pool to learn from: Ask them what attracted them to the role. How would they describe the organisation to a friend.
  • Talk to potential hires: If you plan to hire great UX designers six months later, this is the time to ask the potential candidates what they look for while choosing an employer.

Phase 2: Define the brand

Ask the stakeholders what does your organisation stand for. The ask yourself what would it take to build the talent brand in future. Discover the organisation’s differentiator in the eyes of the talent pool.

Don’t say, “Our culture is our differentiator.” The behaviour that the leaders and people managers do consistently without incentives and prompts is the culture the talent pool experiences. Once you discover it, go ahead and articulate it.

The top three factors associated with a good reputation as an employer are stability, opportunities for career growth, and the ability to work with a top-notch team.

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Phase 3: Communicate on your website, network & social media

Case: GoDaddy domain registrar and web hosting company

In 2014, women constituted only 14% of GoDaddy’s engineering interns and new graduate hires. Their racy ads were making it hard for women to think of them as employers. Realising it had a problem, the company tackled the issue head-on, speaking at women-in-tech conferences, training hiring managers to address bias, and live-streaming events that featured inspirational women or highlighted women’s rights issues. Today, nearly 40% of their hires are women.

The platform mix: Choose the platform where your target talent hangs out. Your brand messaging must show up on your company website, professional networks, social media. The talent brand must speak to your potential talent pool wherever they currently hang out.

InMobi, a performance based ad network surveyed 1000 employees to discover the unique elements of their culture. Once they knew that, they created a number of videos showcasing work life there, blogged about its culture and employee value proposition, and encouraged employees to get active on social. That resulted in a 5x increase in top-quality applicants!

The website and social networks: Your company’s website should appeal to the talent brand. Remember no one wants to work in a dull and boring workplace. Thinking of the office as purely a functional space will not get you excited. Throw challenge to turn one corner of your office to be decorated by the employees and make it Instagrammable. Here is a list of most Instagrammed Offices. <see this>

Your LinkedIn strategy: The old school leaders look at social media as an ad. They post the annual selfie and wonder why no one other than their direct reports put a like on it. It is worth teaching people how to create content. It will make the workplace fun.

The talent brand needs to be authentic. I ran poll where I had asked, “Who do you trust to speak for the brand?” The post went viral with more than 300,000 views and 69% people trusted an expert to represent the brand. In case of the talent brand, the experts are your employees. Leverage them.

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Source for GoDaddy and InMobi examples: Why reputation matters

Republished with permission and originally published at Abhijit Bhaduri’s LinkedIn

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