Employer Branding is changing. But it is really no surprise there, given the wider changes we are seeing across HR and Talent Acquisition. However, what may surprise, though, is the degree of and speed at which that change is happening.
Before Employer Branding
Before there was employer branding, we had the “help wanted” job ad. The trusty black & white print advertisement in the local paper that announced Company X was now hiring staff. Simple and effective.
Then we started to see a rise in competition for finding Talent.
Company Y wanted the same staff as Company X, and so they explored ways to make their ads stand out. Some colour perhaps, or a catchy headline. Then things got serious – companies realised that they couldn’t just promise something in their recruitment advertising. They had to be certain that they could actually deliver on those promises or risk a backlash from disgruntled new hires.
Further to that, they had to be sure that the Talent they were speaking to was at least interested in what they had to offer and if not, how could they reposition or repackage the message to make it more attractive, and yet still believable and deliverable?
The rise of modern Employer Branding
And so modern Employer Branding was born. Balancing candidate needs and wants with what you can realistically offer in terms of a total employment experience, and then making it sound like the biggest party in town.
And that’s the way it stayed for more than a decade. However, the present proliferation of HR Technology and the need for even greater targeting due to the biggest divergence in generational attitudes in history means that the traditionally gradual and logical progression in the evolution of Employer Branding is being turned on its head.
Older generation workers are deciding to stay in the workforce longer, which means that you have bigger age differences than ever before. On top of that, you have very different attitudes towards working. Millennials have a completely different outlook on working than Gen X, or even Gen Y – and certainly BBs too.
Think of a practice, or a process, that you have been implementing or adopting since before the digital age, there is very likely a new piece of technology that has been developed to make it better.
In fact, right now, in Talent Acquisition big data is driving predictive talent analytics to help recruiters find the best people, at the right time, through the most productive channels. Somewhere in the Employer Branding space, there is an interactive billboard talking to a candidate based on their identified employment needs & wants. If we look even further, a team of social media experts is discussing whether Snapchat really is a viable option to promote their employer brand.Can social media platforms be an option to promote your Employer Brand? Click To Tweet
What does it mean for modern day recruiters?
Unfortunately, due to the fast-paced nature of technology, what is consider new today will be seen as “old” and outdated in six months. Gordon Moore’s prediction that computing power will double every year has proven to be more conservative than bold, and we are seeing that infiltration of technology in the HR space, perhaps, more than anywhere else right now.
Overlaying this, the age demographic of the global workforce is now more diverse than ever. As a result, we are experiencing a steady evolution of increasingly tailored HR programmes – including the way in which we engage with potential new talent. Again, though, the evolutionary line that seemed to follow a logical, well-beaten path is about to go off the rails.
We have already witnessed a trend for Gen “X” & “Y” moving away from organisational loyalty and further towards job task loyalty. Personal development and upskilling are increasingly regarded as essential components in their professional careers and many would not hesitate to “jump ship” when a better opportunity arise. Add to this the number of Baby Boomers deciding to put off their retirement and a wave of new Millennial talent about to hit middle management level, we will very likely end up with more distinct talent audiences than we have ever seen. All of which need specific targeted messaging.Employer Branding is changing - Is this really any real surprise? Click To Tweet
What does the future hold?
The Employer Value Proposition, then, has to be more targeted than ever. Is it useful to say the same thing in the same way to Baby Boomers as you do to Millennials? Will they be attracted to the same things about your company? Does your core message translate and resonate with everyone?
The answer is no and you will need to tailor your messaging accordingly in order to be able to successfully engage the different audience you are trying to reach. And the amount of work required to customise these messages is set to sharply increase as well, in parallel with our diverging and aging global workforce.
That said, there are opportunities everywhere for Employer Branding. Practitioners who are already used to developing targeted talent attraction materials will be able to draw on those same principles and apply them to the bigger challenges ahead. In-house recruiters can continue to work with Marcomms to align themselves and create world class advertising solutions to attract new talent. Those without direct experience or expertise can also call upon an increasing number of specialist agencies for help.
There are some testing times ahead for all of HR, Employer Branding included. As long as we stay aware of what’s needed to meet the future challenges of hiring great people, though, the future of employer branding is busy, but it’s also bright.
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