WHY TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR EMPLOYMENT BRAND AS A SMALL BUSINESS OWNER?
As a small business owner, it is challenging to wear the many hats that it takes to be successful. What hat are you wearing this morning and how about this afternoon and later this week?? So why should you pay attention to or care about having a solid employment brand? Maybe you are saying “what is an employment brand” or “I don’t have time to think about an employment brand”…
It is not an easy task to shift from strategic to tactical throughout the business day/week/month/ quarter/year either, but in order to be successful it is a talent that pays back in dividends when mastered!
Let’s take a few minutes to talk about why you should be interested in creating a strong employment brand for your company. Bottom lining it quickly, a strong employment brand can be your secret weapon in your small business owner toolkit.
WHAT IS AN EMPLOYMENT BRAND?
An employment brand is the marketplace’s association with your company name and what it is like to work there. An employment brand should include company culture, work environment, benefits to its employees and your employee value proposition.
Your employee value proposition or reason why people want to work for you (what is in it for them to do so) needs to be engaging, relevant and unique to as to differentiate your company from others and therefore draw the job seekers you want to hire to your small business.
Your EB (Employment Brand) gets your potential employees excited about the possibility of working at your company which means that they will want to get engaged with you in the job application process and it draws them to your company because they can identify with all of these things that you have put out there about what it is like to work for you!!
Your EB should be in alignment with your core values, vision, mission and your products and/or services. It all starts with you…the small business owner and flows throughout the company. It should be in sync with what your employees believe it is like to work at your company. In addition, it is important that your supervisors, managers understand it and are able to convey it appropriately to potential candidates during the interview process.
It should be clear and compelling and specific and visible at all points of contact with your company including you as the owner, your supervisors/ managers as mentioned and your recruiting process and website, etc.
SOME BENEFITS OF A STRONG EMPLOYMENT BRAND
How can a strong brand be a secret weapon for your company???
If we go back to your largest ASSET as a small business owner…your employees, which enable your company to grow, it is not only a great competitive advantage to have a strong EB, it is quite necessary in the war for talent.
What is the war for talent? As baby boomers continue to leave the workforce at a rate of 10,000 per day for approximately the next thirteen years or so, it is no surprise that there is a GAP in experienced talent as the Millennials continue to grow in the workforce. It is going to take a while for them to catch up to replace the talent drain of the retiring boomers. In addition, the economy is stronger and reports the lowest unemployment rate since 2007. Companies large and small are competing for talent. Some of the expertise needed in acquiring experienced talent is impossible to come by in a timely manner which enables companies to grow at a rate to meet their revenue and other objectives. This is problematic.
There is also a shrinking of America’s workforce due to large demographics shifts. According to a BLS study of 2013, the Labor force peaked in 2006 at 67.3%.
Boomers are certainly a factor but not the whole story to the decline of the numbers of folks in the workforce today and going forward.
Any advantage that a company can use to attract and retain top talent will help them to grow their business revenues. The companies who don’t have any advantages to draw talent to their ranks… lose. It is as simple as that. In past economies with low unemployment the key factor holding back company growth has been the inability to hire enough talent to grow the organizations. The same is true today in terms of lack of qualified talent in the marketplace.
Small business may believe that employment brands and the like are for the LARGE companies…but that is a dangerous way of thinking and a costly one as well. With the inability to be competitive in attracting talent, there is no chance of hiring, retaining and growing your employee base. Simply put, your revenues will suffer and the turnover costs very expensive and it will be so much harder to reach your business and revenue goals.
WHY IS IT YOUR SECRET WEAPON?
Why is it a secret weapon, you ask? A strong, concise, clear employment brand will help ensure that you are able to identify, hire, engage and retain your LARGEST small business ASSET…your employees!! It will assist you in competing with not only other small businesses in the acquisition of top talent for your company, but will also help ENGAGE them, be able to GROW them and ultimately RETAIN them. In addition, it puts you in the category of larger businesses with clear employment brands and may attract those who would only consider working for a larger company, because they will identify with your brand and see your company as a desirable place to work! Do you want more??
Although a strong EB may not have been on your mind or at the top of the list of things that keep you awake at night, I hope you can appreciate the value it would bring to your company. It is NOT just for large companies AND it is not that hard to figure this out and implement it in a small business environment.
You should be able to see enhanced revenues as this will contribute to your ability to grow your employees to meet the needs of your company. It will also help to prevent eroding of revenues due to the inability to hire the talent you need when you need it and to reduce turnover (which costs companies a lot of time and money).
Getting to know Millennials, and the way they work and like to work; along with other generations in the workforce will help you to implement this employment brand in a way that will be effective going forward and this knowledge of your workforce ways of working needs to be layered along with establishing your strong EB. Millennials will comprise 46% of the workforce by 2020, so starting now is imperative to your company’s continued success in attracting top talent (to begin with).
Not only understanding what motivates Millennials, what appeals to them in their work roles is important, but also they need to ENGAGED in their roles in order to perform their roles effectively. In addition, they need to be MENTORED and GROW in their roles. If they are retained long enough, you will have the opportunity to do that.
Ultimately a strong EB will draw talent to you, ENGAGE them, and give you tools to enable you to RETAIN them long enough to PROMOTE them into senior roles. AND they will love working for you because you understand them and they fit well into your company.
Lastly, if the folks you are looking to hire also fit into your culture and work environment and have the passion you want to duplicate from your own passions and core values, you have another secret weapon as well. Working with these two factors of a strong EB and matching folks with your work environment/culture will help you to compete for top talent on many levels. Taking the time to include these steps into your hiring process and culture is a wise investment in growing your organization.
How can you do all of this as a small business owner (and if you are larger than 250 employees it is critical…on a larger scale and has a larger impact on the growth of your business)? There are people out there who can help the small business owner to streamline this process and get it into place BEFORE your next hire (s). You do not need to do this all on your own. Consultants who understand these concepts are available who understand these important factors that go into hiring talent who has the right stuff for you and your business.
Those small businesses that take this to heart and embrace the process will not only survive, but thrive in the war for talent and they should see the results being translated into enhanced revenues. Those companies who don’t - lose. Why not choose to be one of the winners?? By taking these steps you will have one less thing keeping you up at night as a small business owner. You are not alone. Why not check this off your hefty small business owner To Do List? You can get some help to do just that!!
© Accurate Resource Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
For over 30 years, Accurate Resource Group Inc. is Your Small Business Solutions' Strategist for small businesses (under 250 employees) with a sweet spot of fewer than 50 employees. Kathy M Barron is founder, president and a principal consultant. For more information visit www.accurateresourcegroup.com and view the HR Consulting support for small businesses OR email firstname.lastname@example.org