What’s Your Organization’s Talent Brand?

Chances are, the people you want to hire already know what it’s like to work for your organization. Brace your limbic system, and Google yourself.

Before you can finish typing your company’s name in that narrow white search box, you’ll see it in the top four or five returns: Your talent brand.

Scroll down, past your website link and job openings, and look at the anonymous reviews on job-related sites like Glassdoor(opens in a new tab) and Indeed(opens in a new tab). These sites let current and past employees review your company. 

  • Great experience. Love working here.
  • The people make the job fun.
  • Love my colleagues. But not enough people to do the work required.
  • Not a quality company. They pay you. That is literally all.
  • Horrible workplace. Management is dysfunctional. It’s all about making upper management wealthy.

You take it, like all social media, with a grain of salt. But take it seriously, too, because people you want to hire are doing the same online search to see if they want to work for you. If you’re not working on your company’s talent brand, online reviews are shaping it without you.

A lot is at stake, according to a recent Gallup survey(opens in a new tab). A positive talent brand can attract top talent and significantly boost revenue. When companies select the top 20%, the most talented candidates frequently realize a 17% increase in productivity and a 21% increase in profitability, according to the poll.

And in today’s nomadic, often contract-based workforce, more employees are going in and out of company doors—and they are going online to share their experience: the good, the bad and the ugly.

Looking for insights? Our Employee Engagement Survey can help

High employee engagement adds to employee retention, controls expenses, improves customer service and boosts productivity. How’s engagement at your organization? Our engagement experts will partner with your leaders to measure and evaluate results, form recommendations for interventions and set benchmarks for future surveys.

How did we get here?

In the mid-to-late 1990s, unemployment was low and good talent was difficult to find. We saw the globalization of the economy, manufacturing jobs disappearing and tech-savvy kids graduating from college. The internet began ramping up as a place for not only social media but also for recruiting. All of that was a game changer.

Glassdoor started in 2007, amid the unemployment crisis. “Glassdoor stemmed from an HR incident where salaries got printed out on a public printer by accident and we thought, ‘Why not? Wouldn’t pay transparency lead to better pay practices?’” cofounder Rich Barton said in an interview(opens in a new tab) published on the company website.

Today, Glassdoor is one of the fastest-growing employee-review-and-job sites. 

Every organization has its own personality, otherwise known as a company culture. It’s “the way things get done around here.” It’s how decisions get made, how communication happens—or doesn’t happen. It’s how promotions are decided.

All of those things give an organization its unique personality or culture. Not everybody cares about the culture of an organization, but many others do, and they have new ways to ask and find answers to those questions other than just face-to-face networking as they try to find out what it’s like to work at a company.

Ok. So you Googled. Now what?

  1. As you read comments on sites like Glassdoor, look for repetitive themes
    If you’re seeing the recurrent theme that your people don’t enjoy the work environment because of the people they work with or work for, you may have an issue. For example, many people, when completing employee engagement or satisfaction surveys, will say they’re not satisfied with their pay. But what you really want to look for are things like poor working conditions or managers who were not good to work with.
  2. Talk to employees
    The next place to go is to your employees. Give them an anonymous forum or survey where they may feel comfortable telling someone how it is to actually work there.
  3. Hire management experts
    If you’re seeing a lot of complaints on Facebook or other social media about how people feel working for their particular leader or supervisor, or the management of the company, you may want to bring someone in who would be regarded in some way, shape or form as a neutral third party.
  4. It’s not just a “human resources” issue
    Another thing that may be missing is the “marketing” element of employer/talent branding, and the involvement of the CEO or top management in championing the importance of the employer/talent branding.

Once you’ve identified your talent brand using these tips, you may discover you’re not exactly where you want to be. Understand that it takes a change effort—including a top management sponsor—to steer it in the direction you want it to go. This process can take a few years, as few as 2-3 and as many as 5-7. It takes time. But it’s worth it. Protect your reputation at all costs.

You only get one.

Four ways to find your company’s talent brand

1. Do a Google search.

Look up company reviews on sites like Glassdoor or Indeed.

2. Look at the resumes coming in.

Are people trying to work at your company? Why or why not?

3. Third-party research

Give employees an anonymous place to air their concerns.

4. You are here.

Identify where the brand is now and where both employees and management would like it to be. What’s the gap? And what needs to be done to get closer to the imagined or ideal talent brand? Prioritize the initiatives and then execute on them. Continue to measure along the way to see if you’ve made progress addressing the gap.

Debbie Garcia-Gratacos

“A positive talent brand can attract top talent and significantly boost revenue. When companies select the top 20%, the most talented candidates frequently realize a 17% increase in productivity and a 21% increase in profitability," Gallup

By Bev Wise

Illustration by Pep Montserrat

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