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A New Year’s Resolution for HR:
Jump on the Employer Brandwagon

how to build employer brand

A New Year’s Resolution for HR:
Jump on the Employer Brandwagon

Many HR managers across the country are bearing the brunt of a business environment driven by historically low unemployment. The dismaying lack of qualified candidates has prompted a broader search to some pretty unlikely places, including prison. The scramble for new talent, coupled with the phenomenon of contract work and gig jobs, has prompted employee tenure to now be measured in months instead of years. (Have you heard the term ghosting whispered around the office lately?) Traditional companies respond to these external forces by increasing their recruitment efforts, the workplace equivalent to bailing out a sinking sailboat with a bucket while more water floods in. Faster bailing might win the battle, but it certainly won’t win the war.

New Resolution GIFResilient companies and wise HR managers know that this is one instance where we can dust off an old saw: work smarter, not harder. Working smarter means creating an employer brand that is positively irresistible to those seeking the best possible place to work. Consider REI’s 2015 decision to close on Black Friday. This was a clear message of the company’s values to consumers – but also a clarion call to candidates and employees alike about how much the company values its workforce (a great deal, apparently). You may already know that your employer brand is in trouble: the indicators are well-known. But it’s never too late to strengthen your employer brand, and the advent of a new year is the perfect time to get started.

Mentoring is a particularly elegant strategy for strengthening a company’s employer brand for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, mentorship programming is scalable, which means that program costs are easy to control, and easy to project as the program expands. An initial foray into mentoring might include a dozen high-potential leaders as its first participants; a mature rollout could easily involve tens of thousands of employees all over the world. And mentor programs can be ‘layered’ with increasing success: once you’ve embarked on your first mentoring program, those that follow are more likely to have improved outcomes, thanks to your HR Department’s familiarity with ‘what worked’ in the initial rollout.

Second, mentorship programming is highly customizable. Whether you’re acculturating new hires in the onboarding process, cultivating the leadership skills of new managers, or simply showcasing the skills and talents of your teammates, mentoring is an equally solid solution. Some companies solicit their workforce for ideas about where to apply mentoring; others implement mentoring to address issues perceived by management. Whichever road you take, it’s likely that your HR Department will find creative new applications for mentoring in the workplace – and your now-seasoned program participants might even lead the way.  

Lastly, mentoring simultaneously celebrates and promotes longevity. The invitation to mentor others is a clear message to your accomplished staffers that their contributions are valuable, and provides a platform in which they are recognized and celebrated. Recognition continues to be a top component that is consistently missing in today’s workplace – no surprise in this age of the Revolving Door. Beat the odds by creating your very own mentoring program that celebrates achievement and tenure, and lifting up your top performers as models for their peers.

Mentoring is a key component in today’s proactive #HRTech stack, offering a host of benefits to both employees and the company alike. Mentoring offers depth to your employer brand, and sends a strong signal to your candidate pool: this company is the place to be! So don’t lose sleep in 2019 over market forces you cannot control. Start the new year by taking a candid assessment of your employer brand, and determine what kind of benefits can help you attract – and retain – your company’s greatest asset.   

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Mark Brodbeck, MSW
mark.brodbeck@ementorconnect.com

Director of Marketing at eMentorConnect. Passionate about people intent on elevating others, and other examples of enlightened self-interest. Frank Sinatra said it best: 'It's one world, pal. We're all neighbors.'