Once you’ve created your Employer Brand and built it into a career website, it’s time to bring it to life internally. In this blog, we discuss how organizations can successfully launch their new employer brand to employees in a way that will promote engagement and brand ambassadorship.
Written by Brooke White, Senior Employer Brand Specialist
Launching Your Employer Brand Internally
Once you’ve created your Employer Brand and built it into a career website, it’s time to bring it to life internally. Your employer brand should act as somewhat of a cultural blueprint for your organization, outlining strategic direction for the employee experience. Without properly communicating and embracing it internally, your employer brand will not feel authentic. These empty brand statements, when communicated to candidates, but not embraced internally, create cynical and dispirited employees, alienate customers, and undermine managerial credibility. (Harvard Business Review)
START WITH LEADERSHIP AND PROGRAM MANAGERS
In order to bring your employer brand to life, it must be fully embraced by the individuals who lead the organization and build its programs, policies and practices. Ideally, you’ve already involved many of them as stakeholders throughout the project phase.
When these leaders and program managers truly understand the employer brand elements, they’re able to ensure all organizational activities and initiatives reinforce its messaging. If your employer brand is going to truly come to life in your organization, it must be integrated into every employee-related process from hiring methods, to performance management systems, criteria for promotions and rewards, and even dismissal policies. From the first interview to the last day of work, employees should be constantly reminded that this positioning forms the strategic direction for every decision the company makes. (Harvard Business Review)
When introducing the messaging to these individuals, it is best to take them through a working session where they have an opportunity to digest the content and ask questions. The goal of this meeting is to arm them with the necessary tools to apply their learnings to strategic initiatives and activities.
For example, if one of your employee value proposition pillars is focused on nurturing employees’ career development, you need your performance management programs to reflect this. As an activity embedded in year-end performance conversations, managers could work with employees to choose a “Next Role Goal,” where together, they create a plan of action to help employees work towards their next step at the organization.
LAUNCH YOUR EMPLOYER BRAND TO EMPLOYEES
Once your leadership team and program managers are on board, it’s time to bring the rest of employees up to speed. Employee Launch Email or Town Hall/Assembly Get the team together to both share and celebrate your employer brand journey, explaining your initial decision to rebrand and the path you took to get there. Think about the key messages you want the team to take away and drive them home.
- Explain the Purpose
Make sure to explain why this project began in the first place and what it will provide for the organization moving forward. What challenges does it address, and how will it solve them?
- Take Employees Through the Development Process
Explain the employer brand development process. Who did you solicit for feedback in the discovery phase? How did you validate your findings? This is your opportunity to discuss the validity of the project and gain employee trust.
- Showcase the Articulation
Show employees the articulation of your new employer brand. This can be simply going through the career website and explaining its elements from the messaging and tone, to the design approach.
- Build Excitement
Notebooks, mugs, pens, shirts, posters… It may seem cheesy, but new collateral gives your team a tangible way to own the new brand right off the bat. Talk about how employees can get involved and what this new brand means for the team at large.
- Call Employees to Action
Finally, challenge employees to embrace the new brand. This can be done by introducing an internal initiative that encourages employees to share stories of how they bring the brand to life (see the “Opportunities to Get Involved” section below).
From here, provide some take away materials for employees.
Supplementary Take Away Materials
Once employees have had the chance to digest the messaging, it’s important to provide them with an avenue to revisit it independently where they can review and reflect.
This can include anything from brochures or printed materials, to a follow-up email, a page on the intranet, or a link to the career website where the messaging already lives.
Daily Reminders and Reinforcement
After launching the employer brand messaging internally, employers must promote it every chance they get. Think of the “Rule of Seven” in marketing. The rule states that It takes at least seven interactions with an advertising message before a prospective consumer takes action to buy that product or service. It’s the exact same with employees and brand messaging.
Some examples of these opportunities are:
- Office posters and promotional materials like coffee mugs and t-shirts
- Leadership and employee communications
- Daily touchpoints and activities like a morning huddle
In an article from Harvard Business Review, they explain how Nordstrom does a great job at doing this. At Nordstrom, the organization constantly reminds employees of its Customer Service shared commitment. Outside store hours, managers read both positive and negative customer comments daily over the intercom so employees can hear firsthand how they are doing.
With these reminders, organizations can reinforce messaging with employees until eventually it becomes second nature.
Opportunities to Get Involved
Once you’ve launched the messaging internally, you can begin to identify and celebrate the employees who truly embody the elements of your employer brand.
To get this process started, employers can launch campaigns or initiatives that encourage employees to get involved. By creating an avenue for employees to share their personal stories, you can find real-life examples of how they’ve embraced the shared commitments or experienced the employee value proposition. Once you’ve sourced these employee stories, recognize and celebrate them across the organization. By doing so, employers are able to provide rewards and recognition to their model employees while creating tangible examples for the rest of the organization to follow.
As you continue to source and celebrate these stories, you begin to develop employee ambassadorship and engagement with your employer brand.