3 Ways You’re Failing at Employer Branding

“Employer branding is a double-edged sword—it’s a great initiative to attract the best talent for your teams, but also it’s the perfect strategy to help retain current employees you have right now. A stellar employer brand can also improve the corporate brand + identity to the outside world.” – me, last week.

Well, if you’re reading this right now, you probably think you’re not doing something right… in other words, you think you’re failing at employer branding.

And sadly, you might be.

Here are 3 ways to tell your employer branding is a fail and tips on how to bring it up to par:

  1. You’re a liar
    Did you just jerk your head back and blink your eyes a little bit out of shock because I just called you a liar? Oops. Sorry not sorry. Maybe you are, maybe you’re not—who am I to judge? But I can guarantee you your EB strategy is a failure because you don’t practice what you preach. Do you flaunt all these incredible cultural attributes on social to hook the bait, but once they’re reeled in, does the lie come to the surface?

    Here’s how to tell if you’re an EB liar:

    -You share how “work-life balanced” and “flex life” is the law of the land at your office, but when someone asks for a work from home day, you get your britches in a wad.

    -You showcase 3 people on your careers site with the intention of displaying how you recognize employees—but once they’re in your clutches you never talk to them, rarely give thanks or genuine praise without a “but…” at the end.

    -You talk about “career growth and opportunity to rise up the ladder” at your company, yet there’s no actual career development program, opportunities for employees to attend conferences, tuition reimbursement, etc., and you probably don’t even talk about a career path with them.


    What you can do: DO WHAT YOU ACTUALLY BOAST ABOUT. Plain and simple.

  2. Your investments in EB don’t benefit your current employees

    Did you really think employer branding is only about potential candidates and attracting talent? WRONG (*in my Donald Trump obnoxiously yelling “wrong” during the 2016 debate* voice.) You can’t treat employer branding like dating—wooing and cooing until you get the girl, then once you got her you treat her like trash… then when she leaves, you get bitter.

    Well—should have recognized what you had before it was too late, right? This whole scenario relates to your employees, too. Employer branding is a great recruitment marketing strategy to implement on your careers site, social, emails, etc. But the absolute CORE of employer branding actually starts with you current employees…

    So maybe you do share how “work-life balanced” and “flex life” is the law of the land at your office—start allowing those employees of yours to work from home one day a week, or once every other week, whichever works for you. This way, employees will get excited and will tell their friends, family, etc. “yeah, my company allows flex life! It’s so helpful.” And that reputation will start spreading… and you’ll be more likely to retain your current employees if they feel valued and appreciated as humans and not just worker bees.

    What you can do: Your employees are your biggest brand advocates—tap into that knowledge. Implement your EVPs with your current teams and watch what happens.

  3. You have to think about what your onboarding process is

    Do you even have one? Or is it just a buzzword for you and that’s as deep as it goes? The process doesn’t end just because a candidate accepted your offer. So think about your onboarding: is it just introducing a new hire to groups of people and then they’re left to figure the rest out themselves? Newsflash: that’s not onboarding.

    The goals of onboarding are to build up the talent to feel excited and confident about their new position, set expectations, encourage engagement + productivity early on, and setting them up for success. Plus, a solid onboarding function reveals how legit your employer branding spiel was. Your new talent will be able to tell if you were a liar or not, trust me, and that’s a reputation you do not want to mess with. If you onboard properly, your new employee will feel confident and taken care of, and overall, happy. This leads to longer employee retention, more employee engagement (see point number two), and stronger brand advocacy (aka free marketing, hello.)

    What you can do: Dig into your current onboarding process, what can you improve? If you don’t have one, invest in developing a solid process… it takes time, but it’s worth it.

    How do you feel about your employer branding now? Are any of the above slapping you in the face? If so, that’s okay. A wake-up call never hurt anyone. There’s time to turn this ship around.

    Just remember: poor employer branding can have negative effects on your business… and we don’t want that. Invest in the people, boo, and they’ll invest in you.

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