Unintentionally or intentionally, an attractive “employer brand” is one of the positive externalities of a strong “consumer brand.”
It’s not pure happenstance that the most sought after employers have an emotional connection with their prospective hires and therefore command the lion’s share of the talent market.
High engagement with customers is the congealing element of brand affiliation and strong brand connection is what pulls us emotionally to one employer over another. That’s how human psychology works and for a handful of employers that’s how they are winning the war for the best and brightest talent.
Our decisions are emotional and are a function of our subconscious mind.
Employer branding is a corporate practice and is the deliberate effort of marketing a company’s employment experience to prospective employees.
In theory, that makes sense but it doesn’t create the same emotional response as experiencing the brand itself. The transaction works a little differently in people’s head and people’s excitement about an employer is attached to something more deeply rooted in their psychology.
Still, in the absence of a strong consumer brand, employer branding can be effective.
When my sister-in-law was in her last year as a biology major at Cornell and was interviewing at Google I didn’t get it. But a quick survey of all the lists of companies that Gen Z and Millennials most want to work for, you will begin to connect the dots and see a trend. Young professionals want to work for brands they use and are emotionally connected to.
There are great employers with less compelling employer brands because their “consumer brand” is “out of touch” with end customers. Most times, this is due to no fault of their own, just the nature of their business model.
What I am saying is if given the choice to work at Nvidia, the semiconductor/mobile computing company behind many of the tech products we enjoy, or Apple, a brand we spend most of our time with, we will likely choose the product we are closer to.
There are thousands of companies competing in the most competitive talent market in recent years, considering the Great Resignation and an overall sluggish labor market.
The classic mistake most companies make is treating every new job opening like Chicken Little. The best companies see effective recruiting as a function of everything they do well, and the forces that compel the best talent to their brand are baked into their processes, products, and, services.
Attracting top talent is not for the faint hearted. Investing in employer branding is worth the money especially when the tailwinds of a strong consumer brand is not behind the company.