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Building an HR brand that makes the difference

Valerie Rozova
April 2022

The Problem

According to research, 86% of Gen Y and Gen Z employees pay attention to the company's HR brand, culture and values. Now managers and HRs know: to attract and retain fit candidates, a company should constantly adapt to changes. As a result, the matter is widely explored in articles, and more and more companies get interested in HR brand building. 

The fight for talents is getting tougher. Everyone seeks great developers, but great developers seek a cool culture and a real challenge. Such cliches as "relaxed environment in a forward thinking company” don't attract and retain candidates anymore. Now candidates don't buy into bright pictures and such fancy words like "transparency". We have already talked about this in one of the previous articles.

Last year we finished several projects on building HR brands. All of them were fascinating, instructive, and productive. After the first two projects, we took a break to redesign our methodology and strengthen the team. We realized that working on an HR brand can be deeper, broader, and larger. Now we want to share our findings with you.

An HR brand in a Nutshell

An HR brand, or employer branding, is what employees and candidates think of a company as an employer. In other words, it is a set of competitive advantages and a value proposition a company shows to the market in theory and practice. 

An HR brand has much in common with a corporate brand. Candidates choose the company they want to work for the same way as customers choose Tiffany & Co or Apple. If Tiffany & Co has a good communication campaign and beautiful packaging but offers low-quality diamonds, the price of its brand will drop rapidly. The same happens to an HR brand. Excellent communication at the start will not give any long-term results if employees face unfriendly culture or inefficient processes daily.

As well as a corporate brand, an HR brand requires constant work on communication, brand awareness, and quality of processes. Consequently, building an HR brand has nothing to do with performance marketing. Such strategies as "invest a dollar to get twenty tomorrow" don't work. A corporate brand evaluation requires Goodwill (a trade name's value). Meanwhile, the proper HR brand evaluation needs proxy metrics. They include statistics of accepted offers, time spent on hiring, quality of hired employees, the number of referrals, people's involvement, new employees retention, and the probation period indicators. Prepare the metrics before investing in an HR brand and monitor them throughout the project. However, metrics have no direct correlation with the work done.

Why an HR brand is worth working on

Briefly, it enables to attract fit candidates with the needed competencies and culture faster. In detail, the situation is the following: the fight for talents is growing, the number of digital products is increasing. Hiring now has no geographic boundaries: candidates do not have to search for jobs within a region or a country. The whole world is open to them. If earlier you competed with local companies, now you have to take pains because candidates have a huge market to choose from. All companies pay well and provide insurance. Many of them create innovative products, but only a few do it in a challenging and endearing culture.

Consequently, HR brand is a must to:
  • hire people faster and save money;
  • hire people with fit competencies: the more chances to pass a probationary period they have, the sooner you will profit;
  • hire people who match your culture: they will strengthen the team spirit, increase the overall motivation, and improve employee retention.

Building an HR brand consists of five stages:
  1. Research to create an EVP (employee value proposition) and define the company’s limits
  2. Creation of an EVP
  3. Candidate journey mapping
  4. Communication strategy development
  5. Communication strategy implementation

Building an HR brand according to TYPICAL's methodology

In total, the project can last from seven weeks to a year. The deeper we delve into the client's communication, the longer the project goes. In such cases, TYPICAL works on broadcasting companies' values to the market via various channels, messages, and tools.

Stage 1. Research to create an EVP and define the company’s limits

To determine the employee value proposition, we dive into the company's corporate life. We need to understand products, projects, technologies, and processes, meet the key people, analyze the culture and point out whom the company tends to hire. We know that each company has its own time and money limits, sets of speakers, and content tools. So, we define what we will work with the help of different methods, from analyzing candidates' profiles and content to working with focus groups.

Stage 2. Creation of an EVP

When the company is already studied through, we develop EVP. The aim is to create the most honest, comprehensive, and specific list of values that the company will show to candidates. To develop EVP, we follow a clear structure with facts and figures. To prove the material's relevance, we check it iteratively. Additionally, we work on communication rules and contribute to the development of a brand's visual identity. The last step of this stage includes drawing such documents as instructions, guides, templates. Also, we guide the team on working with EVP.

Stage 3. Candidate journey mapping

An HR-brand is not a fair word. It always comes with actions and processes. So, we analyze the candidate journey from the first contact with a company to a job offer and onboarding. Then, we design the perfect candidate journey where that will positively impress a candidate and collaborate on restructuring processes. It includes the review of a website (with a potential redesign), a funnel, job websites, other channels, job descriptions, and social profiles. Finally, we collaborate with a client to fix the material.

Stage 4. Communication strategy development

The communication strategy is a clear plan. It starts with the EVP and a fit candidate journey and leads to actions. We consider the limits discovered within the first stage and plan the communication. As a rule, it includes speakers, topics to discuss, and timing. The result is a real plan with platforms, channels, and messages that turns into actions. For instance, they may include podcasts, articles, interviews, analytical materials, conferences, and hackathons. To polish the plan, we collaborate with a client's team. Next, we use it to train this team via workshops and presentations. As a result, our mission is complete: the company can invest in its brand on the go. 

Stage 5. Communication strategy implementation

Last but not least, we implement this communication strategy according to our methodology. It includes weekly meetings, reporting, and analysis. If the external context changes, we adapt our plans. 

So, this process is long and thorough. To make the most of it, you should have enough motivation and exact expectations. However, the results are worth the effort: the more time spent on an HR brand, the better the quality and the number of candidates. If you need to create an EVP and develop the proper communication strategy in the candidate’s market, contact us.

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