Best Practices

Employer Branding: Using Diversity & Inclusion Strategies and Branding to Win the Talent War

May 2017

Weak employer brands can result in high employee turnover and unimpressive corporate reputation. Brands that don’t incorporate elements of CSR and D&I risk alienating diverse communities and millennials who value these components. Customers who don’t see a strong commitment to social causes and D&I will take their business elsewhere. Saying the company is socially responsible and committed to D&I isn’t enough. Companies need to back up what they claim by being transparent. Videos, blogs, photos, and employee testimonials provide insight into company culture and communicate what the company values and what it’s like to work there.

Why Branding Is So Important

• Demand for skilled workers has outpaced supply
• In the next 3-10 years it is predicted there could be as much as a 29 million shortfall of workers in the US
• Companies need to differentiate themselves—the goal is to stand out, not blend in

A strong and positive brand can establish a company as an employer of choice

Building a Strong Brand

• Understand who you are communicating your brand to, and what is important to them
• Consider the values and interests of employees, customers, suppliers, and prospective talent
• Be authentic: today companies are held accountable and expected to practice what they preach

A diverse population and global marketplace have made diversity and inclusion (D&I) essential components of employer branding

Corporate Responsibility & Branding

CSR is a major component of Fortune 100 company brands. Investors, customers, employees, and potential talent evaluate CSR around certain core elements:
• Diversity and inclusion
• Gender equality
• Sustainability and green initiatives
• Community outreach and employee volunteer days
• Corporate ethics
• Work-life balance
• Grants, donations, and scholarships, particularly to underrepresented and diverse communities

Snapshot: Talent Landscape

• Baby Boomers are aging out of the workforce
• An estimated 10,000 boomers will turn 65 every day for the next 15 years
• By 2025, 75% of the workforce will be millennials
• Approximately 43% of millennials come from a diverse ethnic background; 38% are bilingual
• By 2050, whites will comprise 47% of the population
• Minority populations will have become the majority population
• Today, minority populations are underrepresented on corporate boards and in leadership and management positions

• Women earn more than half of Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhDs
• In 40% of US households, women are the primary breadwinner; 66% of millennial women earn the same or more than their partner or spouse
• However, women are underrepresented on boards and in leadership positions
• The LGBTQ community is highly educated and well represented in the workforce
• The LGBTQ community has one of the highest discretionary income pools of any diverse demographic in the US population

Engaging Millennials

• Experts estimate millennials will spend $200 billion annually by 2017
• Millennials are at the forefront of many social reform movements, including same-sex marriage, LGBT rights, immigration reform, and environmental sustainability
• Millennials demand social activism on the part of employers
• 86% of female and 74% of male millennials consider policies on diversity, equality, and inclusion when deciding which company to work for

For millennials, values, culture, and commitment to D&I are as important as pay and benefits.

Brand Messaging

• The brand must be relevant, accessible, and engaging to multiple diverse audiences
• Companies need to shift their focus from traditional media to online networking and leveraging social media
• Messaging should showcase the kind of people who work for the company and what they say about it

Promote how great the company is by promoting how great employees are.

Face of the Brand

• Employees are the face of the brand
• Involve employees to tell the company story and to showcase workplace culture and diversity
• Engage them as advocates and ambassadors
• Encourage them to share their stories and spread the word about the company on social media
• Train employees to recruit new talent and reward them when they bring that talent in the door

Be Informed

• Use benchmarking, surveys, ERGs, focus groups, interviews, and social media to get input from stakeholders
• Use ERGs to poll employees and get their input on company values, culture, and D&I
• Charge ERGs with test marketing the brand: Do target communities see themselves reflected?
• Monitor websites like Glassdoor to learn what people are saying and how the company is perceived

Unleash Social Media

• Social media is a powerful platform for brand promotion and community outreach
• Social media allows a constant flow of communication and outreach to target audiences
• Employees, ERGs, and even company leaders can participate in threads and discussions, and post news, articles, and blogs
• Brand managers and D&I officers can collaborate to create content that highlights values, culture, and diversity

Research by Employer Brand International found 58% of companies report social media is the most effective way to communicate brand.

Association Partnerships

• Associations have national reach and influence
• They offer insight and access to diverse communities
• Partnering is not a one-size-fits-all

Through association partnerships, companies target their outreach, expand their pipeline, and promote their brand—all on a national stage.

Risk of Poor Branding

• Weak employer brands can result in high employee turnover and unimpressive corporate reputation
• Brands that don’t incorporate elements of CSR and D&I risk alienating diverse communities and millennials who value these components
• Customers who don’t see a strong commitment to social causes and D&I will take their business elsewhere

Employer Value Proposition

• EVP refers to the value an employer offers to potential job seekers
• The concept goes beyond pay and benefits, and addresses the overall value the candidate will gain by working for the company in exchange for their skills and qualifications
• Aspects of brand, CRS, values, and D&I have become essential elements of the EVP

Go Digital

• Move away from traditional media to online advertising and an active social media presence
• Establish interactive ways for customers and prospective talent to interact with your brand
• Consider creating a unique hashtag that employees can use to post information about the company and their jobs
• Tap into diverse communication mediums and alternative formats, for example Hispanic radio and Spanish formats

Don’t Forget Metrics

• Sustaining a strong brand means regularly measuring success and making mid-course adjustments when needed
• Transparency in metrics and authenticity of culture add to credibility and reputation.
• Link the brand to high level metrics that measure improvements in recruitment, candidate conversion rates, retention, profits, and market share
• Track traffic and brand influence through social media campaigns and targeted social advertising
• Regularly check in with employees and customers

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