I entered Rush and joined a fraternity at the University of Wyoming in 1993. The fraternity I joined was known by everyone as the ‘best’ on campus. They had a reputation for winning consistently year-after-year in intramural sports, having the highest GPA, the most varsity athletes and throwing the best parties. Their reputation attracted almost every able-bodied freshman and not to mention every good-looking sorority girl.
Because of our strong reputation and sense of purpose to be the ‘best ‘— we were able to attract and recruit the best candidates every semester that added to our numbers and bank account. It is commonly known in the Greek world that Rush is the lifeblood of the fraternity. Without a consistent flow of the ‘right’ members, fraternities dry up and are forced to shut down.
Business owners like fraternities — must always be conscience of what kind of members/employees they are attracting, recruiting and retaining. By letting one bad person/ hire in, you risk the reputation and effectiveness of your organization. We live in a world were now one single bad customer experience will be shouted from the rooftops through the 1.1 billion Facebook users or 645 million Twitter users. By having a sound employer branding and talent acquisition strategy, you can avoid a lot of potential bad customer mishaps.
Here are three things you can do now to build a strong employer brand:
1. Create a reputation of excellence
Our fraternity won almost every intramural football, baseball and basketball game every semester for 4 straight years. Our reputation was widely known on campus and naturally attracted the best guys. To attract the best employees, you must also create a reputation of excellence in the marketplace and communities you serve. Product and service aside — this can only be done by hiring the ‘right’ people. Start by looking at your brand and what purpose you serve outside of just making a profit. If your brand were a person, what would it be like? Model your employees after the brand you want to personify. Develop employee personas and the marketing mechanisms like a good careers page to increase your chances of attracting the ideal candidate. Create a culture that allows your ideal employees to thrive. You must also communicate an image of excellence and back it up with your actions. In today’s digital world, 90% of all potential prospects will visit your website or social media network(s) before deciding to apply for an open position. If you do not have a solid website impression then you may be loosing out on attracting the ‘right’ candidate(s). The goal is to have the right person, in the right place at the right time. The natural result will be engagement, team synergy and innovation.
2. Keep the ‘wrong’ people out and let the ‘right’ people in
Trouble began once our house started letting every one in. The ‘wrong people’ forced the ‘right people’ out. We began to suffer academically, athletically and our parties began to suck. The sorority gals began to hang out at other houses and our morale and reputation began to sink.
It is crucial in your interviewing process to properly assess each and every candidate. You need to have an employer brand strategy in place that allows you to filter the wrong people out and let the right people in. By building a strong employer brand strategy and aligning it with your recruitment processes – your business in time will reap the benefits. It will make your workplace a great place to be and your employees — through good management and leadership processes — will give you their best efforts.
3. Nurture excellence and innovation
Our fraternity was successful all those years because our guys had a sense of purpose to be the ‘best’ and the resources and the talent to do really cool things. For example, we always beat out other fraternities in the coveted homecoming float contest because we had more talent: engineers, architects, pre-med and creative majors. Our members would work tirelessly (without pay – I might add) for weeks to build and design the best homecoming float that equaled the Parade of Roses. When you have talented and engaged employees, everything falls in line and you as a business owner have the ability to take your business to new heights. Most owners spend too much time and attention on balance sheets and how to increase the bottom line. This is important, but the one thing they overlook that can truly impact those things is a sound approach to attracting and hiring the ‘right’ people. Once the ‘right’ people are in place, culture grows organically within the confines of a clear corporate and employer brand strategy.
If you’ve ever been in a fraternity, this simple example can be applied to your approach on how to best attract, hire and retain the right people for your business. In B2C/customer-facing companies i.e.: banking, credit unions, hospitals, retail, restaurants, service industry, etc., your people are the key differentiator in a marketplace full of identical competitors. Without a strong brand and talent acquisition strategy, you risk the same disorders as my fraternity did.
Earlier this year, the fraternity closed because it failed to keep the ‘wrong’ people out. This story cuts close for a majority of companies today struggling to build great workplace environments, maintain innovation, satisfy customers and attract the ‘right’ talent. A “brand+people” approach will allow organizations today to build a strong corporate and employer brand that reduces turnover costs, attracts talent, fosters a culture of innovation and engages employees. Contact us for a free 30 minute consultation if you’d like to learn how we can help you maximize your organization’s brand and people.
By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.