Why Don’t We Build Employer Brands as We Build Products? Or Why Employer Branding Is as Important as Product Management!

I think for everyone who is working in Talent Acquisition or Recruiting it’s not new that there is a war for talent since a lot of companies fighting hard to hire the same talents. Some even say that there is a war for talent but actually, talent won due to the fact that they can decide who is their future employer. Employer Branding can make a difference.

Working in Tech and with Startups, I was thinking — why can’t we build an employer brand like product people build new products? Product Managers are leading the success of a product and therefore have a key role in an organization. In tech companies, they are the guys who are setting the strategy, roadmap, and definition of a product. But what’s with employer branding — I think often it is seen as a supplement to HR, Talent Acquisition or Communication and a lot of professionals are neglecting the importance.

Cross-functional: We find a common base for various partners inside the company!

Product Managers have to face very different stakeholder groups which they need to align. On the one hand, Developers & Designers who want to create the greatest user experience and technically advanced products. On the other hand, the business side where it’s all about the perfect market fit and lowering costs. I think similar it’s with Employer Branding. This cross-functionality is the same with Employer Branding. We have to work closely with Talent Acquisition to create a great brand experience for candidates and have an influence on the application rate and quality of applications. Employer Branding, however, is deeply rooted in Organizational Development as well. I think no employer brand can ever be created when it’s not supported by its own employees in the company. That’s why Employer Branding Managers also work closely with HR Managers who are taking care of the training & development of the current workforce in order to strengthen the employer brand. Moreover, Employer Branding needs to align with Communication and Marketing to create stunning campaigns to engage candidates as well as employees.

Data-Driven: We eliminate gut feeling because we base our decisions on research!

Product Manager need to test the usability of new products with the target audience — the consumer who is supposed to use a website and purchase the product. They need to do consumer research to find out what the consumer actually wants and try to adapt the product according to the consumer needs. Moreover, sometimes they are also involved in pricing strategy — how much is the consumer willing to pay and which pricing strategy should they apply. In my opinion, employee branding can learn a looooot from the data-driven mindset of Product Management while developing a new feature. The core of Product Management is always the consumer but is the core of Employer Branding always truly the candidate and employee? Often I talked to people responsible for Employer Branding who told me that they developed the greatest brand campaigns in close collaboration with communication or marketing departments. But what is with the consumer, in our case the candidate and employee? It’s often totally missed out. Employer brands are developed in HR or Communication offices without taking data into consideration. However, we do not need to even do sophisticated user research as people do it in product management because all the data is already out there — rooted in stakeholders such as employees or candidates. Find out in feedback or exit talks what your employees really like or don’t like about your company. Use onboarding workshops to form little focus groups with people from different departments to discuss whether they finally joined your organization. Don’t miss out platforms such as Glassdoor to have a look what people tell about you in their reviews. And do you run an engagement survey internally and a candidate experience survey with talents you had in the recruiting process? Great! You can identify all the drivers which will support your employer brand and also unveil all blockers which on which you need to work to turn them around.

Strategic: We align the voice of the market with the overall business objective!

Product Manager are the voice of the market — of the consumer who are going to use it and need to be satisfied by it. Every new product we are purchasing, using or new feature which is introduced is supposed to add value to our life. However, Product Management also needs to assure that the product is aligned with the overall corporate strategy of the organization. I think Employer Branding should act similarly. Sure, Employer Branding is not a workers council or something comparable but in my opinion, it’s all to often only focused to execute an overall corporate strategy and its objectives — hiring people. But it’s neglected that similar to how Product Managers are the voice of the consumer, Employer Branding is also the voice of the workforce inside the company. Employer brands can only ‘survive’ or be sustainable as long as they are developed, implemented and supported together with the employees. Basically, Employer Branding supports employees of being heard within the company because while building an employer brand we are also confronted with a truth you probably don’t wanna see and need to work on it.

Do you wanna know what Hung Lee thinks about Employer Branding in Tech? Read the story here.

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