What Does it Take to Build a Strong Employer Brand?

It is important for organizations to invest in building a credible employer brand that employees can identify with. When you watch Meryl Streep’s iconic performance in The Devil Wears Prada, one interesting observation is how well the character of Miranda Priestly personifies the brand that she represents i.e. the fictional Runway magazine. Given that the organization that you work for is often an integral part of your identity, most employees would like to work for an organization that reflects their own personal values.

One great example of an organization trying to achieve this is Airbnb. It encourages its employees to live the Airbnb experience by giving them a $2,000 credit annually to go live in an Airbnb accommodation. This helps put them in their customers’ shoes and think from their point of view.

Basecamp is another example of a strong employee brand. The company is extremely open about what it means to work at Basecamp. It has gone so far as to post its employee handbook online so that it is available for all to see. The reason that Basecamp’s employee brand is so strong is pretty simple – It walks the talk and keeps its promises. Employees’ experience of working at Basecamp is pretty close to what they signed up for.

Living the brand values isn’t always easy for organizations. For example, one of Google’s well-known tenets is, “Don’t be evil.” The company has always claimed to live by this rule. As a result, in April last year, when the company signed on a contract to develop A.I. technology for the Pentagon, it had to face backlash from nearly 4,000 employees who protested since they felt that the contract was in direct conflict with the “Don’t be evil” tenet.

So, what does it take to build an employer brand that is real and sustainable:

  • It is important that the employer brand is aligned with overall brand values, vision, and mission of the organization
  • Also, the brand promise must be real i.e. it must be in line with the actual culture on the ground.

When it comes to building a strong employer brand, being ‘real’ is what works.