The world of Human Resources (HR), talent acquisition and management spent an awful lot of time in 2013 discussing the topic of employer branding; conversations that will only intensify in the years ahead, especially as the competition for talent intensifies. Ultimately, companies with strong, well-defined employer brands put themselves in the best position to attract the talent they need today, throughout 2014 and beyond.
For too long, however, employer brand has been akin to benefit packages, overused jargon about mission and values, even social media pages filled with photos of smiling workers—Look how happy we make our employees! Thankfully, many companies are setting aside publicity stunts and false bravado—either of their own volition or obligatorily (company review sites, anyone?)—to build, develop and promote a brand that is truly authentic.
Authenticity, transparency and candor will improve customer and employee perception; it will also enhance your ability to recruit the right candidates. As you continue to hone brand strategies in 2014, it’s imperative to factor in one often-omitted component: The hiring manager.
The Role Hiring Managers Play in Enhancing Employer Brand
HR and other organizational leaders are well aware of the critical relationships built between managers and their staff. If still unsure, I urge you to read the dozens of research studies that point out why employees voluntarily leave their current employers—for instance, 2013 research by Quantum Workplace indicates trust in leadership has the greatest impact on organizations’ overall level of engagement (i.e., talent will not hesitate to leave a terrible boss if the prospect to work under great leadership arises). Still not convinced? Check out studies like this one, this one or this one.
Hiring managers are integral to maximizing employer brand and, in turn, the talent you attract. They define the critical skills and personalities recruitment teams should be seeking out; they play a significant role in the engagement of the workforce; and they have the ability to become strategic recruitment marketers.
So, how can you make certain hiring managers contribute to your company’s value proposition? Consider these four simple strategies:
- Highlight the manager’s bio and accomplishments in your sourcing outreach emails. As an HR, technology and recruitment geek with more than 10 years in the profession, I’ve tried this on multiple occasions, and my response rate sits at 100%. A-Players love to learn from and work with other A-Players; highlighting the prospect of working under quality mentors can entice the right talent.
- Share quirky, interesting hobbies, activities and daily happenings of the hiring manager and his/her team. Do you host themed parties? Has the team earned recognition for certain accomplishments? Emphasizing the culture of your manager and team can subsequently draw the right cultural fit to your organization.
- Have the hiring manager make a short video. One-minute introductions available on YouTube, social media or your website can make connections between prospective candidates and the current workforce/leadership team. Candidates want to know who they will be working for and with, and videos provide a simple but effective way to provide insight into culture as well as management style.
- In job descriptions and advertisements, include notes about the hiring manager’s leadership style, demands, personality and professionalism. Transparency goes a long way in candidates’ eyes, and it can attract those with similar styles to your organization.
Employer brand has grown into much more than how customers and employees view a company; it has become a business imperative that directly impacts financial and operational capabilities. Likewise, as candidate experience, employee engagement and other components of employer brand continue to take center stage, be sure hiring managers are an asset to meeting your talent goals.