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Think Like a Marketer Series: Part 3 – Retention

Creating a workplace where employees want to remain and grow at starts with a strong employer brand.

Anna Coucke

by Anna Coucke - April 5th, 2023


The current job market continues to be unstable, with 57% of knowledge workers in the U.S. reporting that they're open to finding a new job within the next year. Younger workers are much more likely to leave their current jobs than older generations, meaning that employers should focus their recruiting energy on how to best attract workers from this crowd. 

Millennials and Gen Z are advocates for their personal brands and want to be associated with an employer whose brand matches their identity – so now is a great time to create or improve your employer brand in order to attract these candidates and retain the talent you already have, and reduce employee attrition.

What is an Employer Brand?

In short, an employer brand is an identity that your organization projects to an audience of current and future employees. It tells people what it’s like to work for your organization, the value being delivered to employees, employee sentiments about their workplace, and what future opportunity looks like within your company. 

If you’re wondering if your organization has a strong employer brand, think about what an employee’s Day In the Life video may look like. That video should show something that you and the employee would feel proud of and that aligns with your company values.

Employer Branding Tips

If you want to focus on employer branding but don’t know where to start, try to first think of how you can transform ordinary things in your workspace into something that feels more personal and exciting. Don’t be afraid to get creative (and silly)!

For example, at GoCo, our employees are known as GoCoNuts, and our weekly all-hands meeting is called WhatChaGot. These are just a couple of examples of how we took ordinary things and branded them into something more flashy and unique.

Using Symbols To Make an Impact

When creating a brand, symbols are extremely powerful. Symbols not only make it easy for people to recognize your brand but also drive connection and meaning.

You can start by looking through your Slack channels or your team's meetings and watching for emojis that are really popular. Look for symbols that indicate smoke behind the fire of a potential brand moment in symbols. 🔥

For example, at GoCo we use an app in Slack called HeyTaco, which allows us to show recognition to our colleagues by tagging them with a taco emoji. As a result, tacos have become a symbol within our organization – we even have taco pillows in the office! 🌮

Another example is when our Spirit Committee arranged to have live alpacas at our company holiday party. The upfront cost of this has paid for itself in dividends in terms of people seeing our employees post on their own social media and getting our employer brand out there. This gets people’s attention and piques talent’s interest in working at the company that has alpacas at their holiday parties. 🦙

Identify Brand Ambassadors

No matter what HR and leaders want to project as their brand, its success ultimately lies with employees. You should invite employees to be part of building the company brand they want to be part of and use their individuality to do so. Identify brand ambassadors within your company, and allow them enough time and resources to help foster your company brand. 

Department-sponsored events let employees within each department showcase their skills and interests, and perhaps even eventually form committees or clubs around popular interests and causes. Committees for company-wide initiatives can also be formed to allow employees to take ownership of important matters and foster their growth.

Brands in Leadership

Remind your leadership team regularly that they, too, have a brand. While they each have their own individual brand as a leader, there's a collective brand around your executive leadership team that you should also pay attention to. Newly hired leadership roles should have an introduction to the existing brand by meeting the other leaders and understanding how they lead and run their departments.

This collective brand in leadership should reflect your organization’s brand voice and values. That way, when tough news or questions arise, you already have an established brand pattern through which an aligned response can be made.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, connection and community drive loyalty and retention in the workplace. Creating a brand that your employees not only agree with but are proud to work for each day gives them a reason to not just show up for work, but create a community and make an impact. Every cool moment you create at your company gives your employees a reason to stay – because no one wants to miss the alpacas at next year’s holiday party! 

Keep your finger on the pulse of employee engagement within your organization by implementing an HRIS with integrated employee survey workflows. Create custom questionnaires, send automated reminders, and track progress and trends – all in one system. 

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