Employer branding can mean a lot of things. The way you sell your jobs to candidates is often determined by what you can do for candidates right now: your compensation, your benefits, etc. But employer branding is more than the now; it can be the past as well. And for any company looking to sell itself, tapping into your history as a company can pay big dividends in attracting candidates.
Telling a Better Story
One reason to work on crafting a more relevant history of your company is that companies have a hard time selling themselves as it is. Candidates want to work for companies that will make them proud to work there, and companies don’t make a great case for themselves a lot of the time. In fact, 29% of job seekers say companies don’t do enough to reinforce why they’re a great place to work.
This is where a compelling company story can help your employer branding. Take, for example, the story of Steve Jobs and Apple. Despite some of his pricklier aspects, he’s remembered as a legend in the tech industry, mainly because of the story of how he built Apple from a fledgling company into the powerhouse it is today. This reputation extends into its employer branding when candidates want to work for Apple just to be a part in that legacy.
A history can also serve as a way to build yourself as a company that isn’t going anywhere. When you can sell your company history, you’re also selling stability. The more competitive your job market is, the more important this stability can be. Especially in the startup world, where 50% of new companies in the United States fail within five years. When you sell your longevity as part of your employer branding, you’re not only selling job stability, but success, as well.
Not every company can sell themselves this way, of course. But just because you’ve recently started your company doesn’t mean you can’t sell your history! Think about the accomplishments of the people who run your company. What accomplishments have they made in the past? Have they worked anywhere recognizable? These are all traits you can put together when you begin selling your history as part of the story you want to tell with your employer branding.
Know When to Pull Back
While there are many benefits to building a great story about your company and putting it front and center of your employer branding, there is such a thing as too much. When companies become attached to a particular vision of themselves, it’s harder for them to make the moves they need to in order to adapt to changing trends in the marketplace. Tim Sackett (@TimSackett), President of HRU Technical Resources, explains why going too far with your history could be a bad idea:
"I believe it’s great to know your company’s history. Where you came from and how you got started. The problem many organizations run into is that they try to live in that past. “Well, we started out selling washers, and we need to keep selling washers.” Even though our clients can now buy them overseas for 90% less than what you sell them for. This is why companies go under. This is why so many companies who were once great, are no more."
Selling your history is a great idea for companies who can manage it. As long as they don’t let this kind of branding determine their future, employer brands that tell a great story and use it to distinguish themselves on the job market can make a great name for themselves to candidates. All it takes is a little ingenuity and some clever thinking.