In the twentieth century, employers attracted talent and kept great workers within their organization for decades because the marketplace generally perceived that “good jobs” were rare and precious. As we enter the 2020s, unemployment is at an all-time low, which means that top talent has many options for rewarding, highly-compensated roles.
More than ever, employers need to sell great talent on joining their team and continue to actively delight their best-performing employees in order to keep them around. As an HR professional or a business leader in charge of hiring, that means you increasingly need to think not just about who you need to attract but how you’re going to attract them. We’ve officially entered the era of creative employer branding.
Moving forward, we’ll explore the steps any organization can take to build a strong identity that communicates value to talent and makes people want to be a part of your team. This includes:
Articulating a mission statement and a brand story
Identifying & building around the true value of employment at your business
Honoring and living your brand identity in real ways
Starting with a Mission Statement
Every business’ goal is some version of “Do good work and make money,” but in order to connect with the public in a way that aids recruitment and builds long-term value for your current employees, you need to be able to present your own highly personalized version of a corporate mission statement.
That mission statement should be as succinct as possible and, at minimum, address:
What kind of work you are doing
What kind of a community you are building
How you hope to impact your industry or the world in general
Why people should be excited about your business or team
For example, here’s a sample mission statement:
“Our mission as an employer is to help our team members acquire new skills, take on new responsibilities, and have a meaningful impact on our clients’ businesses and the Chicago community at large while having as much fun as possible along the way.”
This mission statement is strong from a talent attraction/recruitment standpoint because it:
Communicates that employees will grow and thrive with the business (new skills, new responsibilities; implied opportunities for advancement)
Grounds the work in a particular setting (Chicago)
Explains why the work is compelling or relevant (improving the local business community)
Sells the unique, welcoming personality of the company (having as much fun as possible)
Building a Brand Story
With that employer mission statement in place, the next step is to create your brand narrative. By creating a strong mission statement, you’ve actually done a lot of the conceptual groundwork already!
Your employer brand story should take your mission and values and build them out in a way that communicates the world you’re working to create and the methods and mindsets you’re using to get there.
A strong brand story needs to:
Make the talent you’re looking for say “This really speaks to me!”
Identify what kind of mindsets, approaches, and skills you really value
Communicate how your employees, partners, and customers are on a journey together
Leave people wanting to be part of that story themselves
Articulating the Benefits Your Offer
This is one of the critical areas of employer branding that many organizations miss the mark on. You offer employees a salary, healthcare benefits, and a 401k, and believe that should be sufficient, right? The truth is, that’s just the beginning.
In order to fully realize your employer brand identity, you need to find the words to explain what a powerful, valuable experience it is to work for you. You need to ask yourself:
How and why is daily life great for your employees?
How do you help people feel good about the work they do?
How do you ensure your employees feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves?
How do you provide just, fair performance management practices that help great workers thrive and build healthy motivation?
How do you maintain a positive community in our office?
How do we provide support for our team members in times of personal need?
How do you offer employee benefits that make a strong impact in employee’s lives and help them be happier and healthier?
Those questions are really just a jumping-off point, and as you answer them, you will likely stumble upon new questions and new ways of looking at the value and opportunity of your employer brand.
With a strong understanding of the benefits your brand offers, you can immediately strengthen your recruitment and talent attraction efforts.
Framing Core Values
So far, we’ve talked about ideas that you put out into the world: a statement about your goals, a story about your mission, a description of why you’re a great employer; core values, on the other hand, are ideas that must be pushed inward, into the tissue and lifeblood of what you do.
Your values are the things you stand for as employer; things like:
The goal with identifying core values isn’t to show off how forward-thinking you are as an organization. It’s to create a framework for your own accountability. Once values are in place, you need to think about how you will ensure your values are lived every day, both from an over-arching corporate perspective and in terms of person-to-person interactions between or among your team members.
When your values are in place and it’s evident what you’re doing to make them real in the world, you look like a strong, thoughtful organization and employer.
Living Your Brand
All the recommendations above are designed to help you transform your approach to employer branding to resonate and engage top talent in new ways. Through self-knowledge and careful articulation, you can put your best foot forward as a hiring entity and organization.
With that said, the amount of ROI you see on your employer branding initiative is directly related to the effort level you put into making the work real and the honesty with which you present yourselves and engage with talent.
When you articulate corporate values but don’t honor them, it actually hurts your reputation as an employer. When you have a great brand story but it’s just words on a page, your brand doesn’t stand for or represent anything real – it’s just a house of cards that’s doomed to fall at some point.
Once you thoughtfully envision an employer brand, articulate your mission, values, and goals, and put all your effort into making those things real, then you’ll truly be an attractive employer.
How to Learn More
Employer branding is emerging as a top priority for all HR departments and hiring leaders across businesses. In the ultra-competitive talent market, landing the impactful superstars you need to continue growing and innovating requires a powerful, clear employer brand and a dedication toward pushing that brand out into the world while maintaining the internal accountability that makes it real.
If you’re an HR or business leader planning or leading an employee branding effort, Launchways’ Employer Branding Toolkit is a centralized resource designed to help you audit, address, and improve every aspect of your employer brand strategy, including:
How to craft values that aid recruitment and foster a positive culture
How to communicate the value you offer employees in a way that goes beyond salary and benefits
How to manage your website and social media presence in a way that communicates and reinforces your employer branding efforts
How to create an effective hiring process that reflects and strengthens your brand over time
How to refine your interview process with an eye towards landing great talent and leveraging your brand as a selling point
How to onboard in a way that reinforces your brand values, culture goals, etc.
Just about every company these days has a mission, vision,
and set of core values. But all too often, these documents are reviewed once a
year by leadership then filed back away in a drawer. In these cases, they
remain hollow ideals rather than a reality of life at the company. Sometimes
this happens because the company followed the trend without really knowing what
it meant. Other times, businesses want to live their values, they just don’t
know how to realize their values in their business goals and day-to-day
Through our role as HR and benefits consultants, we’ve
gotten to know hundreds of companies over the years who struggle with this exact
challenge. And we’ve had the chance to guide them through the process of
integrating their values into everything that they do, particularly by crafting
values-driven benefits packages and human resources processes.
We’ve seen what works, and we’ve also seen what doesn’t. And
we have also seen how businesses transform and grow when they start realizing
their values in their day-to-day work.
This is one of the best things about being part of the
Launchways team. We’ve taken the lessons we’ve learned from working with our
clients to heart and live our values every day, in every way.
Our values shape who we are as team members, collaborators,
and consultants. They fuel our personal growth and make us invested in the
success of our coworkers, our company, and our clients. And we get the chance
to help our clients live their values and build more productive, engaging, and
Let’s take a look at what it means to live our values at
The Launchways Core Values
How We Make Our Values a Reality of Life at
We’re a community-minded team. We’re always looking for new
ways to support members of our Launchways community while also engaging with
the greater Chicago community.
How We Make Our Values a Reality of Life at Launchways
A values-driven workplace starts from the bottom-up. No
amount of cajoling from the C-Suite can make a company’s values a reality.
Every employee has to buy into the values and make them an intentional part of
how they interact with their work, their coworkers, and their clients. Only
then will a company’s values become a driving force in the company culture.
That said, there is a lot that a company’s leadership can do
to get employees to take ownership of company values. Unsurprisingly, with over
fifteen years of experience consulting with thousands of businesses, Jim knows
a thing or two about how to build a values-driven organization. And he built
Launchways around our core values from the ground up. Every process is shaped
with the company’s values in mind – how and who we hire, how we run our
meetings and share feedback, how we talk to each other across every level of
the Launchways team, and how we are encouraged to grow and advance within the
And it’s worked. Our values are an integral part of what we
do and how we do it. They help us treat each other with honesty and integrity,
encouraging us to be our best and most authentic selves, to genuinely care
about our fellow team members, and to be deeply invested in our clients’
It makes all the difference in the world to go into the
office every day and work alongside friends and peers towards common goals with
a shared vision, mutual respect, and open communication.
Values-Driven Customer Relationships
At Launchways, we know that we do best when our customers
thrive. And our values define every aspect of our relationships with our
customers. We become an extension of our clients’ teams, as invested in their
success as we are in our own.
One of the main expressions of our values-driven approach to
our client relations is our consultative sales model. Essentially, we provide
our clients with solutions rather than products. We never go into a client relationship
with the plan to “sell them” on specific products. Instead, we identify their
needs first and then find the HR technology, benefits, and business insurance
solutions that meet those needs and that help our clients accomplish their business
At Launchways, “out-of-the-box” packages are out of the
question, and it would be anathema to us to suggest that a client adopt a
product if it isn’t the absolute best solution for their business.
This approach doesn’t just deliver better results for our
clients, it also makes our work a lot more rewarding and engaging. We approach
each new client with a fresh perspective, using our skills and experience to
develop unique solutions and solve their specific challenges.
In short, we get to be strategic problem-solvers rather than
succumbing to the uncaring monotony of the hard-sell.
Helping Our Clients Live Their Values
A significant part of living your values is making sure that
the way you treat your employees aligns with your company’s core values. That
means that your benefits and human resources processes need to be aligned with
In our role as benefits and HR consultants, we get to help
our clients align their people-processes with their values. For example, we’ve
helped companies who value employee safety overhaul their workplace safety
practices and we’ve helped companies who value diversity and inclusion
implement more inclusive benefits packages.
Even after we’ve implemented the initial values-oriented
solutions, we continue to help our clients live their values over the long run.
Because we deliver scalable solutions, we build long-term relationships with
our clients. Our clients regularly turn to us as they face different business
or human resources challenges, and we guide them towards the strategies and
solutions that will keep them faithful to their core values.
This is a unique aspect of our client problem-solving that
goes beyond reducing their costs, expanding their benefits, or streamlining
their processes. We don’t just get to help our clients succeed – we empower
them to make sure their employees succeed as well.
If there’s anything we’ve learned from our years of guiding
businesses through the process of maximizing their human potential, it’s the
importance of company values. That is why we live our values in every aspect of
how we work and do business at Launchways. Here’s what living our values looks
like at Launchways:
Putting our values at the center of everything
Developing relationships with our coworkers and
clients that are based on trust and honesty
Delivering meaningful solutions for our clients
through a consultative sales process
Helping our clients live their values by
aligning their benefits and HR processes with their company values
Here at Launchways, we take our core values very
seriously. They aren’t a list of aspirational ideals that we wrote
up on a wall. For us, they really are the soul of our company and are at the
heart everything that we do. This is largely because our team members own the
values as much as company leadership does. We take the time to review the
values every year and allow our employees to shape the values and hold
leadership accountable to live up to the values.
One of our most important values is the idea that Launchways
is driven on an individual, team, and company-wide level. We aren’t content to
just show up and do the minimum. We’re determined to win big for our clients,
our team members, and for ourselves too. This sense of drive has ripple-effects
throughout our organization. It is a cornerstone of our vibrant company culture
and employee community and the foundation for our innovative people-focused solutions.
Without our drive, we wouldn’t be able to fully live our other core values.
So what does being driven look like as an employee at
Launchways and how does it set our experience apart from working at other professional
service firms? In today’s post, we’ll cover how we:
Own our work and are dedicated to professional development
Fuel collaboration through shared purpose
Foster mutual trust and a sense of community
Respect each other’s intentions, empowering diversity and growth
Owning Your Work and Professional Development
One of the most significant impacts of living our “Driven”
value is the extent to which it allows us to own our work and development as a
person and as a professional. We don’t do what we do because someone higher in
the organization tells us to. We don’t do it to impress our coworkers. Rather,
our drive comes from within and is nurtured by our peers who value the same.
That might sound a little idealistic but it really boils
down to the Launchways principle of putting the right people in the right
seats. We carefully vet potential employees so that our team is made up of
similarly driven and dedicated individuals across all departments. And we know
that no one is going to be good at everything – but that everyone is good at
their own areas of expertise. So we take the time to identify aptitudes and put
people in the roles that let them take advantage of their skills. And our
employees have a unique amount of leeway to shape their roles to suit their
personalities, work styles, values, and talents so they can do and be their
Because we get to work on what we’re passionate about and
good at, it’s much easier to build and maintain our drive. There is so much
room to grow within the organization that there is no limit to our ability to
grow ourselves and our careers as we work on many different types of projects
to serve unique client needs. As our Senior HR Consultant Christine Lewis put
“Something that is really unique about working at Launchways is the ability that each of us has to explore different areas in our career and participate in projects that we would not be able to at another company. Our roles are not very siloed so we get to work with many different teams. Tackling HR issues in so many different environments has allowed me to grow my career much faster than I could working in-house.”
It also means that we get to take ownership of our projects.
We feel comfortable and encouraged to come forward with ideas for projects or
solutions and we help each other realize those ideas. Our mutual drive allows
us to have more control over our work and a greater impact on the results we deliver
for our clients. Our driven team is the key to Launchways’ innovative
Fueling Collaboration Through Shared Purpose
At Launchways, we’re not just driven on an individual level.
There’s a sense of energy as soon as you walk through the doors and become immersed
in the team environment. We’re each passionate about our own projects but we
also get to work together to realize the goals on an individual, departmental,
company, and client level.
This mutual drive gives us a sense of shared purpose. And
because we openly acknowledge our different strengths and backgrounds, we can
easily reach out to coworkers to fill in any gaps we might have and deliver our
solutions to the client. There’s no foot-dragging or complaining about
diverting resources from other projects – people are happy to get involved and
help each other succeed. One of our Client Success Advocates, Hannah, said it
best when she told us,
The team atmosphere is my favorite part of working at Launchways. There is always a sense of support and there is a lot of trust. You can really trust your teammates to back you up and we are all in it together. It makes me feel really safe, capable, and ready to be myself.
Earning Trust and Respect to Foster Community
At Launchways, we all have a shared passion for always doing
what’s best for our clients while growing and learning new things.
And no one questions each other’s dedication. We know how much our work means
to every single person on the team and how hard we all work to make great
things happen for our company and our clients.
And when you get so many passionate people together in an
office and give them the resources they need to take ownership of their work
and do what they know how to do best, something truly remarkable happens. You
don’t just build a company culture. You create a community.
Our mutual drive creates the kind of genuine trust and
respect that is necessary for deeper connections and an organic community. All
of the realizations and benefits of our “Driven” value we’ve covered so far add
up to make Launchways a special place to work. Launchways is where people are
comfortable sharing their true selves and appreciate each other for who we
really are. And this environment isn’t just individually rewarding, it also
gives us the space to forge meaningful relationships. As our long-time team
member Maribel Espinoza says,
“Everyone here gets along so well that I call it my second family. Coming to work with great people in a great atmosphere makes my work even more rewarding.”
Respecting Intentions Empowers Diversity and Growth
Working in an environment in which every person is driven
and passionate about their work allows us to avoid many of the kinds of
miscommunications that can derail teamwork, growth, and innovation. Because it
creates the trust and respect that allows for community, it also lets us have
full trust in each other’s intentions. This means that we listen to each other
seriously without taking anything personally: enabling us to realize one of our
other core values of being “thoughtfully candid.”
Once you trust your coworkers’ intentions implicitly, you
open up a whole new world of possibilities for productive collaboration and
personal growth. Everyone is comfortable to be themselves and share their
genuine opinions and perspectives even if, and sometimes especially if, they
differ or conflict with those of others. Having so many diverse perspectives at
the table allows us to think outside of the box and truly innovate as a team
and as a company. It fuels our individual and mutual drives and allows us to
push each other to help us do and be our best. All without causing hard
And this diversity, equality, and willingness to push each
other applies at all levels of the organization. Our CEO, Jim Taylor, had this
to say about how our team drives his work:
“What I like about the Launchways team is that, simply put: they’re good at what they do. They make me driven because they hold me responsible to be the best I can be and there is a level of mutual respect that exists that has taken me to a place that I have not been before in my career. We’re not afraid to disagree on things and know that these different opinions will take us to the best possible place. And our relationships are authentic and rewarding, so we don’t take disagreements personally.”
Here are some of the key takeaways of what being driven
means for us at Launchways:
We own our work and our professional development, which makes it easy to be passionate about what we do
Our mutual drive helps us work together to accomplish goals on an individual, team, and company-wide level
Common purpose and dedication to our work does more than facilitate productive collaboration: it builds vibrant and meaningful community
With everyone sharing the same sense of drive and purpose, we trust each other’s intentions, which lets us share our diverse opinions to maximize our outcomes and growth
The truth is that the core value of being Driven defines who
we are and what we do at Launchways. It makes our office somewhere that is full
of passionate, dedicated individuals who are hell-bent on being successful and
really making a difference in the work that they do. And it builds a community
based on trust, respect, and deep relationships.
One of Launchways’ core values is to be a Community-Builder.
Our team is community-minded and constantly looking for new opportunities to
foster a richer community within Launchways and in the Chicago ecosystem. This
common vision of bridge-building helps us form stronger bonds with our
coworkers and more productive partnerships with other businesses in the greater
We approach our role as community-builder in two fundamental
Fostering the Launchways community
Building a community outside our office walls
Fostering Community at Launchways
Why We Believe in Building a Launchways Community
In our mission to help our clients build thriving teams of
top talent, we often address the topic of how to create a vibrant, engaging
company culture. But within our organization, we believe in taking it a step
further and creating not just a culture but a community.
Companies have a culture, whether they take steps to shape
it or not. Letting it lie fallow can cause that culture to become toxic, and
tending to it can help engage team members and make work more meaningful. A
company community cannot exist without consistent and dedicated work by company
leadership and every single team member. The risk of not putting in this work
is not a toxic community, but the lack of any sense community at all. People
will still come into the office, log their hours, and go home. But they won’t
care about their cubicle-mates or see their work as helping themselves, their
coworkers, and their company succeed. Simply put, they’re employees, not team
For that to happen, companies have to foster a community in
which everyone is invested in helping everyone else grow, succeed, and pursue
what matters most to them.
How We Foster Community at Launchways
We know that as an employer, you need to create
organizational structures that will become the foundations of an organic and
employee-owned community. So, we have implemented several systems at Launchways
that help fuel our community and allow it to take on a life of its own. Each
step seems simple and inconsequential on the surface but, added together, they
completely transform how we interact with and think about each other as teammates.
Meetings are the main formalized touch-points that employees
have with each other and with the company as a whole, so we have focused our
efforts on creating community-minded meetings. We start each week with an
all-hands-on-deck meeting where each team member discusses their number-one
project for the week and any roadblocks they need help on. These meetings allow
us to see what everyone is working on, celebrate their accomplishments, and
seize opportunities to help each other whenever possible.
Another large part of a community is having a sense of
working together for a common goal that everyone shares. As we advise our
clients, we have integrated our values, mission, and vision into every policy
and process in our organization so our team members can become their stewards.
But we also hold quarterly all-company meetings to review our goals and
progress towards those goals together as a company. These meetings drive home
the reality that we are all working together to accomplish the same goals.
Beyond meetings, “shout-outs” are a core part of the
Launchways community. Front-and-center in our office is our “Shout-Out Board”
where we can recognize our coworkers on a daily basis for doing an awesome job
and representing our core values. We also share highlights from the Shout-Out
Board at our Monday all-hands-on-deck meetings so that we can celebrate each
other’s accomplishments together. You would be surprised at how much a whiteboard
builds a supportive and engaged community.
Stepping Outside Launchways: Fostering the Chicago Business Community
Launchways is constantly forming new partnerships with
businesses and organizations in the broader Chicago ecosystem so that we can
engage business leaders in a strong community. Some of our key business partners
have included Hyde Park Angels, FinTEx, and the Illinois Technology
Over the past year, we have worked with our business
partners and organizations like FinTEx and ITA to host educational events for
business and HR leaders in Chicago and the whole of Illinois. Just this
October, we brought together five business leaders and HR experts for a panel
discussion on tackling key diversity and inclusion challenges at our D&I
Summit. We welcomed over 60 HR professionals for a complimentary dinner and
open bar, which certainly got folks networking and community building. And the
panel delivered an incredibly comprehensive look at D&I strategies for
businesses going into the 2020s.
We also worked with our business partners to host a CFO
breakfast that brought growth-minded financial leaders from around Chicago
together to learn new actionable strategies to take back to their business,
especially around the increasing role that CFOs play in their company’s HR
strategy. And on the other side of the same conversation, we partnered with ITA
to host an “HR Now” summit for HR leaders to help them form stronger
collaborations with their finance counterparts.
Beyond hosting events, Launchways also partners with other
businesses and vendors to provide additional resources and value for our
clients. This isn’t just the right thing to do to help our client community and
form the best relationships we can with them, it is also a great way to create
a symbiotic community of businesses in related industries, all working together
to meet the whole range of companies’ HR and benefits needs.
Launchways takes its role as a community-builder very seriously
because we know that being part of a genuine community makes work more
meaningful and rewarding and that every company has the responsibility to help
build and uplift their local business community. This core value impacts just
about every aspect of how we work and do business at Launchways. These community-building
initiatives contribute significantly to our community-building efforts,
Leveraging weekly and quarterly meetings as community-building touch-points through open communication and judgment-free discussion of projects, challenges, and successes
Publicly celebrating coworker accomplishments on a daily and weekly basis
Hosting events for business leaders in our ecosystem
Partnering with businesses and vendors to bring our clients the best range of services possible
If working in a community sounds as good to you as it does
to us, we would love to welcome you to our team. Check out current openings and
get started with your Launchways journey by heading over to our Careers Page!
At Launchways, we know that what makes us different is what
makes us strong and that our team members thrive when they can be and share
their full, authentic selves at work. Supporting and encouraging each of our
team members as whole people, not just as productive employees, is one of our
top priorities and fundamental values. We think it’s not just the right thing
to do, but also the best way of creating a positive work environment and a
So what does living this principle look like at Launchways,
and what effects does it have on our work? Here are some of the key points I’ll
The reasons behind our approach and how it fuels our creativity
Authentic communication between Launchways employees
Work styles as unique as our team members
Why We Value the Individual at Launchways
Many companies are talking about diversity and inclusion
nowadays and language about inclusion is making its way into more business’
value statements and employee handbooks. But how many employers put these words
into action and do everything they can to support each employee and what makes
At Launchways, we understand the struggles that companies
face tackling D&I and building a thriving, productive team. We’ve seen first-hand
what works and what doesn’t. We know that divisions and conformity are toxic to
a company’s culture and that businesses do better when they make sure that
every single employee feels comfortable to be themselves without fear of being
judged or penalized. We know that helping your employees succeed is the best
way to make your business succeed, and that means supporting their growth and
fulfillment in all aspects of their lives and all facets of their
Now, we know that saying we want all of our employees to
feel comfortable and encouraged to be their 100% authentic selves may sound cliché.
But living this value every day and in every aspect of our business makes an enormous
difference for our team members, our culture, our clients, and our bottom-line.
Communication is clear, morale is high, and we all work together to build up
ourselves, each other, and Launchways.
From an employer perspective, this approach makes good
business sense. Having diverse voices at the table is a surefire way to develop
more successful strategies and initiatives. Studies show that greater gender
and racial diversity leads to increased
profitability and value creation. But to see the business results of
your gender, racial, sexual, and culturally diverse team, you have to create a
safe space where every employee is free to be and express themselves. When
people are comfortable being themselves, they bring their whole selves to work
and share their unique perspectives that can result in innovative solutions.
And bringing your whole self to work doesn’t just increase
your value as an employee: it also results in a positive workplace and culture
that is as vibrant as its members. Who wants to work somewhere that you can’t
be yourself? A culture of lived openness invites the human back into business.
We can genuinely communicate and build richer, more valuable connections with
each other and with our partners and clients. At Launchways, our dedication to
openness and authenticity is what makes our jobs so meaningful and makes going
into work every day worthwhile and enjoyable.
How Launchways Encourages Employees to Share Their Authentic Selves
Simply put: just saying that you value something won’t make
it a reality at your business. That is why at Launchways, we have taken
concrete steps to shape our practices and policies around the value of making
our employees feel comfortable sharing their authentic selves.
Communication is the key to encouraging our team members to
share their authentic selves at work. After all, communication is how we
express ourselves and our perspectives and if an employer does not support open
and individualized communication, they won’t be able to foster a truly
At Launchways, we go out of our way to acknowledge and
encourage different communication styles. Our team members value intent rather
than presentation, which prevents plenty of common office misunderstanding and
interpersonal drama. If someone tells it like it is, we acknowledge and support
that without taking it as a personal attack. And if someone has a hard time
voicing their opinions, we recognize that as well and try to amplify their
voice and pick up on the messages they are sending. Now, there are still
standards regarding acceptable and unacceptable behavior, but we work hard to
acknowledge a wide range of communication styles.
This philosophy goes hand-in-hand with another of our core values,
candid. We don’t just believe in personalized communication, we also
support open and honest communication and feedback: being candid. But we also
stand for keeping the humanity and feelings of our coworkers in mind, being
thoughtfully honest rather than brutally honest and always speaking from a
place of trust.
It’s just as important to us that our team members are
comfortable sharing their needs and struggles. We want to know the difficulties
that our employees are facing and make every reasonable accommodation possible.
We understand that our team members will be more productive if they are
comfortable speaking up when they need help personally or professionally. We
don’t want people blustering and covering up the fact that they are having
difficulty on a project: we want them to step up and get the resources they
need to get the job done. So we always encourage our team members to be
comfortable telling their managers when they are going through a tough time,
having a family emergency, or need additional help/support in the office or
outside of it.
Work Styles as Unique as Our Team Members
At Launchways, we have implemented two main principles
regarding our work that help our team members thrive as their authentic selves.
The first is that we get to work how we feel most
productive. We have an enormous amount of flexibility regarding when, where,
and how we work. While it’s important to have face-to-face interactions and
meetings, we have flexibility determining our daily work hours so long as we’re
getting the job done. And we can work from home when necessary: whether it’s because
our kids are sick or because we just need to take a break from the office chatter
to be our most productive selves.
The second principle is that we get to work on what most
interests us. Launchways provides our team members the opportunity to pursue interests
and passions. That means that if any of us has an idea for a project or
initiative that we care about and think will contribute to the Launchways
mission, we get the space and resources we need to make it a reality. You’d be
surprised how many game-changing strategies develop when all team members are
free to exercise their creativity.
At Launchways, our workplace environment, culture, and
communication styles are all designed to allow us to share 100% of our true,
authentic selves. This freedom has an impactful ripple-effect throughout all
aspects of life and work at Launchways and makes us a better, more successful
company. As we’ve explored, for us, the dedication to supporting employees’
whole selves means:
Our team members can grow and succeed as individuals, which helps our team and company succeed in turn
Employees share their unique perspectives, generating diverse conversations and innovative solutions
Everyone can communicate in their own way without causing misunderstandings
We can be open about our challenges and get the support we need
We work how we want, on what we’re passionate about
We think that our way of doing things is pretty great. We go
into work every day to collaborate with our friends and fellow humans, forging
deeper connections and producing unique solutions that we get to own as ours.
If you’re interested in joining the Launchways team, view
our current openings here.
For many growing businesses, employer branding may not be a top priority. But, it’s important to remember that your employees are your business’ number one resource. Your ability to attract and retain high-performers has a big impact on your bottomline. On top of this, a strong employer brand can reduce the high costs associated with recruiting and hiring by bringing more organic interest to your job openings. In fact, companies with strong employer brands enjoy 28% lower turnover rates, which presents an enormous cost-savings.
Many business owners have the misconception that you need huge name recognition and a large budget to build an employer brand. However, small fast-growing businesses have several advantages when it comes to employer branding. As a growing business, you’re more agile and flexible, so you can get more inventive with your employer branding tactics. Additionally, it’s important to remember you don’t need a large budget (or any budget) to get started with employer branding today.
In today’s post I’ll explore what it means to have a strong employer brand and how to use several no-to-low cost employer branding strategies including:
Improving your website career page
Leveraging social media
Taking a more strategic approach to your employee benefits package
Developing a more thoughtful hiring and onboarding process
By the time you’re done with this post you’ll walk away with a strong understanding of the building blocks that make up employer branding and a plan for several actionable tactics to begin improving your employer brand without increasing your budget.
What is an employer brand?
Your employer brand is your reputation as an employer and the value proposition you provide your employees. Your company mission, team, culture, and values make up your employer brand. An effective employer brand positions your company as a great place to work, which results in attracting and retaining top talent. Typically, the responsibility of the employer brand falls into the realm of HR, internal communications, and marketing. However, senior leadership plays a key role in shaping the employer brand.
As Jeff Bezos said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” In this sense, your employer brand is very similar. It’s what your employees say about your company when their friends ask what it’s like working there. It’s a culmination of everything being said about your company including:
Employer review sites
Word of mouth
Why is your employer brand important?
Investing in your employer brand presents several benefits including:
Attracting top talent
Developing a better sense of camaraderie in your team
Improving your customer’s perception of your brand
Increased application rates, resulting in a wide pool of talent to choose from
Making your company stand out in a crowded candidate-driven job market
Differentiate your company from competitors
The graph below demonstrates how prioritizing employer branding is becoming increasingly important for CEOs of growing businesses.
Managing Your Employer Brand Online
In this section I’ll outline all the places your employer brand lives online and provide some tips on how you can improve in each of these areas.
Social media sites are not just for engaging with customers—they’re also key for building your employer brand. In today’s Millennial-dominant workforce, many job seekers will look at a company’s social media feeds prior to applying to get a feel for the company’s personality and culture. If you’re not leveraging social media to humanize your brand—you’re missing out on a key opportunity.
Some of the easiest ways to begin using social media to build your employer brand include sharing photos of your team or sharing updates about your team’s activities. For example, why not mention your recent happy hour celebration in a Tweet? Or if several of your teammates attend a local conference, make sure someone takes a photo and shares it on your company Facebook page.
Career sites remain the top place job-seekers turn to discover new opportunities. You should be taking steps to manage and optimize your employer presence on these sites. The key players in this space include: LinkedIn, Glassdoor, CareerBuilder, and Indeed. Most of these sites offer a free employer profile which allows you to upload your logo, company description, and overview of company culture. Make sure your profiles on these sites are complete and up-to-date.
These sites are crucial because they allow employees to leave candid reviews of their experiences with employers. These reviews carry an enormous influence on your employer brand, with research by Edelman indicating that job seekers trust feedback from employees over the word of a CEO. Ensure you are monitoring, managing, and addressing the feedback received on these key career sites.
You should be using active job postings as an opportunity to strength your employer brand. A good job posting goes beyond explaining the job parameters to “sell” your company to prospective applicants. Here are some key factors you can include in your job postings:
Key company growth metrics/achievements
Overview of employee benefits offered
Why the company culture is unique
Opportunities for career progression/growth with the company
Your Website’s Career Page
Your website’s career page is the central hub of your employer brand. It’s your chance to share, in-depth, the unique company culture you’ve created and what it affords potential applicants. First, you should make sure that you have dedicated space on your website for a robust career page. Next, you should strive to optimize this page. We’ll cover this process more in-depth in the next section.
As with any branding efforts, consistency is key. You must ensure that you’re presenting a consistent message and clear employer value proposition across these key digital channels.
Optimizing Your Website’s Career Page
Your website’s career page is your best channel to communicate and drive forward your employer brand. As mentioned, it’s essential to have dedicated space on your website for a careers page. Here are some key elements to include on your careers page:
Key growth metrics/company achievements. If your company is experiencing significant growth year over year, highlight this on your career page. Similarly, if you’re on the Inc 5000 or have been highlighted in local press, these are great things to include too.
Real employee stories. Highlight quotes from top-performing employees that have experienced significant career growth at your company.
An overview of benefits you provide. Highlight, at a high level, all the value-adds you provide employees. These benefits can range anywhere from the “core” benefits you provide (health insurance, 401k, flexible hours, etc.) to add-ons (gourmet coffee, catered lunch on Fridays, monthly massages, etc.).
Your company’s core values. Your values are the heart and soul of your employer brand. It’s how your employee experience your company and realize their fit at the organization. Highlight each of your core values and what each one means to your employees.
Include real photos of your team. When it comes to your career page, generic stock photos won’t do. Make sure to include a few high-resolution photos of your team.
To give you some perspective, here are some examples of stellar career pages:
How to Leverage a Strategic Employee Benefits Package to Improve Your Employer Brand
The benefits you offer your team are core to your employer brand. If you haven’t taken the time to think about a strategy around employee benefits—you’re neglecting an opportunity to drive forward your employer brand. When it comes to benefits, you should aim to build a strategic benefits package that helps your organization become an employer of choice and attract top talent. Here’s a quick overview of the types of benefits you might opt to include in your plan:
Student loan reimbursement
Massages, yoga classes, gym discounts or other wellness activities
As you can see, no matter what your benefits budget is, there are several high-value benefits you can implement at a low cost. The key to any high-impact benefits program is to have a clear strategy around it. The best way to do this is to understand your workforce. The benefits you offer must be in-line with the benefits your employees (and job candidates) want from an employer.
If you tailor your benefits package to your ideal workforce, it becomes a useful tool in driving forward your employer brand.
Building a Thoughtful Recruiting and Onboarding Process
Many employers underestimate the importance of a job-seeker’s application experience in the overall perception of the employer brand. In reality, every interaction a candidate has with your company from job postings, to the application interface, to your follow-up, to the interview process, has a significant impact on their perception of your employer brand.
For example, a job posting may peak a candidate’s interest, but if the job application software you use is clunky or confusing, they may abandon it entirely. If a candidate reviews your career site, social media, and core values but then doesn’t experience a smooth, respectful interview process to match it—they will not realize your employer brand. If a new-hire spends their entire first day filling out paperwork, you’ve just lost an enormous opportunity to drive forward your employer brand.
For these reasons, it’s essential your hiring and onboarding process are inline with the employer brand you’re crafting. Here are some tips:
Ensure your job application process is simple
Document a timeline of how all applicants should be responded to and what information they should receive
Craft an interview process that’s thoughtful, high-impact, and respectful to the candidate
Ensure all interviewers are well-versed in the company’s core values and comprehensive benefits offerings
Leverage new-hire onboarding technology that completes all necessary paperwork prior to your new team member’s first day—so you can start the relationship off on the right foot
Consider implementing HR all-in-one technology which delivers a smooth user experience from application all the way through onboarding
In today’s post we explored why it’s important to invest in your employer brand and discovered several low-cost strategies to do this. Here are some key take-aways:
Your employer brand is a candidate’s perception of what it would be like to work at your company
A strong employer brand can help you attract top talent, reduce hiring and turnover costs, and build a more effective workforce
Your company mission, core values, and employee benefits are key to your employer brand
Ensuring a positive, consistent message across online channels is important to a strong employer brand
A strategic approach to employee benefits will help drive forward your employer brand
A thoughtful hiring and onboarding process is key to the realization of your employer brand
How do you prioritize strengthening your employer brand? Did any of the tactics outlined in this post stand out to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts—just drop them in the comments box below!