HR-branding: how to create a company that attracts candidates

A talk on HR branding usually comes down to events, hackathons, and posts with the photos of smiling employees in a stylish office. Recruiters and HR managers dream to pimp a company brand and attract candidates investing less time, efforts, and money. However, before you start promoting, understand what the employer brand consists of.

We have prepared several theses about it.

First of all, the company brand is shaped by the opinions of former, present, and future employees.

Let's start with the former.

Always try to keep good relations. Even if an employee decided to resign, do not cut all ties with them. It is quite possible that in the future you might work together again. That's why Microsoft, Yahoo, and Nokia, for example, create alumni groups for their "graduates" on social networks. This way, they can keep the communication going, stay in touch, and occasionally rehire or get some good recommendations for their vacancies.

Have an informal exit-interview with the ex-colleague, have a friendly chat without a questionnaire. Discuss their impressions about work in the company, what they loved about it, and what you need to improve. Also, don't forget to ask them to leave feedback at DOU or Glassdoor about your cooperation. Honest feedback of the former employees is more trustworthy than a polished one from the marketing specialists or recruiting team.

If you dismiss an employee, but you are ready to recommend him, offer to help with a search of the new place. For example, HP and Oracle are actively engaged in outplacement, that is, help the dismissed members find a new job. If the company has no resources for this, leave an opportunity to address you for the recommendation or suggest writing one to their Linkedin profile. 

What can you do for a current employee

Start with the onboarding. It is hard to change or improve the first impression, therefore plan your adaptation process carefully. Several tips:

•    Together with the team, create the list of onboarding activities for a week or even two. This way, you can structurize and accelerate the onboarding process, reduce stress for the newcomer, and help them cope with any confusion. 

•    Send the briefing materials in advance. Usually, almost half of the first working day is spent signing the contracts. It's better to spend this time getting acquainted with the team and settling in the office.

•    Prepare the working place. It is essential to show the new employee that you treat his arrival seriously.

•    Provide information on the project, a product, processes of the company step by step not all at once.

•    Help them integrate. Find the employee who will help the beginner to get into the swing of the work. So, for example, lunches with the team would be quite handy in the first week.

Make important information structured and available

Let them know who is on the team, their position, and responsibilities. Who checks their performance? How often do you have a salary review, and what influences the decision? What opportunities for growth can you offer? Does the company help with the training?

Likely, you discussed some points at an interview, but it is important to tell more regarding the inside processes and whom they can ask regarding any work-related issues. Create a Company Policy with information about your company structure, team structure, motivation, and training scheme.

NB: The Google doc format will only be suitable for a small company. When processes become stable, it's better to have a full-fledged handbook in the form of structured presentations. You can find some inspiration at  Netflix, Trello, Zappos.

When a newcomer has settled, it is worth thinking of periodical one-to-one meetings. Why?

•    To be aware of what is going on with each employee - how they see their progress, performance, how comfortable they are within the team. 

•    Employees do not see a full business picture, and some changes might be confusing. On one-to-one, they will ask the concerning questions, and you will understand the team mood better.

•    It is more comfortable to solve conflicts and disagreements confidentially.

•    Resignations won't come as a surprise.

NB: Sooner or later, you won't have time to keep in touch with everyone. Try to train a team lead in advance or delegate it to your HR team.

Keep the communication simple.

It is crucial for people to understand what happens with the company. How is everything going in the industry and state, how can it influence the business? Why several employees left at once last month? What specialists are you searching for and why? It is essential to answer these questions in time to avoid overthinking and gossips. Therefore:

•    Keep employees updated regarding the state of things in the company. Share important news with the team, so that everyone could ask a question and receive an answer. Use chats in messengers instead of e-mails. It will help you avoid long e-mail threads and data corruption.

•    Have weekly meetings where teams could share their achievements, difficulties, and ideas. This way, all employees will stay informed about business events outside their department. For instance, how successful are the sales, what is the marketing strategy, and what developers are working on.

•    Remain open for communication. An opportunity to contact the CEO directly to ask a question or share an idea shows that your company has a friendly atmosphere and is free from bureaucracy.

Communication with candidates

Honesty. The more honest you are about the tasks, process, and working environment, the more likely it is that the candidate will become your employee and stay for a long time.

Respect. Not each candidate will suit you both on hard and soft skills. It is absolutely normal and often mutual. However, you have no right to treat unfit candidates with contempt. Communicate openly and respectfully no matter if the candidate passes an interview. Also, do not forget about...

Feedback. It is an endless topic to talk about but treat feedback as one of the most important daily routines.

Plan your messages and calls twice a week and save your time. Create templates for the most frequently used rejection letters you send after the first interview. For the candidates who made a test assignment and who communicated with the team prepare more detailed feedback. This way, you will be able to continue your communication in the future.

What can you do for the brand now?

•    Remember your ex-employees: create alumni group to renew communication and find out how you can help each other.

•    Be honest and respectful to all candidates and get into a habit of giving feedback after each stage of an interview.

•    Think of what your newcomers might need. Together with the team plan the first working day and week for the new employee.

•    Consider preparing a company handbook or review it.

•    Start sharing news about what goes on in the state of affairs of your company.

Good luck with your HR-brand! :)

Ira Bolobanova,

VP Team