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Posted on June 13, 2022
Did you know more than 80 percent of workers wouldn’t apply to or continue to work for a company with a bad reputation? That is why it is critically important for any company to understand its talent brand. Talent branding is a long-term strategy that conveys the values and characteristics that define your organization’s culture, and how that makes your employees feel. Now more than ever, if you incorporate talent brand strategy into your DEI programs, it will promote commitment and pride in belonging to your company’s workforce, which is directly relates to a company’s reputation and performance, and its ability to attract and retain talent. In fact, nearly 50% active job seekers say company culture is a driving motivator when looking for work.
Branding as a key marketing strategy shapes how a product or service makes a consumer feel. Businesses invest a whole lot of time, energy, and money in marketing strategies in order to attract and retain their clients or customers. Companies spend a lot of resources to conduct market research, collect and crunch data that tells them how to do this best. However, emerging research reveals that most companies do not invest nearly the same amount on understanding their own employee experience, even though building a diverse workforce has become a key business prerogative. But, making profound shifts in the makeup of a workforce cannot be achieved overnight. There is also no one-size-fits-all approach to achieving a diverse workplace, but one key strategy is to examine how your current workforce feels. Yes, feels.
Growing up, my late mother would always to say to me –“Punam, it doesn’t matter what you say to the people around you, what they will remember is what you do, and how that made them feel!” Words I try to live by even today.
And, now this is my number one advice to my clients.
When it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs, it really doesn’t matter what a business says either in their handbook, on their website, or as part of their DEI mission statement—what matters most is—their actions. By that I mean, what steps has a business taken to promote diversity, foster an inclusive workplace where an employee feels like they belong? The specific actions that a business takes will either make their employees or potential candidates feel good or bad or worst of all, nothing. That “feeling” is what an employee or potential candidate will remember. And, more importantly, that feeling is what they will communicate or “market” to the world.
The key driver to for talent branding is the concept of belonging. If your workers feel like they belong, companies reap substantial bottom-line benefits. Employees who feel a higher sense of belonging at their workplace showed a 167% increase in their “employer promoter score” (their willingness to recommend their company to others). Additionally, employees who feel their workplace is inclusive show 56% increase in job performance, a 50% drop in turnover risk, and a 75% reduction in sick days. For a 10,000-person company, this would result in annual savings of more than $52M.
Research shows that when an employer does this right, it provides tangible and strategic benefits such as allowing the business to expand into new markets, cultivate new avenues of doing business, attract better talent or clients, and achieve higher profitability. Therefore, DEI programs must be a part of your talent brand and embedded into every aspect of the company’s vision, strategy, and most importantly experience.
I started to think about this when I recently read a consumer survey in connection to brands and social justice or diversity programs. It reported that 50% of those surveyed believe brands should publicly speak out against social injustice and systemic racism; and brands that are perceived (code for making you feel) as addressing racial issues well are three times more trusted than those that aren’t.
This notion is re-affirmed in the 2020 study published by McKinsey, “Diversity wins: How inclusion matters.” That study also concluded that companies that adopt systematic, business-led approaches to diversity and inclusion along with bold action on inclusion reflected a wider increase in not only profitability to their counterparts, but a higher retention rate of their employees and a better overall employee experience. More importantly, women and minority groups are key consumer decision makers. That means if they feel good about the company they work for, they will “consume” and promote its product or service.
Look I know, it is challenging to create a workplace that is led by inclusive leadership and accountability among management as well as openness and freedom from bias and discrimination. It is really hard to cultivate this. But it is also imperative to aspire toward this outcome in today’s socially conscious, globally driven business world. Your employees are your number one asset, and also your best tool to create positive brand recognition. They not only work hard to meet the mission of the organization, but they are your marketing ambassadors to the world at large. And, if you create a talent brand that allows your current employees to feel seen and heard, that not only will allow you to attract the best and brightest diverse candidates, but also retain them.
Incorporating a “talent brand” strategy to your DEI programming will directly translate to positive employee experience, lower attrition, better productivity, innovation, and increased profitability. Research also shows that a diverse workforce helps companies react more effectively to market shifts and new customer needs, key drivers in today’s evolving marketplace. All in all – talent branding is a win-win strategy.
Punam Rogers is an attorney at Constangy. Punam’s practice focuses on Business Immigration law and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. On the immigration front, Punam works with U.S. employers of all sizes, from start-up to large multi-national organizations, seeking to hire non-resident foreign professionals who need to obtain temporary or permanent immigration status in the U.S., as well as visas in countries around the world for their global workforce. Her clients are from a wide range of industries and activities, including: health care, information technology, telecommunications, biotechnology, electronic component technology, insurance, financial and management consulting, think-tanks, hospitality, general manufacturing, non-profits and education.