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June 12, 2018 | General | Posted by Ascentis Thought Leadership

Three Employer Branding Lessons that SMB’s Can Learn from Large Employers

With the national unemployment rate dipping to an 18-year low of 3.8% small to mid-sized businesses want to know how they can make the best and the brightest want to work for them and not their competition? If your organization is an SMB, you likely don’t have the budgets to do some of the social media, print and even television communication that a GE, a McDonalds, or even a Wells Fargo can do. But you can take some of the lessons from successful large businesses employer branding strategies and adapt them for yours.

Learn Employer Branding from Large Employers

Lesson 1: GE - Supporting Women in STEM

GE faced an exciting challenge: find a way to motivate more girls and women to consider careers in the “STEM” (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) disciplines. Importantly, they knew that what would be good for their public image in this effort would also be good for their Recruiting efforts and their employment brand. Their Public Relations campaign to achieve this was near pitch perfect and was spearheaded by a television commercial imagining what it would be like if top women scientists in the US were idolized the way rock stars are. As an example of merging overall corporate branding with employment branding, you just can’t find many better examples.

Lesson 2: McDonald’s – Handling Turnover

Despite annual revenues in the $25 billion range, McDonald’s had a problem: with annual employee turnover in the 44-60% range, unfortunately, the number was even higher among teens, on whom the quick-serve franchiser so relied for staffing, particularly in high season (summer). Estimates of turnover for teens making McDonald’s their first job were upwards of 90%. From a Public Relations standpoint, McDonalds coined the phrase “America’s First Job.” But they still weren’t where they wanted to be from an employment brand perspective. So they “turned up the volume:” “America’s First Job” became “America’s Best First Job” (which they quickly trademarked.) From an employment branding perspective, where else do audiences see commercials which conclude with a list of the elements of their employee benefits program for the world to see?

Lesson 3: Wells Fargo – Reinventing Employer Brand After a Crisis

Over the past several years, Wells Fargo has engaged in a series of fraudulent practices, ranging from opening dummy depository accounts without customers’ knowledge (to achieve “cross-sell quotas”) to forcing customers to purchase unnecessary auto insurance through the bank’s partners. Federal regulators have taken a series of punitive steps, most recently (Feb, 2018) by restricting the bank’s growth beyond its end-of-2017 financial strength and announcing their intention to replace four Wells Fargo Board members with those of the Feds’ choosing. Top executives have been forced to resign and, in some cases, return bonuses of up to $75 million.

Wells Fargo realized that, both from a consumer-branding and an employment branding perspective, they had a crisis on their hands. Since there was no sense in denying or trying to “sugar-coat” any part of this situation, Wells Fargo created a broad PR campaign to tell their new story.

Develop a SMB Employer Branding Strategy

Obviously, most SMBs don’t have anywhere near the marketing budget or team resources that a GE, a McDonalds, or a Wells Fargo have. SMBs cannot afford the creative teams, the production resources, or the commercial airtime buys that Fortune 1000 companies can. But does that really represent a practical limit?

In 2018 more than ever before, the target outlets for SMBs’ employment branding efforts are YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn, rather than CNBC, Fox News or the New York Times. And commercials made with expensive professional video recording setups are being replaced with quality recordings by high-end mobile phones and tablets, with perfectly acceptable results. All that remains is learning from large enterprises’ branding processes and “borrowing” their ideas to make them your own.

Organizations whom have already put thought, creativity and investment into developing cutting-edge, unique employment programs, without the right strategy in place to find and engage the right candidates, will never experience positive ROI.

Click here to watch the recording of this free one-hour webinar, “In the New War for Talent, Employment Branding is the Battlefield” as we explore these large employer branding lessons and learn the five simple steps that SMB’s can follow to develop their own unique employment brand. We’ll also cover the role of social channels to find the right audience and tell your unique employer branding story.

With more than 35 years of experience in providing Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions, Ascentis thought leaders have become a respected source for insights, tips, and innovations in the Human Capital Management (HCM) space.