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Marketing Your Culture as an HR Expert

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The first step to building a culture is ensuring that the world knows what kind of culture you’re building. An HR professional isn’t just responsible for developing a company culture, they’re also responsible for promoting it. As healthy and passionate as it may be under the surface, it won’t shine through in its fullest without intentional advertisement towards everyone inside and outside the organization. That’s why you have to market it.

Marketing your culture is quite a bit different than marketing your product/service. For one, it has to be more subtle – an ad for a product is TELLing you why you should invest in it, while an ad for culture should be SHOWing you.

Second, you aren’t just marketing your culture to the same customer base you’re sending everything else to. You’re marketing to customers, potential hires, and even your own teams within your company. Each of these strategies requires a different approach for a different result, all culminating in your organizational identity being stronger than ever.

Your Own Team

Unlike most instances of advertising, marketing to your employee base isn’t about emphasizing your brand. They know your brand, they live your brand, and they probably even sell your brand. 

Instead, what you’re marketing to them is twofold: the employee experience and the organizational mission statement.

We may not be on your company’s Board, but we can advise you on what your team wants out of your workplace’s employee experience: great compensation, ongoing education & development, and meaningful recognition. You can’t market these by talking about them; actions speak louder than words, after all. These are pieces of culture you have to implement before broadcasting.

94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in helping them learn, so you should adopt a Learning Management System. The #1 reason most people leave their jobs is a lack of recognition, so you should try out an Incentive Program, or a heightened dedication to recognizing employees and encouraging peer-to-peer acknowledgement. As for great benefits, you know your company’s budget and limits better than we do – but you should always make sure your team’s satisfied. It also boosts employee retention!

Proudly making changes like these says more about your working culture than a “family” pledge or distant promise. You can make a statement without even making a statement.

That said…….. you could also make a statement! A popular way to set a standard for your company’s culture to both your employees and customers is by crafting a mission/vision statement. A mission statement tells people three things: why the business exists, what makes it different, and what its people stand for. When it resonates strongly with those who read it, it not only puts your company under a good light, but markets your culture to your employees. For example, retail chain Goodwill’s mission statement is:

“Goodwill Industries International is committed to advancing employment, education and skill-building opportunities for individuals across the globe.”

Not only does it share a lot about what the company aims to achieve, but it sets an example for its employees and illustrates the need to look towards an objective other than profit. A good mission statement can change the tone of an entire organization.

Your Future Team

The hiring process is all about marketing, in a sense – you market your business to incoming talent, and applicants then market themselves to you. A wider and more talented pool of applicants open up when you sell your organization’s culture effectively, which just happens to be what we’re here to help you do!

While brand recognition could draw applicants’ eyes to your job openings, it won’t ultimately land you more completed applications alone. As SHRM discovered in a 2017 study, the #1 reason candidates choose one job over a similar one is the company culture outlined in the job description. So go all out!

Of course, you can’t market a great employee experience without having a great employee experience, so you should make sure your bases are already covered. If and when you feel like your culture combined with your benefits package is an excellent draw, be sure to mention every perk of joining the team, from company events, to generous compensation, to constant recognition.

Now, here’s where we put our marketing caps on. In a job application, you don’t just want to list your perks as if they’re subscribing to a new cable package. You have to make sure they know this is what your organization believes in. For example…

You should also evaluate the means by which you send your job applications out to the world. Websites like Indeed and Monster are quick and convenient, sure, but they can get lost in a sea of dozens of similar openings. If you’re limited to online avenues, those sites will work, but you have to make sure your job description stands out among the rest.

Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and bring your business to a booth at a job fair! Some of the most compelling company cultures, such as Power Home Remodeling, thrive and build a dedicated workforce marketing their culture at college job fairs. A noticeable booth with promotional offers and free swag allow you to engage with potential hires and effectively communicate your identity.

There’s one more indirect way you can market your culture to job seekers: word of mouth. When you master the employee experience and your team truly loves to work at your organization, they’ll spread the word about their experiences with you to their peers, especially if there’s a possibility they could work side-by-side. (This is also an innovative employee retention strategy!) You’ll also amass great reviews on Glassdoor.com, which is becoming an increasingly compelling component of the job search for young adults.

Your customer

As an HR expert, your experience advertising to customers is likely minimal. Brand awareness, of course, is essential, but we’re trying to communicate the meaning behind our brand rather than the existence of it. How, then, would you or your company market its culture to the world of consumers? Subconsciously.

We’re not here to create a commercial that shouts, “Our organization stands for justice and our employees love it!” Just as it was with our employees, it’s our actions that speak louder than our words.

There’s evidence to back this up: the ACSI found that a one point increase in that all-important Glassdoor rating was associated with an average of a 1.3% increase in customer satisfaction rating. Additionally, 64% of consumers have stopped purchasing a product because they learned that the product’s company treats its employees poorly, which often stems back to Glassdoor. As we begin to rely more on digital means, it becomes clear that an organization is best at marketing its services, but its employees are most effective at marketing its culture.

Is there anything an HR professional can do to market its culture to customers other than building a great culture for its team members? Well, we should revisit the idea of a mission statement, which gives an organization the opportunity to pull people in by being more direct.

From there, one could encourage their marketing team to build a campaign based around their mission statement, or the idea that their brand stands for X, Y, and Z. Developing the kind of brand identity that defines what your organization stands for will refine your culture much more than developing the kind of brand identity that defines the color palette in your ads. 

Build a reputation that sways customers, attracts young talent, and boosts employee retention.

We’re not done yet!
To learn more about the steps of employee retention, check out our article, How to Retain Employees in 2022! We have a lot more on the subject as well – take a look at our Employee Retention Strategies PDF, or our 10 HR Strategies For the Retention Crisis piece, as told by experts from many of the industries we discussed above. All of our resources can be found in our Library – check them out here! To see HelloTeam, the employee retention platform, in action, click here — and to set up a meeting with us, go here!

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