“Never be too busy to meet someone new”
In a number of my recent blogs, I discussed various techniques and platforms through which companies can look to guide and promote their employer brand and thus improve their hiring and rate of retention.
I mentioned Celebrating Your Team and Championing a Cause and I discussed the use of podcasts as a growing medium to provide greater insight. Another medium that I think is underused and provides some unique benefits is live events.
There is a worry about the complexity, relative lack of scale and inability to reuse events. However, in the current hyper-competitive hiring markets it is not always about reaching the most people with a simple repeatable message but rather reaching the right people with a specific and targeted experience that can show them your true identity and help expose your employer brand.
Events can provide this targeted experience for potential candidates and talent pools. They offer some unique benefits that other mediums fail to achieve. Of course, they can be costly, and their benefit can be hard to measure but the reward of converting talented people to your company can be more than worth it.
Below is some advice to consider when looking to leverage events as a means of guiding an employer brand.
Target Your Talent Pool:
Events are not scalable, but they can be highly targeted. You should not worry about getting the highest attendance but about attracting the right people. Having a clear idea of what you want for your employer brand and who are the people that work well in your culture is the start of this and you can bring this knowledge to the planning of an event.
I previously discussed aligning your employer brand to a cause with which your talent pool connects, why not build your event around this? I have mentioned celebrating an interesting passion of one of your team? There is an opportunity to create an event and attract like-minded people. Of course, companies can hold masterclasses on topics with which you want your company to be associated and demonstrate your authority.
Away from the content try to be understanding of your audience and be flexible to their needs. Host the event in a convenient location. Make sure it is at a reasonable time. Limit the possible reasons people could use not to attend.
Control the Story:
Events are experienced live by their guests and so you can control the story. There is no interference, editing or second-hand accounts. This, of course, brings a pressure as failure is close to home but also gives you the opportunity to manage the narrative.
Employer branding events should be employee-centric. They should focus on how the company brings success and happiness to their workforce through challenging work, work-life balance, exciting perks, a collaborative culture, social events… the list goes on.
Decide what are the aspects of your company and culture which should appeal to potential employees and highlight these. Those attendees who do connect will be much more likely to be aligned to your company. A company can never have full control over their employer brand as it is a perception by an individual, but events afford a great opportunity to have a significant influence and create fans and advocates for your brand.
A clear benefit that events can give you is the chance to meet potential candidates. As I discussed in previous blogs, people are increasingly motivated by who they work with as much as what they will be working on. Events can let people meet their potential team or manager, get an understanding of the people in the company in general and feel they are getting a real experience of the culture and team.
The employees who attend the events immediately become brand ambassadors. It is important that these are the right people for the audience. The attendees will be looking to get the experiences of potential peers, so engineers will want to talk to the engineering team as an example. This reinforces the idea of a real experience as attendees don’t feel they are being fed constructed experience from Marketing, Recruitment or HR departments.
Events are a relatively untapped space and there is significant scope to be unique in how you approach them. The choices are diverse and each choice gives you a chance to show your employer brand and attract the right candidates for your company. Don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd.
If your event is aligned to your brand identity and strategy then how you go about the setup, content, location, scale, guest list is a blank sheet and should be seen by an exciting opportunity.
The talent market is extremely competitive and the need to hire the right people is becoming more apparent. With that in mind, it is clear the opportunity provided by events to connect with the right people in an authentic and personal way rather than the most people is one that cannot be dismissed by companies.
Events require planning beyond simply having some “swag” for the attendees but the payoff for an employer brand and hiring can be monumental. Increasingly we predict companies turning to this largely untapped space in employer brand marketing to stand out from the crowd and create positive brand associations.