Aligning Your Employer Branding Content with Corporate Comms

October 12, 2020 • 5 min read

Aligning Your Employer Branding Content with Corporate Comms

Chrissy Thornhill

Chrissy Thornhill

In the world of employer branding (EB) there’s a temptation to think that you have the most important job at your company. And when you look at things through an EB lens, you do. But taking a more holistic view of the organization reveals that you are just one of many important teams, all of whom are vying for the attention of those at the top.

Today I want to talk about the critical need for EB and corporate communication teams to work together, the challenges that are faced in trying to do so, and the strategies that can initiate and enhance this collaboration.

The benefits of EB/corporate comms collaboration

EB teams rely heavily on corporate communication teams to do their job well. Equally though corporate comms has a lot to gain from EB. It’s a perfectly symbiotic relationship, for three main reasons:

1. It represents a united branding front.

If EB and corporate are siloed, messages about how employees should brand themselves and the organization can be conflicted, tags and categories in your employee social sharing tool may not be optimized for EB, and there is a danger of corporate teams completely missing culture- and value-driven content, which often drives the most awareness and engagement. An EB team uniquely offers these perspectives and more.

The EB team also often sits close to (or with) internal comms, and thus brings resources and knowledge on how to gain buy-in from employees – one area that corporate could often benefit from.

EB teams rely heavily on corporate communication teams to do their job well. Equally though corporate comms has a lot to gain from EB.

2. It helps develop blog and content strategy.

If EB doesn’t have a seat at the table when the content strategy is being decided, important categories are potentially left out. I’ve witnessed this happen at a couple of different companies I’ve worked at, and it’s a big miss.

3. It helps to ensure a cohesive, 360-degree content story.

Oftentimes a customer story can be shared through the voice of an employee – happy and engaged employees tend to make customers happy, and customers know that.

I love that the likes of Walmart and GE have been running commercials on major networks that tell customer and company stories through the eyes of an employee. Most people don’t realize they’re watching an EB commercial, and that their perception of the organization as an employer is being shaped by what outwardly appears to be an ad for a product, service or business. Nevertheless, you come out of it thinking that GE hires intelligent engineers who change the world through innovation.

Commercials like this are a perfect example of what can happen when corporate puts an EB spin on things. In short, a collaborative approach is better in every conceivable way.

Collaboration challenges, and how to overcome them

In EB, we sometimes need to rely on the corporate communication team. It can be easy to forget that this team has its own long list of priorities. We like to think we’re busy as EB folks, but just think how many things the corporate comms team has flying at them: the different parts of the business they need to elevate, and the people they need to keep happy.

In reality EB is competing with teams that are every bit as worthy of real estate on the corporate blog and social channels: Customer Success, Marketing, Tech, Product and Enablement, to name but a few. That being the case, when you in EB ask corporate comms for something, it better be good.

In my career I’ve noticed the smaller a company is, the more likely they’ll support your content, whether by helping to create it or by actively sharing it.

Make considered and worthwhile requests, and they are more likely to welcome it. Access social analytics when deciding on the content you are going to bring to them – something that is guaranteed to perform well with employees, prospects, and customers alike. Do this well, and the corporate comms team will come to realize that you never waste their time, and will thus prioritize your requests.

In my career I’ve noticed the smaller a company is, the more likely they’ll support your content, whether by helping to create it or by actively sharing it. The larger the company, the more critical your choice of content becomes, as your corporate comms team is pulled in more directions.

Tips for creating consistent and successful content and social plans across a business

Let’s say you’ve managed to build a strong symbiotic relationship with your corporate comms team. What next? How do you go about creating well-thought-out content strategies that perform? Based on my years of experience, here are a few pieces of advice:

While it’s true that the priorities of the EB and corporate teams don’t often align, the onus is on EB to understand the corporate content mix and strategy, and figure out where we can fit.

  1. Align your strategy with your recruitment marketing hiring goals, while maintaining a view of ‘raising all boats’. Brand awareness should be strong everywhere, but especially around hiring goals. At Salesforce we conduct a quarterly alignment to move toward a constantly shifting set of goals. We also take this opportunity to reprioritize: while raising all boats is important, effort should be concentrated on critical areas.
  2. Measure your content mix, especially on social media. Is your mix aligned to your greater goals? Salesforce Careers social channels, for example, have recently made a strong pivot to focus primarily on equality-related content. A glance at our social channels tell you that equality and diversity are our top priorities. That said, it’s important not to pivot so hard that your channels miss other important components – it’s about striking the right balance.
  3. Find your winners. At Salesforce our top performing blog and social themes are those that focus on the workplace awards we’ve won. If a company is consistently winning best workplace awards year after year – especially in numerous markets – there’s validity there. As your company gets larger and has more locations, it’s important to identify your priority areas in which this content should be pushed particularly hard – not just where you have the most employees, but areas in which you plan to ramp up hiring over the next few years.
  4. The more consistent your content goals are, the better PR is able to support you in landing press hits. The importance of third party press depends on the market: in the US market we find that press hits see better engagement than career stories on our own blog, while many of our international markets tend to engage more with our career blog than press hits.
  5. Drive the point home by inserting stats on how stock value is related to happy and engaged employees. Here are a few to kick things off.
  6. Retweets and mentions help a ton! A @salesforce RT can increase our @salesforcejobs reach by 8-16x, so sometimes it’s just a matter of having corporate amplify what we’re doing on our own social channels.

While it’s true that the priorities of the EB and corporate teams don’t often align, the onus is on EB to understand the corporate content mix and strategy, and figure out where we can fit. It’s also on us to help them recognize exactly how we in EB can bring value.

Sure, we need them. But while they don’t often acknowledge it, they increasingly need us. And the collaborative sum is far greater than its EB and corporate comms parts.

About the author: Chrissy Thornhill is a self-proclaimed employer brand nerd and is often recognized by others as a veteran in the space. In the last 13 years, she’s touched every aspect of employer brand and recruitment marketing across numerous companies and industries. One thing has remained the same — her ability to talk your ear off about the ever-changing landscape of employee advocacy.