Rethinking Employer Brand in a Hybrid Working World

March 31, 2022 • 3 min read

Rethinking Employer Brand in a Hybrid Working World

Devin is a brand marketer turned talent brand leader. He's a big believer that creativity and transparency are key to any successful talent brand. Devin has shared experiences from his time with Atlassian to highlight how different aspects of their talent brand have evolved over time. He is now at GitLab in the TA space.

It’s a changed world out there, and with hybrid and remote working now the norm, companies need to continually evaluate whether their employer brand speaks to the majority of people they are aiming to hire or retain. You’re not going to get far appealing to remote workers if all you talk about is the great work life in your office!

Even putting remote workers aside though, an agile approach to your employer brand is always wise. Candidate markets and industries change all the time and the best way to make sure your company and talent evolves effectively too is to embrace those changes within your EB strategy. That way, you’ll keep attracting the employees you want and stay on track with who you want to be as an employer. 

I thought it would be interesting to share GitLab’s approach to employer branding, because as a remote-only company, the classic route of highlighting the in-office culture is off the cards for us. Our strategy targets people working remotely, so it may help others who need to pivot to meet the new hiring parameters we all face.

Our spotlight shines on different benefits 

GitLab has no physical offices. We’re fully remote, all around the world. That’s 1,500 people communicating and working together entirely virtually. 

This has obviously impacted our employer brand strategy. In most traditional companies it’s the in-office vibe that really defines the culture of the organization and the office naturally becomes the backdrop for video and photography. In an all-remote environment however, the people define and create the culture, so we need to be more focused on understanding team member perspectives and bringing those to life effectively. 

Our people, practices, values, mission, and product rise up as the most important aspects to highlight about GitLab, so we empower our people to be ambassadors for all those elements. 

Then, we tie it all together with the EB360 approach we delved into in this article. When you look at our strategy, we’re not only talking about where we want to go as an employer and how we want to position GitLab as a great place to work. We’re also weaving our talent grand vision into the way that we’re thinking about people programs, and into the way that we’re communicating with people inside of the organization. 

Really, what we’re saying is for this to work, we need our talent brand to be a platform that invites a lot of people within the organization to take part – and at GitLab, it means inviting external talent brand practitioners to take part as well. 

Openness as an EB community is key

GitLab’s employees have to communicate virtually, which means we’re pretty open with the way we share information. Our EB strategy falls in the same bucket.  

Take a look at this page. This is the fully collaborative framework we’ve built at GitLab that we are happy to share with the EB community.  If it’s something that you are looking for a framework on, please feel free to take parts of our GitLab talent brand strategy. We’re all about sharing what we’re doing as an organization and also learning from others to figure out where we can improve.

For us, it starts with our vision: what it means to us, the different building blocks of it, and how we’re going to bring it to life. That’s something that any of our 1,500 team members can comment on at GitLab, and make suggestions to us directly. I also welcome comments from anyone outside our company as well.  

We’re still very much figuring out how all of these bits and pieces are going to come together, but we’re really excited about having this transparent foundation to build off. It’s really helped us to bring in our marketing and leadership on the same page and ensure we are all moving in the same direction.

Get everyone on board with transparency

In my experience, one of the biggest barriers to achieving the sort of transparency we have at GitLab is a lack of trust. Leadership may feel the current strategy doesn’t accurately reflect all aspects of the company. If this is so, you need to work on evolving it to a point where leadership is comfortable sharing it openly. 

At the end of the day, the most important consideration is to create an EB strategy that’s easy to understand by leaders and team members alike. When everyone is clear on its objectives and genuinely resonates with the messaging you’re putting out there, it’s easy for those within your organization to organically represent your company. You’ll connect with the people you want to connect with by talking about what matters to them – which, in the case of a remote workforce, are all the aspects that make your company great outside of the traditional office culture that companies used to rely on. 

At Employer Brandwagon, we’re pushing the collective thinking of the global EB community. Level up, inspire creativity and find encouragement from others who just ‘get’ it by joining the community here!

Devin is a brand marketer turned talent brand leader. He's a big believer that creativity and transparency are key to any successful talent brand. Devin has shared experiences from his time with Atlassian to highlight how different aspects of their talent brand have evolved over time. He is now at GitLab in the TA space.

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