Even Apple Needs to Get Their Employer Brand Game On.

big brands

I got an Apple watch from my hubby, and I returned it. That’s another blog post. But while standing at the Apple store waiting for someone to help me, I became mesmerized by the buzz within the store.The products, the crowd, the happy smiles of their employees… and I couldn’t help but to wonder how all their employees ended up there and what attracted them to be Apple store employees? All shapes, all sizes, all ages but they were all so happy. And helpful.

So being both an Apple fangirl (despite not wanting the watch—ha!) and employer-brand nerd, I started to wonder… can a consumer brand be so good that an employer brand isn’t necessary? Perhaps. Suspend this thought for a sec, and enter the job-seeker perspective.

I couldn’t help but to think about what drives people to work for iconic brands like Apple, and what does Apple need to really do to attract and keep them? And what might a job seeker be willing to accept for a top brand… like an Apple? On that note, I thought this was an interesting piece in Fast Company.

“Companies like Apple, Google, Tesla, and Nike have no problem finding talented people to interview. Their in-demand products make jobs with their companies in demand, too. What employees don’t often demand, however, is a premium salary. In fact, most are willing to work for less in exchange for putting a top brand on their resume, according to the study “Employee-Based Brand Equity: Why Firms with Strong Brands Pay Their Executives Less… “

Interesting, right? People may be willing to accept less pay to work for a top brand. Follow that line of logic, and it makes you wonder… do top brands need to do anything to attract and recruit talent?!

100% yes. Absolutely. Everyone does. Even an Apple.

So what purpose is an employer brand to serve, even if you are an Apple?

  • Making emotional connections with job seekers—even deeper. It’s not enough for someone to be a fan of products as you recruit them. They need to come to love the culture and the career opportunities ahead of them. You can make amazing products and be an amazing business, but make sure job seekers also know why you’re an amazing employer.
  • Keeping your messages fresh. You can’t keep telling the story of why you’re a great employer and what makes your culture awesome in the same ‘ole, same ‘ole way. Give your recruiters and hiring managers something new and fresh to sell. Bring to life your employer brand story in all of your channels like your career site and ads in a new way every so often, and refresh your employer brand campaign every few years.
  • Consistency in how you talk about culture and your company as an employer. Great brands are about consistency. The emotion of the brand, identity of the brand is imprinted in your head—think Target’s red target and iconic red and white branding. Same goes for your employer brand. What you stand for, what it means to build a career at your company—get everyone talking about it in the same way and, soon enough, your employer brand becomes burned into the memories of your job seekers.
  • Retention—helping to re-recruit your employees daily. You’re gonna need to re-recruit your talent every single day they walk into the doors of your office. Make sure they keep falling in love with you every day by pulling through your employer brand into the entire employment lifecycle. Reinforce your employer brand with all of your people programs. There should be no disconnect between how you talk about it with prospects, and how employees actually experience it.

But there’s a scale, right? If you’re a big company with hairy hiring goals ahead of you, perhaps you go big with your EB efforts. But if you’re a mid-sized company with modest growth, maybe your EB efforts are equally modest. But let no man believe he’s immune. So, are you ready?

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Jessica Lee
Jessica Lee is a VP of TA at Marriott International where she leads a team that enables the company to think big, broad and boldly about all things talent acquisition and in effect, keeps them relevant and ahead of the curve in how they attract and acquire top talent. Don't be fooled by that fancy pants title and description though, she's still an everyday HR gal in the trenches at the core. SPHR certified, a decade and a half into trench HR life... she can whip up a corrective action plan or source for your purple squirrel in a heartbeat. Talk to Jessica via EmailLinkedInTwitter or Facebook... See Jessica's riffs and rants on Fistful of Talent here...

One Comment

  1. Paul Hebert says:

    Back in 2013 there was a poll that talked about the differential in pay for good brands vs. bad brands (employee view not consumer) and I wrote at that time:

    “……….In other words, if you’re a “bad” company – say you make baby pacifiers out of old whisky bottles and arsenic – chances are your company isn’t going to be seen as a company “doing good” in the market place. You’ll probably have a pretty crappy brand image. What do you think that employer brand tax would be?

    Well – it might be about 50% to 100% of your employees’ salary. Yup – you may have to pay more than a 50% premium to get someone to come to you company and work. In fact – if you had a bad reputation a majority of people making NO income – 64% of them (the unemployed) wouldn’t even come to work for you. Think about that. How bad does a restaurant need to be that 64% of starving people wouldn’t eat there? That’s what we’re dealing with.

    But – if you have a great reputation – 84 % would consider leaving their current jobs if offered another role and would only require a 1 percent to 10 percent salary increase to consider such a move.

    I didn’t make up those stats – they came from a poll conducted by Corporate Responsibility Magazine. http://www.symbolist.com/blog/2013/10/tax-bad-employer-brand/

    They received responses from 1,000 employed and unemployed Americans designed to understand just how important company reputation and transparency is when making job decisions.”

    I see bad employer brand as a tax companies pay via higher salaries and benefits.


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