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Of the many challenges facing companies during a recession, employee retention isn’t always at the top of the list. Maintaining morale during times of cost cuts, furloughs and layoffs often takes priority — especially amidst so much uncertainty, when most people aren’t actively looking to switch careers. However, with signs pointing to an economic rebound (even in Detroit!) companies may find it increasingly difficult to retain top talent, particularly in highly competitive, talent-starved industries like life sciences and biotechnology (Genentech launches employee retention plan).

Of the many tangible (compensation, location) and intangible (appreciation, career mentoring) elements that impact recruiting, one that generally gets overlooked is a company’s external brand reputation. This reputation influences what’s called ‘employer attractiveness,’ or the envisioned benefits that a potential employee sees in working for a specific organization1. Much like traditional marketing campaigns, for an external recruiting campaign to achieve maximum effectiveness, the Brand on the inside must be as strong or stronger than the Brand on the outside. By that, I mean employees must embrace, live and consistently deliver on the Brand’s promise and essence or risk undermining the credibility of the advertised messages2. Berthon, Ewing & Hah explore this subject in more detail in their 2005 paper for the International Journal of Advertising. In it they describe advertising as an increasingly critical tool to identify, acquire and retain the best talent.

We’ve seen this happen first hand with our award winning “me” campaign for Remel. This campaign began as a way to communicate the personal connections between employees and customers, but led to an equal amount of internal pride and morale building. The impact of branding campaigns on current employees and new recruits is something often overlooked by marketers, which is why it’s something we consider with every major engagement.

1 Berthon, Ewing, Hah (2005) Captivating Company: Dimensions of Attractiveness in Employer Branding, International Journal of Advertising 24(2), pp. 151-172. 
2 Berthon, Ewing, Hah (2005) Captivating Company: Dimensions of Attractiveness in Employer Branding, International Journal of Advertising 24(2), pp. 151-172.