You Think You’ve Got a Great Culture. What's in Your Employer Brand?

You Think You’ve Got a Great Culture. What's in Your Employer Brand?

Sid Smith

84% of all employees would consider leaving their current jobs if offered another role with a company that had an excellent corporate reputation. 

Companies with the best reputations will get the cream of the crop executives and employees. And, if the living, breathing day-to-day culture matches their reputation, these same companies will KEEP those great employees. [Consider: if an employee is already at a company with an excellent culture, there’s less reason for them to look elsewhere.] 

How do I create an excellent corporate reputation (brand) that attracts top talent? 

Answer, Part 1: Think “culture” instead of “reputation” 

You simply cannot have an excellent corporate reputation without having a great culture. This isn’t a chicken-egg thing. Imagine a beautiful waterfall that lies six miles down a rugged trail. Over time, word gets out about the waterfall, and hikers will come from miles around to make the difficult trek. The waterfall is the culture, and what draws the hikers is a well-deserved reputation. 

That is, reputation is external and culture is internal. A sewer may have the same volume of water as the waterfall, but there’s nothing you can do to draw crowds to your “grand sewer.” Your reputation, or in the parlance of executive recruiters, your “employer brand” derives from your culture. 

Answer, Part 2: If you want a great reputation, then build a great culture. Here are three steps to building that great culture: 

Step #1: Clarify simplify, and agree on your culture. 

Your “culture” is who you are, what you stand for, and how you behave internally and externally. First, get crystal clear on your core values and your mission, vision or “core focus.” Include in this picture exactly how you intend on leading and managing people because, to your employees, your leadership and management style ultimately defines their definition of your culture. 

Step #2: Repeatedly share your culture with all 

Don’t assume that everyone mysteriously understands who you are as a company. They won’t. HP persistently talked about the HP Way. Google, Apple, and other companies with well-defined, strong cultures are vigilant about keeping all employees hard-wired to their values, vision, and leadership style. Wells Fargo and United? Not so much. 

Step #3: Hire, fire, lead, and manage in harmony with your culture, and you will create a strong employer brand

This is how your reputation and brand develops into the shining star that attracts top talent. When you continuously reinforce your culture every day through your hiring, firing, leadership, and management practices, who you are and how you treat people becomes known. Good or bad, word spreads quickly, and you will attract executives and employees that resonate with your culture.

Don’t be like the Pointy-Haired Boss: Your Employer Brand IS Your Culture

First, know who you are as a company. I know far more people who can’t clearly define their company culture than those who can. And, of those who can define their culture, it is often a grim picture.

Make the effort to clarify, simplify, and share your culture. Then, hire, fire, lead, and manage in a way that exemplifies the great culture you wish to create.

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