How’s your employer brand strategy? 

Amid The Great Resignation, compensation and role alignment aren’t enough to snag top talent. 

Creating a smart employer branding strategy attracts more ideal candidates by providing a clear, specific, and unique point of view as to what life is like within your organization. Employer branding also demonstrates company values in a way that helps candidates see themselves with a given company. 

And now more than ever before, company values matter deeply to job seekers. This is why taking the time to build a solid employer brand strategy is the secret sauce in capturing top talent. 

Every TA leader understands the importance of company culture as it’s seen through the eyes of current employees. By leveraging that knowledge, hiring teams can develop an authentic employer brand strategy to appeal to their ideal candidates.

Here are five key takeaways from the webinar with Pete Lawson, former VP of Talent at Postmates, on building an authentic employer brand strategy at Postmates. 

1. Turn on the Discovery Channel

Discovery interviews are the first step toward building an authentic employer brand strategy. They provide the opportunity to see the company through the eyes of the employees. Lawson’s team asked employees questions such as:

What’s it like to be a part of the Postmates team?
What’s their background?
What are their goals?
What’s compelling about their organization?
What do you feel is working?
What do you feel is not working?
Where do you feel undervalued?

Determining the company’s strengths and weaknesses from an employee’s perspective was valuable feedback that allows them to continuously improve as an organization.

Talent competitor analysis was important for Lawson’s team to pinpoint who Postmates was competing against for talent, and how they are currently showing up in the market. The team focused on key areas including:

How’s their employee value proposition (EVP)?
What’s their voice or tone?
What’s their brand reach?
What does their community engagement look like?
What do their mobile apps look like?
How can they gain a competitive edge as an organization?

A digital audit was deployed and combed through their primary mediums including:

  • Career site
  • Job description pages
  • Corporate blog
  • Social media
  • Glassdoor page
  • Github

The team used this method to identify some of their biggest gaps, to gather opportunities for improvement, and to determine where they needed to build more infrastructure. 

2. Communication Is Key During Development

The second phase was to utilize all of the insights collected during phase one to develop a brand narrative, finalize a digital recruitment strategy, and iron out the EVP narrative.

Lawson and his team developed a methodology as to what makes the experience of working at Postmates so unique. They accomplished this through a series of workshops where employees from different departments across the organization provided a wide range and variety of experiences and opinions. 

Using this valuable employee insight, they delivered recommendations for the tagline, the brand’s voice and tone, and the EVP framework. Hearing directly from Postmate employees about what makes the company culture strong, unique, and conversely the areas in which they could improve, was one of the driving forces behind how they arrived at this EVP. 

At this stage, it was crucial to align with the marketing team to get buy-in from them early on in the process. Having meetings early on helps all members understand the end goal, and can provide a roadmap toward the final destination. Getting that buy-in at this stage ensured that they had the opportunity to collect critical information, and understand who on the team they should expect to meet with on a regular basis.

These early stage meetings also allowed them to gain a greater understanding of their concerns regarding this project, what they are most comfortable with, and even some aspects that they’d prefer to avoid during this development phase.

During these meetings, they created project milestones to hit along the way, and gave access to the branding toolkit, and any other materials they had from a branding standpoint. This helped them stay on brand as they developed their strategy and finalized the EVP. 

Having in-depth communication with the team from the start allowed them to build their treatment, and establish themselves as the experts. They were then able to communicate that they understood the objective, company mission, and the desired outcome.

3. The Execution

After all of the hard work that was put in during phases one and two, the execution phase is where they really started to have fun with it. During the execution, they:

  • Rolled everything out
  • Activated the EVP
  • Built out the content creation and analytics dashboard
  • Created the job posting guide
  • Implemented the technology for candidate experience

At this stage, they leveraged the EVP and brand narrative to establish their target audience. They asked themselves what kind of personae and personalities they hoped to attract.

At Postmates, one of the key targets was to highlight female engineers and employees wherever and whenever possible. By including testimonials and photos on their microsites, they increased female representation, which encouraged more women to apply.

This is a much more effective method than simply saying, “we are hiring female engineers.” It was important to them that they really represent the female population, and share their first-hand experiences working at Postmates. This was a great way for candidates to connect with and relate to actual employees, rather than simply hearing the information from a recruiter.

4. Recruiting Ideal Candidates

A job posting guide was built to help make job posts more candidate-centric and on-brand, outlining key sections, examples, templates, and messaging resources as they related to the targeted personae. These would ultimately empower hiring managers to write better job descriptions with the narrative they created. The team wanted the job descriptions to paint a picture of the impact the candidate would make within the organization, and provide more detailed descriptions of the role.

As they interviewed prospective engineers, the hiring team heard a variety of stories concerning the impact they’re making during the COVID-19 pandemic. They wanted to ensure that they’re intentionally highlighting what it was like being an engineer at Postmates during COVID-19, and how their employees were treated during this time.

Video content was key. The team created employee-generated video content during the pandemic, and highlighted some of the shared experiences of employees throughout the organization. They made it a point to highlight their female talent, and how they are empowered to make an impact by building technology to support at-home workers during the pandemic.

This powerful campaign allowed Postmates to give candidates an intimate look at the impact their engineers have in their organization, using raw experiences to generate a narrative to help articulate the company-wide impact engineers have at Postmates. 

The employee-generated video content provided a rare opportunity for potential candidates to build a virtual connection with the employees they’re seeing, who they could easily look up on LinkedIn to verify identity. They prioritized authenticity, and gave candidates an opportunity to envision themselves working at their company.

Candidate experience was next level with GoodTime. Postmates’ team hosted the material that was created during the first couple of phases to create content for their site. Each touchpoint that the candidates had throughout their interview experience was imbued with this new branding and messaging. GoodTime freed up time on the employee side, allowing more time to create content and take care of bespoke, personal details to further elevate the candidate experience. The goal here was to provide candidates with the same feeling that a customer would get from interacting with their brand. It was also important that their mobile app would make it quick and easy for candidates to schedule their interview.

5. Preparation Equals Payoff

After all of this planning and execution, the Postmates hiring team was excited to see the fruits of their labor. Theming the strategies described in the above sections, they saw:

  • 80% increase in applications between September 2019 and September 2020
  • 91% increase in female applicants, an essential part of their mission
  • 30% increase of minority applicants and a significant increase in candidate quality
  • 50% of their applicant pool either “met” or “exceeded” the job requirements, and 
  • 46% of applicants were considered a “strong match” compared to September of 2019

They saw a huge increase in engagement on LinkedIn, and were  honored with a number of awards, including:

  • Best Place to Work in the Bay Area
  • Company With Best Benefits – New York
  • Company With Best Benefits – Seattle
  • Company With Best Benefits – Bay Area
  • Best Paying Company – Bay Area

If you want to watch the full session, check it out here. 

About the Author

Rachel Heller

Rachel is passionate about creating and distributing powerful, engaging, and expert-vetted content. As the former Content Specialist at GoodTime, she covered the latest trends, insights, and expert recommendations for all things talent acquisition and recruiting.