Branding strategy in healthcare focuses on the organization's value proposition as an employer of choice. While attracting the most qualified talent is important in ensuring quality patient care, it’s also vital for recruiters to develop a brand that positions your organization as an attractive employment option, especially in a competitive market. Branding covers everything from salary and benefits to professional development opportunities, and the overall culture of the organization (work-life balance, autocratic vs. democratic; diversity and inclusion). Each of these factors can greatly impact the impression potential employees form of your organization.
Developing a branding strategy can be accomplished in a few simple steps. This article will provide guidance on how you can build and implement a brand that will provide your organization with a competitive advantage.
What is an Employer Brand
Branding is the story of your organization. It’s about how you market your company culture to job seekers. You do this by highlighting your company’s unique culture differences and setting strategies to promote them across different channels.
When successful, branding will generate buzz and this buzz will attract job seekers to your door -- who then become happy, engaged employees who, in turn, broadcast their positive experience to their own circles of influence, including colleagues who may be looking for a job change. In this way, your employees can be your most significant brand ambassadors.
Conduct a Branding Audit
A branding audit is designed to determine how your organization is perceived by employees and potential candidates. This is a two-step process.
First step is to evaluate every interaction with candidates, whether verbally, via job descriptions, career pages, social media pages, offer and rejection letters, as well as onboarding materials. Each mode of communication influences a candidate’s perception of your organization. As you review, analyze whether each communication channel is aligned with your branding strategy. Where there is conflict, tweak the messaging.
The next step is to obtain feedback from a representative number of employees and candidates which can be accomplished via anonymous surveys. As the goal is to gain insight into how each group genuinely views your organization, include questions that will provide substantive responses.
Examples for employees:
- How would you describe the company to a colleague outside the organization?
- Why have you remained with the company for X number of years?
- Why are you resigning from the organization? Are there any factors that would motivate you to stay?
Examples for candidates:
- How was the hiring process? Is there anything we could have done differently?
- Why did you apply for this role with our organization?
- Why did you accept/reject our offer?
- How likely would you be to recommend our organization to a colleague?
Develop Employer Value Proposition
An employer value proposition includes your organization’s mission, core values, and culture, and provides potential employees with reasons your organization is an employer of choice. In defining your value proposition, consider the factors that influence whether a potential employee accepts a job offer.
Companies that have a well-developed branding strategy typically obtain up to twice as many candidates as those who have not developed their brand. According to a LinkedIn survey, companies with positive employer brands realize a cost per hire that’s 2x lower and a 28% lower turnover rate (than companies without such a brand).
Implementing Brand Strategy
Once you have developed your brand messaging, there are several channels to promote it to your target markets. Let’s review the most effective ones.
1. Job Descriptions
Job descriptions are often the first impression job seekers will have of your organization so it’s important to ensure they are reflective of your messaging. Aside from the “Duties and Qualifications” section, insert a paragraph at the top regarding benefits, perks and overall culture. If you’re trying to attract nurses, include information regarding patient-to-staff ratio, scheduling flexibility, relocation assistance, etc.
2. Career Pages (Web site or LinkedIn/Facebook Page)
Your career website is, perhaps, the most important part of your branding presence as nearly all candidates will peruse the site when considering your organization as a potential employer. The wording of the pages is just as important as imagery. If your brand is warm and collegial, does the language reflect these values or is it overly conservative? Use images and photos that highlight your culture; (e.g group shots rather than individual or casual dress vs. 3 piece suits). Consider including employee testimonials or videos from staff at all levels to further highlight your organization as a go-to employer.
3. Social Media Engagement
While having a well thought-out career page is important to your branding strategy, it’s also valuable to maintain an active presence on all social media channels by posting company information, newsworthy events or even a fun article. Since socially conscious organizations are perceived positively, include any mention of charitable work your organization as a whole (or employees) may be involved in. The social media team should be dedicated to overseeing pages across all sites and responding to comments (especially as readers may turn into top candidates).
4. Candidate Experience
The most effective way to attract top talent is by providing an exceptional experience through every part of the hiring process, from the initial application through onboarding. For example, it’s a good idea to streamline applications realizing that time is in short supply for most healthcare professionals. Some Applicant Tracking Systems
, have a speedy online form candidates can complete and attach their resume.
Branding is all about messaging and that messaging needs to be consistent across all channels. In essence, a strong brand instills a core perception of your organization in the minds of employees and candidates. When you strategically develop and promote your brand you will attract the best talent which will position your firm strongly in a competitive healthcare marketplace.
Ready to build your branding website on myHealthTalent.com and reach the top healthcare talent? Contact our recruitment expert Philip Prigal today.