6 Steps to Building a Powerful Employment Brand in Healthcare

Marketing Specialist

Establishing an authentic employment brand is a critical measure in any organization’s overall long-term strategy and success. Not only is it a key tool in helping employers attract right-fit candidates, it’s also an important method in continually recruiting quality candidates to your organization.

The National Association for Health Care Recruitment (NAHCR) recently hosted a webinar with Kathryn Ward, Principal at KW Communications, to cover today’s ongoing recruitment and retention challenges and how an effective employment brand strategy can help deliver positive and measureable results.

Employers today, especially in healthcare, are finding it increasingly difficult not only to attract job candidates, but also to retain those who match the skill sets most in demand, regardless of the size or location of the company. Ward suggests that this may be due to a few factors:

  • A rigid, dated or one-size fits-all brand approach
  • Disconnect between the promise and how well that promise is delivered
  • Various interpretations of the brand or an unclear brand promise
  • Failure to embed the brand into the company’s DNA

“There’s often a gap in employment brand development,” Ward says. Too often brands and programs don’t integrate with initiatives originating in other areas of the organization. There’s often parallel work that never touches which results in an inconsistent and confusing brand messaging.

Consider the following six steps while you’re establishing a powerful employment brand that will prove to have longevity and deliver actionable results.

1. Research and Discovery

Organizations should leverage their existing research and conduct new formal market research from client feedback, employee engagement and even interviewing business leaders. “A value proposition that’s too far off reality isn’t going to resonate well with employees or won’t be digested well by anyone,” Ward says. She suggests including leadership right through all levels of the organization during the research stage—not only what leadership thinks it should be, but also what people are experiencing it as.

2. Characteristics and Differentiators

Identify your organization’s strengths as you know them. Also, based on the outcomes of your research, what do others see as your strengths? Not only must you determine your differentiators, but you must also examine what makes you the same. Try to determine what can your organization offer that makes you stand out and unique from the rest.

3. Brand Pillars

These pillars are built with the strengths, differentiators and characteristics you’ve discovered. The pillars are grounded in your company culture and mission statement and supported by the brand development process. It’s the promises you’ve made to the employees who show up to work every day. Not only is it supposed to be authentic, it’s supposed to be aspirational and visionary enough to move along with the company.

4. Value Proposition

A strong value proposition is not the company product description, mission statement, elevator pitch, or advertisement. Rather, it promotes the organization’s brand and identity during recruiting and retaining employees and even influences the outcomes of business decisions. Whether your unique value proposition is contingent upon great leadership, exceptional pay or even best technology, make sure the message is clear and consistent. If your practices and programs aren’t aligned with what you’ve promised, you’re going to end up with an engagement or retention problem, likely both. You must recruit the right people the first time by making a realistic promise that’s firmly rooted in what they’re receiving.

5. Translation to Communication/Branding

The value proposition becomes the key step in developing the creative interpretation of the brand. You must maintain a consistent strategy and message throughout your entire organization. If you have different campaigns for different sectors, they must all look related. The brand must encompass the correct tone of voice that represents the company and its employees.

6. Implementation and Measurement

During the brand launch, you’ll want to be building excitement and ownership while also clarifying your organization’s goals and expectations. There’s going to be work building programs and strategies to map them against business objectives. You’ll need to go back and review some of your processes to dispel any items that aren’t aligned with your brand’s promise and consistent with your overall vision and strategy.

This is also where your ultimate goal is to activate a team of brand ambassadors that will continually help you maintain its longevity and freshness for a healthy shelf life. When you’re establishing your branding and campaigns, consider using only one creative approach because it’ll help you maintain a consistent tone and voice. You’ll also want to consider its longevity and the budget you’re going to need. You want to do something that will withstand the test of time.