Company leaders can either ignore and neglect employment brand or harness and develop it, but either way, they have a direct impact on how candidates think of the company as a place to work. Employer Branding International‘s survey of 1,100 professionals across the world found that while leadership is a key factor in creating a strong employer brand, less than 10 percent of CEOs participate in brand building.
Think of a top brand like online retailer Zappos. Now think of what you know about Zappos leader Tony Tsieh. He is almost singlehandedly responsible for building both Zappos’ consumer brand and employer brand. He takes employee engagement seriously, and it shows in the ten core values posted on the website, developed with Zappos employees. Who wouldn’t want to work for a company where “create fun and a little weirdness” was one of the core values?
Take a look at what happens when the CEO or founder is involved with the employer brand and how it humanizes the company and draws top candidates.
Tony Tsieh – Zappos
Tony Tsieh believes in company culture as the key to building a strong, sustainable brand. He is widely quoted about company culture, and describes Zappos as “a customer service company that just happens to sell shoes.” The Zappos company history is described as “The Zappos Family Story,” published on www.zapposinsights.com, a special department within Zappos created to share Zappos Culture with the world. His book “Delivering Happiness” is practically a how-to manual for company leaders to build a stellar employer brand.
Tsieh builds Zappos’ brand by driving Zappos’ company culture and widely sharing it, constantly refreshing and reinventing it. He has rolled the company culture, market brand, and employer brand into a highly effective, wildly successful platform that is laser focused on one thing: customer service. The company culture is the brand, and the person who developed and promotes it is Tsieh. He created and sustains the Zappos brand in all its forms, and teaches others how to do it as well.
Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO, is in the process of changing Facebook’s employer brand to be more diverse and inclusive, and is backing that with some powerful actions. He hired Maxine Williams in 2013 as global director of diversity to change Facebook’s workforce and make it more like its users. With a staff made up of mostly white and Asian men but a 1.3 billion user base of mostly women of varying races and ethnicities, not making the effort to diversify Facebook’s workforce would put the company at risk of losing touch with users.
As a major player in Facebook’s leadership, backed by CEO Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg, Williams is helping the company close racial and gender gaps in its workforce on a large scale. The company supports programs such as Code2040 and YesWeCode that encourage minorities in high-tech and recruits minorities through its internship program Facebook University. Williams has a very active role in creating opportunities like diversity hackathons to attract and support minority coders. Facebook’s diversity goal is to change its employment brand and its workforce, a move that follows Intel’s CEO Brian Krzanich’s recent $300 million pledge to start hiring women and underrepresented minorities to build a more diverse workforce by 2020.
Employer brand expert Brett Minchington says leaders need to understand their company’s employer brand, including why someone would want to work there and how employees view the company. The leadership impact on employer brand means the difference between a good company to work for or a great place to work.