When it comes to your employer brand messaging you need to find your focus…group that is! Why? Because a well-researched employee branding campaign can help you uncover what is unique to your company that makes you attractive to potential candidates. It doesn’t make sense to compete on things that everyone can lay claim to such as competitive salaries, benefits, etc. You are looking for the differentiators that make you stand out in an already crowded field of employers who are all competing for the same talent.
At Cardigan, we emphasize research—or as we like to call it, “the dig” stage because sometimes you have to dig a little deeper to uncover your true messaging. We believe that a focus group is one of the most effective ways to do this.
Asking specific and well thought out questions to targeted groups allows you to find the common thread that connects and attracts the candidates you want to hire. Below are two of the questions we like to pose to focus groups to help us find that common denominator (clearly you have to ask way more than two questions, but this should at least get you started).
As you can see below, we like to pose questions in a “finish this sentence” format, because it allows people to say the first thing that pops into their brain.
- I want to work for a company that is….This question is important because the answer will tell you what is important in attracting and/or retaining employees, and it allows you to determine what you are doing well, or where you need to step up your game. But just as important as finding out the WHAT is finding out the WHY. For example, if a group answers that “community” is important to them, you need to find out what “community” means to that group. A group of college students might define it as community service, while a group of IT professionals might be referring to open source code or hackathons.
- More than any other company, this company has…. This is an especially useful question when it comes to comparing yourself to other businesses in your industry. It invites people to identify what they perceive as unique about your company versus a previous employer.
These questions are similar in nature but designed to draw out slightly different viewpoints, and within those viewpoints, there should be some commonalities that begin to emerge. That is the thread we spoke about. Keep pulling it until you unravel the truth about where you are and where you want to be. Then you can begin to create an effective employee branding message that will attract and retain the right people.