Engaging Employees in Your Company Purpose: 4 Key Drivers & Why They Matter: Employer Branding Driven by Storytelling (part 4 of 4)

April 10, 2017by Mike LepisEmployee EngagementEmployer Branding


This the final blog post in a four-part series about the importance of strengthening employees’ connection to company purpose to drive engagement. Today I’ll wrap up my series by talking about the fourth driver of this critical connection: strong employer branding.

An employer brand drives the perception of your company

Employer branding is a buzzy term that gets thrown around a lot, particularly in the recruiting world. Here’s how we see it: A company’s consumer brand is based on its reputation in the marketplace for its product and services. A company’s employer brand is based on its reputation among employees for the role it plays in their lives, the support they get and how they are empowered by leadership to extend the company’s story.

As important as defining a consumer brand is, so too is defining your employer brand. Either you define your employer brand or employees will—and you may not like their definition.

A strong employer brand:

  • Attracts the right candidates who are better aligned to your purpose and values. They will see it and feel it in your branding, and they’ll self-select.
  • Keeps current employees energized and engaged. They will feel that the company is the right place for them, which helps boost retention.
  • Builds trust with both candidates and employees. When they see an employer brand that is driven by authentic voices of employees and culture, not only does it show you have nothing to hide, it shows you are a company with pride in your culture and brand.

Leverage Employer Brand to Attract Talent

Starbucks is a good example of a company who gets it, with a robust employer brand that heavily leverages social media to attract talent. Its @StarbucksJobs Twitter account enables current employees to share their love for the company and interact with potential candidates using the hashtag #tobeapartner. They’re empowered to share their stories and experiences about what it’s like to work there—essentially transforming the employee experience into a valuable marketing asset that attracts the right kind of talent to help fuel growth and innovation. Clearly, the ROI on Starbucks’ investment in its employer brand can be seen in a myriad of ways including beating employer turnover averages by 140%.

Zappos is another great example. It effectively leverages its entire workforce in the process of talent acquisition. A bold move, and a smart one. To do this, the company made two significant moves:

  1. It got rid of its job boards and job postings and instead empowered potential candidates to connect directly with employees to learn first-hand what it’s like to work there.
  2. They leveraged their social media channels.  Zappos shapes their employer brand by sharing pictures, updates, and videos on the company’s social media channels.

This shows real confidence in not just their employer brand,  but in their culture and their employees.

Employer branding empowers storytelling

Stories work. They’re authentic, accessible, relatable, emotional and shareable. Here are some tips on how to craft and amplify strong stories to build your employer brand:

  • Know your audiences. Who are you trying to engage — potential candidates or existing employees? These groups overlap. Newly recruited employees need to be engaged and feel validated in their decision to join the company.
  • Understand the mindset. Get an understanding of current attitudes among your audiences. Are they engaged and curious, are they concerned or checked out? Knowing this will help you deliver stories that resonate.
  • Craft quality content. Make it honest, timely and engaging. Invest in writers, designers, and producers when appropriate, but don’t be afraid to let employees tell grittier, first-person stories too.
  • Share stories widely. Leverage your channels—intranet, social media, events, etc.
  • Include a clear call to action. Give employees tangible steps to take to explore, engage and reflect.

Working with a purpose

So, four blog posts later, I hope I’ve convinced you about the importance of strengthening employees’ connection to the company purpose (and given you some ideas to try this year, too). You help employees do their best work by cultivating a die-hard belief in your company’s products and services; creating an inspiring physical environment; fostering a sense of teamwork and inclusion; and crafting an employer brand that’s linked to the employee experience.

And if this sounds like a tall order, remember: Employees want to be engaged. They want to connect to your company purpose. They want to feel that their work is meaningful and contributing to something greater in the world. They’re willing and ready to serve as powerful ambassadors. You just have to meet them there and show them the way.

If you missed the earlier posts in the series be sure to check them out in the links below.

  1. Belief in the company’s products and services
  2. Physical environments and amenities
  3. Diversity and Inclusion
  4. Employer branding driven by storytelling (current post)

Mike Lepis

As a Chief Strategy Officer, Mike leads our team to develop strategy, insights and creative solutions to drive employee engagement. He believes through human-centered design and strategic communications—employees will get behind a brand and its mission.