How would you describe your work environment? Is it a dictatorship or democracy? Is it a cut-throat or supportive environment? Is it an environment of slackers or go-getters? How is your workplace different than other companies or firms in your field? In other words, what sets your company apart from the crowd?  

When most people hear the word “branding” they think of product and trademark branding. Indeed, these are key components to the advertisements consumers are bombarded with daily. What about other types of branding? A couple of weeks ago Steve Baird blogged about the personal branding that we all build. It got me thinking about other types of branding such as “employer branding.” The image of your organization as a “great place to work” in the mind of current employees and key stakeholders in the external market (active and passive candidates, clients, customers and other key stakeholders). Employer branding (or employment branding) involves the “attraction, engagement and retention initiatives targeted at enhancing a company’s employer brand.”  I read an article regarding “4 Ways to Look at the Strength of Your Brand” by Ryan Estis who also has e-books and podcasts on the topic. The four ways include: (1) authenticity (day-to-day work experience), (2) differentiation (what gives the company its competitive advantage), (3) compelling (differentiation must command attention) and (4) consistency (test different things and measure how they are working). 

Applying these principles, the day-to-day work experience for the hospital Seattle Grace in the fictional television show “Grey’s Anatomy” could be described as: high energy, high production, teamwork and supportive co-workers when needed, romantic entanglements, no work/life balance and competitive. The differentiation element would include the unique and interesting individuals that work at the hospital. This is the perception of others (or at least me). By interviewing the workforce, much more data about Seattle Grace would be uncovered.   

During turbulent economic times, employer branding is perhaps even more important.  Companies want to retain the talent that they have and attract new talent that may be poised to change jobs.  Who knows, successful employer branding might land your company on the "Best Places to Work" list.