This is definitely true for those who are unfamiliar with the brand (which is us, in the above case) but what about the ones who do? Your friends? Family? How does it work for them?
Branding is the process of creating a distinct identity for a business in the mind of your target audience. But what happens when your target audience is your organization’s employees? The heart and soul of the organization you lead and represent?
It has recently become trendy to talk about “internal branding”, how do you highlight your value proposition and distinguish yourself from others to your own people? While this is a good exercise to think about that, I can’t help but wonder – is it really similar to classical branding? Do you need to plan activities to get the word out? Or do you achieve that differently?
This is not a simple time to work in the tech industry. The first and second half of 2022 looked like they were taken from two very different times in history – in the first half – companies’ war on talent was at its peak. If you are a developer and did not get at least 5 job offers a day, something was off. The second half – massive layoffs, and not just start-ups – the big boys too. Insecurity in the market, and a feeling that the worst is yet to come.
Although the tables have turned quite a bit, as an employer, you still want to have the best employees, you want them to stay and you want to keep them motivated. One of the many things you need to do to accomplish that is to make them aware of the value they are getting by working for you, and the typical way to do it is to develop a strategy and plan around internal branding.
In this period, internal branding has become trickier than ever. Many companies have moved from publishing glamorous events to responding to recent layoffs and the internal messaging has become a challenge (while there is ambiguity about the future you still want to communicate a clear and solid message about your future and develop that company-related pride among your team).
As a VP of Human Resources, it is one of my areas of responsibility to highlight our unique value proposition to employees. While I could build a phased action plan and plan for the last detail of it, what I prefer to do is stick to the values we believe in, communicate them proudly whenever we can and simply walk the talk. Yes, sometimes you would appear in a newspaper article, or post an occasional social media post on one of your latest achievements, but how would your employee know that they are working in a great place? They just feel it. One of the most important values of Tufin, for example, is treating others with respect and care. When you really do that – employees feel that. They are treated well by their managers, they are encouraged to treat vendors and customers they work with honesty and fairly, so they just know.
Do you need your name to be out there for employees to feel pride? For sure.
Do you need to create unique activities for this specific goal? Not so much.
The real art of the trade is to take what you have and is working and highlight it to the world every once in a while. It doesn’t always need to be glamorous or luxurious, it just has to be, well… real.
So I could potentially go on and on about how to create a plan around this, but at the end of the day – when it comes to building or maintaining your reputation as an employer of choice – you don’t always have to sweat it. Simply walk the talk. Your employees will appreciate that. How is that for value proposition?
So if I was asked to give tips for how to achieve that internal pride – I am not sure there is a secret sauce - highlight the good things, celebrate success, and if and when you need to make some difficult decisions, do it with the people in mind, and more importantly, in the heart. Maybe it does not take a great organizational vision to do, but sometimes it’s those simple but important steps that go a long way.
Perhaps Branding is the way you act, the values you go by, and the way you walk the talk. If there is some colour in it – let it shine, and put it out there, but internal branding is the art of talking about what is already there, because you believe it should be, realizing it is a thing, and capturing that moment.
Written by Tali Inbar VP of Human Resources at Tufin