Despite its’ recent popularity, employer branding is still fairly immature. In fact, less than half of companies we surveyed are investing in employer branding this year. Companies understand it is important but often do not know where to start or what role technology can play in attracting talent. And for those companies investing in employer branding tools, only 55% are satisfied with their providers.

How can companies improve their employer branding efforts? How can they find more value in their strategies and technology options? Last week, I attended HCI’s Talent Acquisition conference and learned a thing or two about employer branding from the Head of Talent Acquisition at Ericsson.

Several years ago, Ericsson transformed from a telecommunications company to an ICT and software services provider. Not only, did it need to think about how it would represent the new business in the marketplace but also, how it would attract talent. At the time, employer branding was not aligned with any corporate communications and lacked an element of story-telling. Ericsson needed to find a way to make the company more exciting to candidates and communicate why someone would want to work there.

Below is what they decided to change:

  1. Encourage Employee Advocacy: With 120,000 employees and 100 nationalities, Ericsson recognized that not every individual would be brand ambassadors, but everyone should have the right messages and tools to be able to talk about the brand in the same way. Ericsson developed an App that gives employees an opportunity to fully understand what their employer brand is and talk about the exciting things that the company is doing.
  2. Invest in Social: By moving to Social Chorus (an employee engagement app), employees have the ability to build their personal brands within the company and share those messages externally. With this tool, Ericsson’s employees were sharing the brand 4 to 5 times more. LinkedIn Elevate also provides a powerful platform for Ericsson. Since running the pilot, the company had 24,000 job shares that they had not seen before.
  3. Target Candidates: Ericsson is able to leverage technology to create a personal and human experience for candidates and employees. It targets talent by skills, jobs, and diversity. It leverages various strategies for each of these groups. For example, it created a “Women in Tech” Quiz that captures information and engages with women about their careers. It also provided a great deal of support for the UN’s “HE for SHE” campaign and had its male employees participate. For Black History Month, Ericsson highlighted a number of its employees as well as African Americans outside of the company that have achieved success in STEM careers.
  4. Disrupt the Conversation: In an effort to stay relevant and reach candidates on a different level, Ericsson would disrupt Twitter conversations about popular TV shows and get involved with the conversation. Ericsson also invited girls to be guest bloggers on its career blog to promote Girls in ICT and Girls in STEM.

We hear so many presentations about why employer branding is important but few about how companies are strengthening their efforts. Overall, Ericsson achieved success by being innovative, empowering employees to participate, and leveraging technology in a more human way.