3 Tips for Prioritizing Your 2015 Employment Branding Initiatives

We each get 24 hours in the day and I think that most of us would agree that all of them should not be spent working. Assuming that most full-time, U.S. employees work approximately 2,000 hours per year … how do you take the time you’re given and make the most of it? Specifically, when it comes to employment branding, how do you research, plan, create, execute, measure, and assess everything that you want to do?

3 Tips for Prioritizing Your 2015 Employment Branding Initiatives

I often feel that there isn’t enough time in the day, week, or year to accomplish everything on my work wish list. Though over the years, I’ve found that prioritizing my priorities is a most worthwhile exercise. Here are three critical tips for building your 2015 employment branding priorities, without driving yourself (or your team) crazy.

Distinguish Must-Haves & Nice-to-Haves

The world of employment branding and recruitment marketing seems to have a never-ending list of strategic and tactical items. Recruiters need quality applications. New technologies pop up all the time. Competition for talent is on the rise. Glassdoor reviews make you cringe. You’ve got a list a mile long that includes everything from content marketing and career site analytics, to applicant tracking systems and campus tchotchkes.

With so much opportunity to amplify your employer brand, how can you distinguish between what needs to be done and what’s a nice-to-have?

One way to prioritize, that I have found helpful, is to clearly layout key objectives–my MBOs. For you, they could be Brand Awareness, Job Awareness, and Recruiter Enablement. If something does not clearly align with one of your objectives, it makes it a bit easier to say no to. The shiny, new dashboard with all the bells and whistles might be nice, but if your team still struggles with posting jobs, you may have to pass on it (for now) and focus on getting the fundamentals down.

Evaluate Your Plans Wisely, Objectively

Once you have your 2015 wish list, I recommend looking at each item and categorizing them based upon Effort, Impact, Cost, and Reach (audience). For me, using Excel works well, as I can easily create and sort action items and ideas, based upon decision-driving categories. Under each category include whether it’s High, Medium, or Low. As someone who is very visual, I like this approach as I can clearly see each item and begin to more easily prioritize them.

If something is low effort/high impact/low cost/high reach, it almost becomes a no-brainer to proceed. Whereas, if something is high effort/low impact, I may pass or put it as a potential Q4 item, if there is time and it still seems to make sense to implement.

Know Your Limits & Others’ Capacity

In the world of employment branding or recruitment marketing, you often rely heavily on the time, energy, and talent of colleagues, as well as the budget dollars from other departments or hiring teams. Therefore, it’s important to understand what they are planning to accomplish in 2015.

If your plan includes redesigning the corporate career site–but IT has several other competing priorities–that may change the level of effort or cost. If your plans include redesigning the entire library of digital and print recruitment collateral–but your Marketing team is short-staffed–that may impact your plan or deliverable timeline. Starting conversations now (or two months ago) will help you understand what can be accomplished–by when and by whom.

I also think it’s important to know your limits. Recently, in an article titled Seven tips to avoid burning out before Christmas, the author writes that “there are limits to what you can do … Know how hard you can push yourself without burning out.” I think this rings true throughout the year, not just at the end of it. If you can plan a comprehensive, yet realistic picture of 2015, you can hopefully push yourself to accomplish a great deal without stressing or burning out.

Yes, that is easier said than done.

Have a Tip? Share It!

What are your tips for planning for a great year in employment branding? Any budget tips or tricks that you’ve learned along the way that you’d like to share? If so, please do so below.

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Shannon Smedstad

Shannon Smedstad has nearly 20 years of recruitment, employer branding, and communications experience. Currently, she serves as the Principal Employer Brand Strategist at exaqueo. Previously, she held employer branding and recruiting leadership roles at CEB and GEICO. She’s a work at home mom raising two awesome girls who also enjoys reading, running, leading a Girl Scout troop, and her morning coffee. You can connect with Shannon on LinkedIn and Twitter.


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