Why Employer Brand Matters – And How We’re Leveraging More HR Expertise

A positive employer brand can make a world of difference in recruiting and retaining top talent.

More applicants. Faster hires. Reduced turnover. Everything employers need in a tight hiring market.

We explored these advantages, and strategies to achieve them, this week at our latest Talent Solutions Series event. We covered a lot of ground with some amazing experts (more details below) but this conversation is just getting started.

At the event, we announced the launch of the TalentFirst HR Council – a community of practice for the region’s top-level human resources and diversity, equity, and inclusion leaders.

The HR Council is an exclusive professional membership and networking group that works alongside our CEO Council and working groups. Its purpose is to:

  • PARTNER-CREATE-IMPROVE: Partner with regional HR & DEI leaders to create and improve upon existing solutions to common challenges.
  • INFLUENCE: Humanize TalentFirst data and research to influence policymakers through storytelling.
  • LEARN & INFORM: Learn from and inform each other of observations, opportunities, and experience.

Registration is now open for top-level HR and DEI leaders. Learn more so you can stay informed about upcoming events.


Building Your Employer Brand

Since its beginning last year, the Talent Solutions Series – based on our popular Talent Solutions Playbook – has provided a preview of the powerful insights that HR and DEI leaders are bringing to the discussion about ensuring West Michigan is a leading region for talent.

This week we heard how leaders are identifying, nurturing and communicating employer brand – what brand expert John Stap described in his keynote address as “an emotional contract with your employees, your candidates and your market.”

Stap, founder of STAP, StudioD and EmBrand, shared the process his firm uses to guide clients to craft an employee value proposition (EVP) and bringing it to life by telling stories to make an emotional connection.

The EVP needs to be honest, straightforward and clear – and it’s OK to include harsh realities, Stap said. In fact, he recommends thinking of it as a filter that both attracts the right candidate and repels those who are wrong for your organization.

Following his address, Stap joined a panel discussion facilitated by Seth Bushouse of Gentex Corporation and featuring Jennifer Boezwinkle of Rockford Construction, Kelli Cavasin, SPHR, of New Holland Brewing Company, and Laura Longstreet, SHRM-SCP, of Lumbermen’s Inc. Some takeaways from that discussion:

  • Listen to your team and what they value about your culture
  • Your employer brand must align with your business brand, or it’s not authentic
  • Consistency is key; reinforce your message
  • Mission, vision and values must be lived – they cannot just be “words on the wall”
  • Pay attention during hiring to ensure candidates can align with values
  • Spend time during onboarding to educate about those values
  • Marketing and communications must align with HR

Next up: HR Technology Trends & Efficiencies

The Talent Solutions Series concludes with an examination of how emerging technology is automating and building efficiencies in human resources.

Join us for lunch on March 29 at Frederik Meijer Gardens as we hear from HR leaders, practitioners and tech experts to discover leading solutions that can make your work life easier while enhancing the employee experience. You’ll learn how to leverage the latest technology to support and improve your HR services, regardless of your company size or industry.



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