Internal external employer branding? Are these the same, or different?
Or is internal employer branding the same as human resources management, or is it?
How does internal differ from external employer branding? Or internal communications?
In HR and employer branding, understanding the distinctions between internal and external branding is essential for building a robust and cohesive talent strategy.
This is an area of the Magnetic Employer Branding Method™️ I have not spoken that much about, as most of my audience and our clients have been more concerned about external employer branding.
But very recently, one of our clients brought this topic and distinction up as, being a very modern employer, they have now separated talent acquisition, HR, external and internal employer branding into separate functions and roles, like my model Talent Marketing Teams and asked me for training for internal employer branding.
Internal employer branding vs external employer branding
In this episode of the Building a Modern Employer Brand podcast, I will delve into the differences between internal and external employer branding, as I have defined them in the Magnetic Employer Branding Method™️ and the broader Talent Marketing Team Roles concept.
My name is Susanna Rantanen, and I am a talent marketing coach, consultant, and strategic employer branding advisor for business management.
This podcast is for those who want to learn how to build employer brands that attract and retain the talents the business needs for success.
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To help us navigate this topic, we’ll begin by defining these terms: internal and external employer branding.
What is Internal Employer branding?
Internal employer branding centers on how your organisation is perceived and experienced by your current employees.
It delves into the development of your company’s culture and employee experiences. It aims to connect your business strategy, company mission, customer promise and values with the overall employee experiences and career progression.
It’s crucial because a strong internal employer brand boosts commitment to goals, culture and delivering the customer promise. It improves employee engagement and retention and boosts advocacy inside and outside your organisation.
A strong internal employer brand boosts commitment to goals, culture and delivering the customer promise. It improves employee engagement and retention and boosts advocacy inside and outside your organisation.Susanna Rantanen
The way I see and have pinned this in the Magnetic Employer Branding Method™️ is to develop a strategic company culture that works as a vehicle in connecting your roles, ways of work, leadership expectations and people goals and objectives with the execution of the business strategy.
This may sound complicated when you first hear about it, but it will make sense and become logical as you learn more.
I guess the easiest way to grasp this is to see internal employer branding as a role where you contribute to growing internal awareness and commitment to the brand and developing the product behind the brand. And that product is formed by your strategic company culture and the employee experiences stemming from how you lead your people and enable them to have the better life experience.
What is external employer branding?
External employer branding focuses on how your company is perceived by potential candidates, job seekers, and the public.
It is mostly marketing and communicating on an emotional level to connect your ideal and relevant external talent audiences with what you represent and invite them to your employer brand story.
External employer branding is mostly marketing and communicating on an emotional level to connect your ideal and relevant external talent audiences with what you represent and invite them to your employer brand story.Susanna Rantanen
But it’s also about your reputation as an employer, how you treat your candidates, build your wider public and collaborate with your external stakeholders, and how you position yourself as a distinctive employer brand and differentiate yourself from your competition. And how you channel your prospects into your recruitment funnel to boost hiring success.
It’s about crafting an appealing image that attracts top talent, builds trust with customers and partners, and distinguishes your brand from competitors. When you succeed in building the Magnetic Employer Brand, it will grow your company’s brand value and competitive advantage.
Let’s explore the key differences between internal and external employer branding.
The key differences between internal and external employer branding
One key distinction lies in the internal external employer branding audience
Internal employer branding targets your current and former workforce, while external employer branding reaches a broader audience.
Your external target audience is your potential future employees and the general public, who may become your potential employees over the coming years or know your potential employees and can advocate for your company.
Messaging also differs between internal and external employer branding
Internally, you’ll emphasise reinforcing company values, fostering employee engagement, and career development.
What is highly critical during these times is also clarifying organisational changes, supporting change communication and getting the employee buy-in for those changes and transformations driven by the management.
Externally, it’s about showcasing competitive advantages and making the company culture and values more transparent.
In our employer brand marketing method, employer branding is also about helping the external stakeholders understand whether they see themselves as part of your employer branding story.
And how your organisation’s processes, benefits, leadership culture and values can help them build a better life and solve those career riddles that make them wonder whether their current situation continues to offer them what they need.
Communication channels also differ between internal external employer branding
Team leaders and other managers are the most effective communication channels for internal employer branding. Supporting them to deliver systematically the expected messages and fostering dialogue is key to successful internal employer branding.
Did you know that internal employer branding and communication greatly benefit from external employer brand communication as most employees are better reached on social media than on the company intranet?
Did you know that internal employer branding and communication greatly benefit from external employer brand communication, as most employees are better reached on social media than on the company intranet?Susanna Rantanen
This is where internal and external employer branding will collaborate closely, giving each other content or content ideas to share.
Externally, the most effective communication channels for employer branding continue to be social media. The choice of social media depends on the target audience’s preferences and profiles, but the primary social media tends to reach the best.
As your target audience moves forward on their Candidate Journey with your company, external channels can include email, direct messaging, and even meeting online or offline.
We should not forget the employer branding goals and objectives, as they also differ
I can’t and won’t stop highlighting data-driven employer branding, even though it still scares many people working with employer branding.
It’s imperative to understand the value for you personally and your work when you know what success looks like and can explain it simply.
In internal employer branding, your goals and objectives reflect directly in employee satisfaction to how well they understand what this company strives for, what are their career development opportunities, how they contribute to the company mission and what working according to our company culture means. Furthermore, decreasing retention is an excellent objective for internal employer branding.
In external employer branding, the goals and objectives stem from employer awareness, employer brand affinity and your employer brand’s level of attractiveness, making talent acquisition faster and more cost-effective and increasing the quality of applicants available for the recruitment interviews.
Some mutual elements in internal and external employer branding
Transparency is crucial for both. Employees and external audiences appreciate honesty and consistency in your messaging.
Building a strong company culture is also vital, as it helps create a unified brand image.
Additionally, storytelling is a powerful tool for both internal and external employer branding.
Sharing stories of employee success and growth to inspire your current team and potential hires is definitely a shared interest and valuable internally and externally.
And don’t forget about technology!
Technology plays a role in both, although it’s applied differently.
Internally, technology may be used for communication and collaboration, while externally, it’s often about online presence, automating marketing tasks, measuring online impact, and generating recruitment leads to the recruitment funnel.
Internally, technology may be used for communication and collaboration, while externally, it’s often about online presence, automating marketing tasks, measuring online impact, and generating recruitment leads to the recruitment funnel.Susanna Rantanen
To some extent, you will work closely together; to another extent, you have different stakeholders you collaborate with more closely than the other.
When it comes to communication and marketing, you work very closely feeding each other.
Working with data
But equally, when you work with marketing and target audience data, you should work closely together and invite talent acquisition in the data party as well!
Internally, you need the information [data provides you with] to help you stay competitive and externally, you need this information to win the competition.
Internally, you need the information [data provides you with] to help you stay competitive and externally, you need this information to win the competition.Susanna Rantanen
To some extent and depending on your personal competencies, skills and interests, internal employer branding collaborates closely with team leaders, HR and those people who are responsible for the company culture, benefits and internal communication.
External employer branding collaborates closely with marketing and PR people.
What does success look like for internal employer branding?
Success in internal employer branding is marked by deeply engaged employees who understand and embrace the company’s values. That is when your employees become brand advocates, both within and outside the organisation.
Reduced turnover and increased productivity are also indicators of internal employer branding success. As is employees’ commitment to adjust to new strategies and organisational changes. Reducing change resistance can play a huge role for someone working in internal employer branding.
To sum it up, internal employer branding is meant to help with retention, boost morale and excite employees to deliver customer promises and contribute to business success.
To sum it up, internal employer branding is meant to help with retention, boost morale and excite employees to deliver customer promises and contribute to business success.Susanna Rantanen
What does success look like for external employer branding?
External employer branding success is measured by attracting top talent effortlessly, having a strong employer reputation in the job market, and maintaining a loyal job seeker and customer base. It’s about standing out from competitors and having a consistent, positive online presence that leads the audience to take proactive steps with the organisations.
External employer branding is about standing out from competitors and having a consistent, positive online presence that leads the audience to take proactive steps with your organisation.Susanna Rantanen
Overall, internal and external employer branding are indispensable elements of a successful HR strategy.
Companies investing in internal and external employer branding can create a positive, consistent, and compelling brand image that attracts and retains top talent while building trust and loyalty with employees, customers, stakeholders and partners.
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My name is Susanna Rantanen and I’m your guide to building the modern and Magnetic Employer Brand!
Until next week!