Your All-Remote Talent Brand: It’s NOT About the Perks

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Dave Gilbert
12/21/2020

Talent brand

In the relatively new field of employer branding (EB), many companies have mistakenly focused on the wrong questions.  

To name a couple: 

  • Aren’t our offices cool?   
  • Want to hear about our perks/benefits?  
  • Snacks, anyone? OK, then. Gyms? Nap pods? Etc.

The 2020 shift to “suddenly remote” has forced companies to re-imagine their EBs, shifting focus away from the superficial trappings of the offices they’ve recently had to close.    

READ: All Remote Candidate Experience Lessons from a VP of Recruiting 

As a small silver lining of the pandemic, that shift has brought the employer brand focus back to the right questions (where it should have been all along):

  • What’s your culture really like, and what makes you unique?
  • What values do you stand for, what behaviors define those values, and how do you authentically reinforce those across your company?
  • What are the hard problems you’re solving?  
  • What’s the real scoop on the team I’d be working with?  

All of us are seeking meaningful work. We find that meaning through shared human experiences and by collaborating with people who share our values.  

We don’t find it through the offices we used to work in, or the snacks we used to line up for.  

If you’re suddenly remote, and working on re-focusing your talent brand (or maybe just launching it for the first time), here are a few guiding principles that you may find helpful:   

Authentic Storytelling is Key

  • Bringing your culture and talent brand to life for candidates comes down to storytelling and encouraging your team to share their experiences. 
  • Encourage your team members to blog, post on social media, record videos, share on Glassdoor, etc. with their honest takes about life at the company. 
  • Those stories are especially important as we continue build a more diverse team, as people need to see themselves represented in the company/team they’re considering:
    • Create team “get to know you” videos from recruiters for a more personal touch.  
    • Social media and recruiting outreach campaigns about belonging help candidates picture themselves as part of your team. 

 Celebrate and Amplify Your Diversity (and if you’re global, that too!)

  • With 1,300+ team members globally and the ability to hire almost anywhere, we at GitLab face a unique challenge when it comes to messaging/platforms/tactics based on the many variations across the regions in which we hire. 
  • “One size fits all” messaging is never the best option. 
  • Lean on hiring teams and recruiters to help inform whether a certain platform or messages makes sense where you’re looking for talent. 

Everything is in Draft

  • Like the world, our companies are constantly changing, and it’s important that we continue to iterate on our messaging and approach to our talent brand. 
  • At GitLab, values themselves are ALL works in progress. We reinforce our values in 16 different ways, and we’ve had 115 updates to our values just in 2020 (so far)! 

It’s Not About the Perks

  • Many companies have focused their talent brand and recruiting messaging on the cool perks and physical benefits of being in their offices. These days, with many companies forced to suddenly navigate working from home, those things are stripped from the equation. 
    • It’s crucial to focus on the things that are at the core of YOUR culture -- what truly makes YOUR organization unique. 
  • At GitLab, we feel fortunate that we’ve been intentional about building our remote culture from the start. Our culture is built around our work style (outlined in our values and behaviors that define them) and camaraderie (created/maintained by informal communication). 
  • Our talent brand is centered around telling the story of our all-remote, globally diverse team, and how we come together to contribute. 

Our team is humbled and honored when we see our unique culture and talent brand recognized by other organizations. We’re a certified Great Place To Work, and proud to be listed among Fortune’s Best Medium Workplaces in 2020.   

Of course, as the world’s largest all-remote company, we are keenly aware that “place” refers to wherever our team members are.   

Please keep that in mind as you iterate on your company’s talent brand. 

Photo Courtesy of Stock Photo Secrets

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