What Netflix Can Teach Us About Employer Branding Post-Pandemic

Whether you like it or not, you have an employer brand. Every business does. It represents how your employees and external candidates see your business; whether they trust and respect you as an employer or not. As much as we’d like to, we can’t control people’s perceptions which means we can’t control our employer brand in the eyes of employees and candidates. However, what businesses can control is the messaging they put out into the world and how they choose to showcase themselves as an employer.

When it comes to communicating your employer brand, there have been many changes in recent months. Priorities are changing, many businesses are working remotely, we’re all spending more time online and the recruitment landscape has altered dramatically. As competition for talent grows and employers’ reputations are on the line, it’s no longer as simple as posting a photo of the office on social media to showcase who you are as an employer.

One business that has mastered the art of employer branding and communicating their employer brand messaging over the past few months is Netflix.

We’ve rounded up some of the lessons that we’ve learnt from their employer brand practices recently and how it can be adapted to your own recruitment strategies.

Compassion is king

A recent LinkedIn Talent Solutions study found that a sensitive, compassionate and inclusive approach to your employer branding is key to is success. The study found that communicating empathy and authentically showcasing your company is a better long-term solution for growing loyal and lasting connections. This is only set to amplify. We don’t need to remind you that 2020 has been a very strange year which has left many people appreciating the value of empathy and human connections. However, this year has shown us that your employer brand should take current attitudes into consideration and you should adapt your messaging if necessary. For example, in the rise of the Black Lives Matter protests this year, Netflix were among the first to put out a statement and recognised their black employees. They also created a specific BLM section on their site and made a large donation to the cause to help show their commitment to equality.

More recently, it’s becoming clear that many people are growing fed up of negative news stories and constantly hearing about COVID-19; which is why Netflix are no longer talking about it. Their brand is about entertainment, and while they recognise that COVID-19 is important, they don’t feel that their employees and future employees need to hear about it from them 24/7 – after all Netflix is a distraction for its customers. They’ve proven that being sensitive with the employer brand content you put out, making sure it fits with your brand and participating in (or consciously not joining in with) wider conversations.

Culture over perks

The coronavirus pandemic has led to a shift in what candidates and employees consider important. Previously, perks like unlimited holidays, bringing your dog to work or a bright pink office could have been the deciding factor in whether you are an employer of choice. Now, it’s all about your company culture and the people within your organisation. Netflix created an external brand WeAreNetflix, with designated social media accounts and YouTube channels so that people could gain an exclusive behind the scenes look at life working for the media giant.

Marquise McCoy, employer brand manager at Netflix said: “It’s all about encouraging people to work with us and making sure that they see Netflix as a place where they can belong. People can really get a behind-the-curtain look at Netflix. We want them to feel excited and let them know that they can be proud of the work that we are producing and have it all reflect them and their teams.”

They’ve shown that if you want people to join your organisation for the right reasons, and not because they can finish work early on a Friday, then your employer brand cannot focus on perks alone. Instead, you need to focus on the meaningful aspects of your business; what are your future goals, what cultural values do you adhere to and how do you treat your people? Showcase what is meaningful to you and your team and your employer brand will adopt another dimension. You’ll attract likeminded candidates who are passionate about what your business is trying to achieve and is the right cultural fit for you. Perks are great but they shouldn’t define who you are and what you’re trying to achieve; that should be left to your people and values.

Embrace creative content styles

When it comes to promoting your employer brand, you need to create content that is uniquely you. You aren’t like every other employer in the world, so there’s no point in sharing generic content that could be talking about anyone. In fact, the more creative you are with your employer brand strategy and recruitment marketing, the more you’ll stand out to future candidates. Communicate your messages in ways your ideal candidates and existing employees will relate to but also in a way that shows who you are as an employer.

For example, when creating WeAreNetflix as a sub-brand to showcase their company culture and employee stories, Netflix didn’t just settle for a few social media posts and a careers website; instead they created a podcast which engages employees in conversations and creates engaging, alternative content. As a brand whose purpose is to entertain, they decided to approach their employer branding and recruitment marketing by doing what they do best. It entertains, educates and presents real-life stories from Netflix employees. The podcast is now in its 3rd season and has had over 1 million downloads, proving that getting creative with your content can really work in your favour.

Netflix also conducted a video conference with its Employee Resource Group (ERG) Leads from around the world, including people who represent Pride, Mental Health and Black ERGs. This captured the community, commitment to diversity and mental wellbeing of everyone within the organisation. By using a creative content-led approach to promote WeAreNetflix the company was able to build a following of potential candidates, amplify its message, showcases its company culture, and create a strong employer brand.

Conversation, conversation, conversation

An authentic employer brand strategy begins with truly understanding your market, reputation and employee experiences. You must understand your people, their priorities and your business goals before you even consider hiring new talent. This is where Netflix’s podcast is a stroke of genius. To gain an insight into employee perspectives and that of candidates within your industry’s job market, you need to have conversations.

No employer can assume what their employees are thinking or feeling, nor can they be in tuned to the minds of job seekers. Having conversations is the first step to understanding what you’re doing well and what needs to change. Let your people, and the people you wish to relate to, speak for you and inform what your employer brand should represent.

 If you’re worried that employees won’t be honest with you about their experiences, outsource your recruitment market research. Market research agencies can conduct focus groups and gain insight through creative methods which dig deeper and can gain a better perspective. These findings can be used to see how your employees really feel and inform the formation of your EVP and employer brand.

Content that resonates with the right people

Be intentional about the content you’re putting out there. Don’t just post on social media for the sake of it but consider the entire strategy behind each post or the reasoning behind each blog. Netflix have done this well with their WeAreNetflix brand, curating the content carefully so it’s engaging and relevant to their target candidates. Ask yourself; why am I posting about this? What does it say about you as an employer? Who will resonate and relate to it?

When using content marketing to promote your employer brand, developing an emotional connection should be a priority. You need to consider how your content will connect with people, tailoring the messaging to appeal to your ideal candidates or existing employees. Appealing to people on an emotional level will help you to stick out in their minds and will help them think of you as an employer of choice. Remember, an emotional level can be making them laugh, making them smile or just appealing to their desires and interests.

You also need to factor remote working into your employer branding communication strategy. If your work offers remote working and office working, showcase both elements. 55% of businesses globally offer some capacity for remote work and after the Coronavirus crisis, it’s something candidates want; therefore, only showing office life isn’t going to resonate with a lot of people. For those who are still working from home, they may find it harder to relate to working in an office environment and anyone who prefers a more flexible approach to working may be deterred from applying for a job with you if they can’t see it’s a possibility. You must show your culture from all angles to be able to resonate with the right people and create an authentic employer brand.

Remember your employer brand is complex. It changes and evolves alongside your business and employees. You can’t run one social media campaign or give your office a funky makeover and expect the attitudes of your staff to change. Your employer branding strategy must be constantly adaptable.

If you need help refining your employer brand strategy and communicating it to the right audiences where they spend their time, contact us today.