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Employer Branding

Developing an Employer Brand

An accomplished HR professional with such industry giants at DuPont, ARAMARK Healthcare and Teva Pharmaceuticals, Karen Piraino faced a formidable challenge when she became Global Director of Talent Acquisition for a newly formed company with aggressive growth plans.

Executives at DuPont had decided to spin off their performance coatings division – a thriving business with 120,000 customers worldwide and 2012 revenues of $4.3 billion. The Carlyle Group acquired the division, transformed it into Axalta Coating Systems, and launching the Philadelphia-based company onto an aggressive growth track.

Suddenly, Piraino was responsible for efforts to fill Axalta’s corporate offices, 35 manufacturing plants, seven R&D centers and 12,000-member workforce with smart, passionate, fast-moving, risk-taking professionals who could successfully drive growth across 130 countries.

To help achieve that objective, Piraino engaged in employment branding – a tool that is becoming increasingly important and potent in talent searches. Successful employment forges closer ties between a company’s marketing/communications and human resources departments in order to apply the best practices of corporate/product branding to attracting great employees. Together, those departments expand the company’s branding efforts to deliver a “employee value proposition” – a clear and compelling depiction of what employees could expect to get from the company and what they would be expected to deliver as staff members.

At Axalta, Piraino and other executives strengthened their employment brand by embedding it in the company’s overall branding and all corporate communications. To deliver the right message to employees and potential employees, they focused on the company’s core values and the key behaviors desired in its employees.

“Our culture is fast-paced, aggressive, results-oriented, highly accountable, risk-taking but with smart decisions about risk,” Piraino said.

Consequently, any communications related to employment at Axalta – including its corporate web site and product descriptions – began to convey that work culture both through words and visuals.

Developing an employment brand and making it a cohesive component of all corporate communications requires talent professionals to stretch beyond traditional recruiting activities. However, the effort also lets talent professionals tap powerful tools. After all, if branding can fuel enormous demand for Apple devices or other consumer products, it could also spur the best talent on the market to seek positions in your company.