What is Your Learning Brand?

Have you ever taken time to think about your organization’s learning brand? Chances are your employees and candidates have, and what they perceive could impact the organization in a variety of ways. While scanning the preliminary results from the 2015 Brandon Hall Group Employee Value Proposition research, I was surprised to read the number one response for why people join or stay at a company was “an opportunity for development or to gain experience.” Clearly this is something we should be considering, if it’s not already top of mind.

employer learning brand

The External Audience

Consider this scenario:

Your organization is recruiting top-tier candidates from various universities around the world. When they arrive for interviews, they begin asking not about compensation, but about learning opportunities, development options, and other avenues for personal/professional growth.

If your competition has those sorts of opportunities and your organization does not, it could hamper hiring efforts in the short term and deprive the company of much-needed talent in the long run.

This is similar in some ways to a previous exploration of career paths as an employee benefit. People need to know that there is more to the job than cranking out widgets day in and day out for the foreseeable future. Take time to highlight growth opportunities on your careers page. Discuss internal promotion opportunities. Find ways to make learning an integral part of the overall package you use to appeal to candidates in the marketplace.

The Internal Perception

Branding also has implications within the organization. In the 2015 Brandon Hall Group Hiring Practices Survey, only 23% of companies say they actively measure and manage their employer brand on a regular basis. When it comes down to it, most companies are just not focused heavily enough on branding.

Let’s turn the looking glass inward—specifically, how do people inside the organization perceive learning?

Is it simply a place to go and learn all of the “do not’s” that align with the organization’s policies?

Or is it an integrated part of everyday work, supporting employees when and where they need it to help them do their best work?

Years ago I saw someone post this on a forum for learning and HR professionals:

As part of our rebranding of HR we were asked to come up with a new name for our Human Resources department. Can you guys help me with your suggestions to rename our department?

My response then, and now, was pretty straightforward. Organizations should spend less time thinking about how they can change names and more about how they can actively demonstrate what value they have to offer.

How do people perceive your learning brand, either internally or externally? Is it truly compelling enough to be of interest to your candidates and employees, or is it merely an afterthought?

Ben Eubanks, Learning Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

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