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“Branding is an emotional connection, make it a priority.”
– Beth Rudai, Senior HR Manager, TD Bank


engin [hearts] employer brandsEmployer branding is the process of creating a positive image of a company as an employer in the minds of potential and current employees, and is important in helping companies attract and retain top talent. With a strong employer brand, a company is more likely to be perceived as a desirable place to work, which can lead to more qualified candidates applying for jobs and fewer employees leaving the company.

In this blog post, engin looks at 5 aspects of strategic and tactical approaches.

Key benefits  How a strong employer brand can help companies attract top talent, improve employee retention, reduce recruiting costs, and boost morale and productivity

Strategies + best practices  Emphasizing transparency, diversity, and innovation creates a positive employer brand 

Who’s doing it right?  To attract and retain top talent in the cannabis industry, leading companies are authentic, focus on their people, showcase their company culture, use social media, and attend industry events

Behavioral science behind employer branding  Employer branding strategies can be more effective by leveraging behavioral science principles such as social proof, reciprocity, anchoring and framing, emotional connection, cognitive dissonance, and loss aversion.

Employer branding emerging around us  The cannabis industry can teach – and learn from – other emerging industries about the importance of authenticity, transparency, and innovation in employer branding.

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4 key benefits of employer branding 

Attracting top talent
A strong employer brand can help companies attract top talent by making them more visible to potential candidates.
Improving employee retention
A strong employer brand can help companies improve employee retention by making employees more likely to stay with the company.
Reducing recruiting costs
A strong employer brand can help companies reduce recruiting costs by making it easier to find qualified candidates.

Boosting morale and productivity
A strong employer brand can boost morale and productivity by making employees feel more connected to the company and its mission.

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Strategies + practices

For an emerging industry like cannabis, general strategies and practices should be considered for effective employer branding, including:

Transparency + education
Given the evolving legal and social landscape of the cannabis industry, companies can focus on transparency and education. Sharing information about the company’s mission, values, compliance with regulations, and commitment to responsible consumption can foster trust and credibility.

Diversity + inclusion
Emphasize – and demonstrate – a commitment to diversity and inclusion in company branding. Highlight efforts to build a diverse workforce that reflects the community and customer base being served.

Professional development
Showcase opportunities for professional growth and development within the company. This could include highlighting career paths, training programs, and mentorship initiatives.

Community involvement
Highlight your company’s involvement in the local community. This could include partnerships with local organizations, charitable initiatives, or sustainability efforts.

Work-life balance
Emphasize a healthy work-life balance, especially in an industry that can sometimes face stigma. Showcase how your company supports employees’ well-being and mental health.

Innovation + research
If a company is involved in research or innovation within the cannabis industry, this should be presented and amplified in communications. Positioning a company as a pioneer driving positive change in the industry can impact job seekers, customers, and may be locally newsworthy.

Employee testimonials
Featuring authentic stories from employees about their experiences working at a company can provide potential candidates with insights into the company culture and work environment.

Social media engagement
Utilizing social media platforms can showcase behind-the-scenes glimpses of workplace culture, employee activities, and initiatives. Interactive content can further engage audiences.

Thought leadership
Sharing cannabis industry-centric educational content demonstrates expertise and can be deployed via blog posts, videos, and/or webinars that provide insights into industry trends, regulations, and developments.

Awards + recognition
Company awards and/or industry and even peer recognition for its practices or products, feature these accolades can be featured prominently in branding and communications.

Unique benefits
Highlighting unique benefits or perks that a company offers (e.g. flexible work arrangements, wellness programs, or discounts on cannabis products, where legal) can help a company stand out from the pack.

Career growth opportunities
Illustrating how employees can grow within the company and showcasing examples of individuals who have advanced in their careers since joining the organization illustrate a healthy company culture that holds promise to new hires.

Most important to keep in mind is that  successful employer branding is about authenticity. It’s important to genuinely reflect company culture, values, and practices. 

Keeping an eye on the latest trends and developments in the cannabis industry help the creation of effective branding efforts. As the industry rapidly grows and evolves, employer branding is more important than ever for companies in this space. 

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Who’s doing it right?

The engin sciences team has had the pleasure of working with several exemplary cannabis employer brands.

Columbia Care logoColumbia Care  engin’s Talent Insights Platform Report analyzed the importance of employee sentiment within cannabis organizations and reported that Columbia Care has an impressive record of maintaining a 3-out-of-5 rating on Glassdoor, matching multiple industry averages. Columbia care operates in 18 different US states across every vertical in cannabis, with Glassdoor feedback consistently reporting fair benefits packages backed by a strong company culture.

simply pure logoSimply Pure  One of the first 11 recreational businesses in New Jersey and the first Social Equity license holder, Simply Pure has excelled in the ability to recruit effectively in preparation for their retail opening. Simply Pure strives to have a tight-knit community of employees that highlights their company culture while being incredibly knowledgeable on products being sold. Social equity is held close to the heart by Simply Pure, receiving a multitude of published articles and interviews with their CEO & Founder, Tahir Johnson.

STIIIZY logoSTIIIZY  Fast-growing cannabis company STIIIZY is revolutionizing the industry with its state of the art THC delivery systems that facilitate the sale of products in five states. STIIIZY is committed to providing high-quality cannabis products and excellent customer experiences —and considers engin as a valued partner. 

What other examples of effective cannabis industry employer branding come to your mind?

By focusing on their culture, values, and benefits, these companies are able to attract and retain top talent in a competitive market. Each of these companies pursue key actionables for effective employer branding in the cannabis industry, including:

Be authentic
Be genuine and transparent about your company’s culture and values. This will help you attract candidates who are a good fit for your company.

Focus on your people
Your employees are your most valuable asset. Make sure to highlight their stories and successes on your website and social media.

Showcase your company culture
What makes your company unique? What are the benefits of working for you? Be sure to share this information with potential candidates.

Use social media
Social media is a great way to connect with potential candidates and share your company’s story. Be sure to use relevant hashtags and post interesting content to attract attention.

Attend industry events
Attending industry events is a great way to network with potential candidates and learn about the latest trends in the cannabis industry.

By following these tips, you can create an employer brand that will attract top talent to your cannabis company.

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Behavioral science behind employer branding 

Joh B Watson, American psychologist who popularized the scientific study of behaviorism

John Broadus Watson (1878-1958) introduced the scientific theory of behaviorism in 1913, which remains a central and constantly evolving discipline including cognitive science studies.

Social proof and social influence
Behavioral science shows that people tend to conform to the actions and behaviors of others, especially in uncertain situations. Employer branding can leverage this principle by showcasing positive testimonials, success stories, and endorsements from current employees. When potential candidates see that others have had positive experiences working for a company, they are more likely to be influenced to consider that company as a favorable employer.

The principle of reciprocity suggests that when someone receives something valuable, they are more likely to feel obligated to give back in return. In employer branding, offering valuable content, such as career advice, industry insights, or educational resources, can trigger a sense of reciprocity in potential candidates. They may be more inclined to engage with your company and consider your job opportunities.

Anchoring and framing
Anchoring is the cognitive bias where people rely heavily on the first piece of information they receive when making decisions. Framing is presenting information in a way that influences perception. In employer branding, these principles can be applied by framing job descriptions, salary ranges, and benefits in a way that sets positive expectations. For example, highlighting the unique benefits and growth opportunities in your job descriptions can anchor candidates’ perceptions toward the positive aspects of working for your company.

Emotional connection
Emotions play a significant role in decision-making. Effective employer branding creates an emotional connection with potential candidates by showcasing the company’s values, culture, and mission. Behavioral science suggests that emotional resonance can lead to stronger engagement and a more positive perception of the employer brand.

Cognitive dissonance
This theory explains that individuals experience discomfort when they hold conflicting beliefs or attitudes. In the context of employer branding, companies can use cognitive dissonance to encourage potential candidates to align their self-perception with the image presented by the company. This can be achieved by emphasizing shared values and experiences.

Loss aversion
Behavioral science indicates that people are more motivated to avoid losses than to attain gains. In employer branding, creating a sense of urgency or scarcity in job openings can leverage this principle. For example, using phrases like “limited positions available” can prompt candidates to take action to avoid missing out.

These behavioral science principles can inform effective employer branding strategies.

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Employer branding emerging around us

Cannabis has plenty to teach (and learn from) other emerging industries benefiting from building a strong employer brand. Building a strong employer brand is advantageous for attracting and retaining top talent in a many of emerging industries in the US:

Renewable energy Sustainable tech Healthtech/digital health e-commerce/direct-to-consumer brands Fintech/digital finance Edtech/online learning Agtech Space exploration/aerospace Cybersecurity/data privacy Genomics/personalized medicine  Smart cities/urban tech Electric/autonomous vehicles Biodegradable plastics/sustainable materials Remote work/collaboration tools  Virtual/augmented reality Clean beauty/wellness Waste management + recycling Neurotech/brain-computer interfaces Hydrogen energy/fuel cells Internet of Things Quantum computing  3D printing/additive manufacturing

Building a strong employer brand in these emerging industries is essential for attracting top talent, fostering innovation, and positioning companies as leaders in their respective fields. engin invites you to look under our hood to see how emerging industries like cannabis employer brands are making a difference in the market, workplace, and our culture at large.

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