Best Practices


5 goals for the words you use

Words matter, and the words you use for your employer brand matter a lot. The language of your employer brand conveys tone of voice, communicates cultural attitudes, and suggests the aspirations of employees who choose to work at your company instead of anywhere else.

Because the language of an employer brand is an important business decision, it often involves multiple decision makers. That’s as it should be — but having various stakeholders help write the language, usually by adding in more words here and there, generally does not improve the effectiveness of the communication.

Leave the laundry list of rational reasons for working at your company — from compensation and benefits to recognition, development and all the rest — to your employee value proposition. The employer brand promise reflects the emotional experience of employees at your company.

Here are a handful of things to keep in mind as you’re honing the language of your employer brand:

Image Placeholder

Be real

The language of your employer brand should reflect what employees actually say about working at your company. During the discovery phase interviews and focus groups with employees, we often glean bits of language that we incorporate into the employer brand — verbatim. If it sounds like conversation you might overhear at work, you’re in a good place.

Image Placeholder

Be romantic

We don’t mean you should use flowery language, but that the language you use should describe the way employees feel on their very best days at work. What are the emotional reasons they chose your company instead of anywhere else? You want the language to express the passion of employees for their own work and the collective work of the company.

Image Placeholder

Know your niche

Your employer brand isn’t meant to attract every job candidate out there. You want to appeal to the ones who want what your culture offers. That can inform the employer brand tone of voice, as well as the language itself. For instance, an organization working toward social equity would probably use a different tone than one for a fintech startup company.

Image Placeholder

Check for meaning

If your company is global, make sure the words used in your employer brand are suitable for all relevant languages and cultures. (Don’t depend on Google Translate for that; better to check with actual human beings.) An idiom or expression might not translate well, or a phrase that translates fine word for word may not resonate or inspire in one or more cultures.

Image Placeholder

Embrace the jokes

On rare occasions, it makes sense to incorporate humor. If there are running jokes about working at your company, pay attention. They can be clues to what makes employees proud of your culture and the type of people it attracts. Language that points to company wide shared humor or quirkiness can build feelings of community and belonging.

How can we help?

Tribe does internal communications – and that’s all we do. We’re a full-service shop, from audits and strategy to creative and production.

Steve Baskin
President and Chief Strategy Officer
Office: (404) 256-5858
Mobile: (404) 663-7910
[email protected]