April 26

Episode 120: What is an Employer Brand? And Why is it Important?


In today’s episode, Mike talks with Amit Parmar. Amit is the co-founder and CEO of Cliquify. Cliquify is an employer branding platform for recruiters and hiring managers to showcase their company and to create media buzz across social media.

Amit Parmar’s Bio

Co-Founder & CEO, Cliquify

Amit brings over 16 years of domain expertise in HR with Fortune 100 companies. He started his career with IBM in 2004 where he implemented global HR systems and talent analytics offerings. He then joined Deloitte. where he worked on large HR transformation engagements for multi-national clients. In 2006 he joined Unisys and served in HR & Talent Management roles over time. As a Global Vice President of Talent he designed and led worldwide teams in the areas of talent attraction, talent management, learning, growth and engagement.

Amit has HR thought leadership publications with the Forbes HR Leadership Council and is an active member of the Society of Human Resource Management. Graduate of INSEAD’s hyper-accelerator program for tech startups and holds a Master’s Degree in HR from Rutgers University. He enjoys giving back to the community by helping high school and college students with career advice and coaching high potential leaders.

Topics in This Episode
  • Cliquify’s platform allows employees to share authentic content about their experiences, thereby creating a genuine employer brand.
  • Companies can use the platform to get a better understanding of their employees’ needs and preferences, such as benefit packages and workplace celebrations.
  • Celebrations are a top category of content shared on the platform, reflecting the importance of recognizing and appreciating employees’ contributions.
  • The platform can also be used to inform talent strategy, diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, and to gauge the performance of specific job postings.
  • A key takeaway for listeners is to think beyond job postings and focus on what makes their company unique in order to attract and retain talent.
  • Sharing content about company culture, beyond just job postings, can drive higher quality traffic to job listings and help attract the right talent.
  • The pandemic has shifted the way people work, with more employees working remotely, making it even more important to engage and celebrate team members in a distributed workforce.
  • A major mindset shift is required to move away from a singular focus on sharing job postings and instead share other aspects of the company culture and employee experience.
  • Paychecks are important, but other factors such as a great boss, team environment, and recognition play a significant role in retaining and attracting talent.

Links & Resources Mentioned…


Read The Transcript

Mike O'Neill: Welcome back to the Get Unstuck and On-Target podcast. I'm Mike O'Neal with Bench Builders and with leadership coaching and people skills training, we help companies solve the people problems that are slowing their growth. Joining me today is Amit Parmar. Amit is the co-founder and CEO of Cliquify.

Cliquify is an employer branding platform for recruiters and hiring managers to showcase their company and to create media buzz across social media. And so I wanna welcome you. Welcome Amid.

Amit Parmar: Well, thank you, Mike. I appreciate you and excited to be here.

Mike O'Neill: I have to start because I love the name Clicky and let me go ahead and spell it for those who haven't seen it.

C L I Q U I F Y. Tell me more about that name. Why'd you name your company that?

Amit Parmar: That's a great question. So, you know, in my years of being a talent leader and going out there and attracting and retaining talent what I found were your best talent came from within your networks.

And so the word click is really like, like clicks, right? And as we're thinking about our, creating a buzz about your culture, which is our, which what our platform does, that name kind of just stuck. And these days in the online age people generally tend to click places online if they wanna learn about your company, right?

So, that's kind of the genesis of the word Cliquify.

Mike O'Neill: Well, I think it's a perfect name. So, in terms of the top that we're going to be chatting about, it really kind of centers around this idea of creating an employer brand. And so why don't we first tackle that? What, in your opinion, is an employer brand and why is it important?

Amit Parmar: Yeah. You know, it is suchh a critical question and I'm sure you, if you ask 10 people, they'll have 10 different definition of employer branding. You're not in our point of view. It's everything that your company stands for. Your core beliefs, how you treat your employees how do you celebrate your employees and your culture.

You know, what kind of benefits do you offer? So all the things in our terms, it's the value proposition, if you will for an employee as well as a candidate. And the reason we mention employees first is because it's an inside out veiw. You gotta kind of correct and make sure that the employee experience is phenomenal.

Only then are you able to actually build a, an employer brand that is real, so that when you're selling it to potential candidates and when they come to, come and join your culture and your company. They're not shocked in any way. Right? And that's how we think about employer branding.

So there are all kinds of value prop categories that fall within that for us.

Mike O'Neill: You know, it's interesting you mentioned it's just kind of an inside out approach, and that is before you can be successful in attracting people to your organization, you wanna make sure that those who are already there could be good advocates for your company. What do companies oftentimes get wrong when it comes to that?

Amit Parmar: Oh, wow. You know, I should say, what do they get right first? I'm all about positivity, right. And you know, I think a lot of companies what they do well is they do recognize the importance of the experience that they're providing to their employees, their alumni, right?

So when you offboard somebody, how are you treating that individual? I do believe they're doing an amazing job at that. What they're not doing, however, and this is one of the reasons why we actually built something like Cliquify, is actually taking those amazing stories that are happening across the board, especially if you're a global organization, Mike, there are all these things that happen in local, you know, countries or local offices or local sites.

That are, you know, little stories, but when you add them up, you know, they're amazing things that just get buried in that local site in terms of, you know, it could be a little act of kindness that somebody has done. Maybe it's a community service event, right? There are all these little things.

And I do believe that is something that companies are getting wrong today, is how do you scale those stories and actually give, not only your employees across the globe, a better sense of a cohesive culture. But also prospective candidates who are looking at you, there are of course, you know, there are studies.

They, a prospective candidate will look at four to five different sites including LinkedIn and Glassdoor and Comparably and now Indeed, right? They have an employer branding kind of play.

They'll look at all these places before they, they come and make a decision about joining your organization. So I do believe that there's a huge opportunity there for employers to really figure out what that story is in a cohesive way.

Mike O'Neill: So my sense is that you've created a platform that kind of gives a sense of direction how an employer might go about doing that.

And you made a comment a moment ago, and that is, are most of your clients currently larger sized organizations?

Amit Parmar: Yeah. You know, it's interesting. So when we started the product or launched the product about three years ago now, in our original theory was that this would be great for, you know, small businesses, medium size businesses.

What's interesting is we've got large enterprises who are leveraging our product. And there are a couple theories around that we have, which is, it's really built for small and medium sized businesses from a pricing standpoint as well. But we are purely organic. We don't do any sponsored media, we don't do any sponsored ads.

It's purely how do you engage your workforce in an organic way across their social media feed. So that's basically our main channel, if you will, of our content. And so we are integrated with LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and soon we're adding Instagram and TikTok to our arsenal, if you will. But it's personal feeds of employees and what we're finding is that the larger the enterprise, the quicker the scale in terms of the outreach across their networks.

I do believe, however there's a huge opportunity with small and entry and mid-size business to do the same thing at a very competitive price point. And at some point we'll be after that market in the near future.

Mike O'Neill: I got you. So what I'm understanding you to say is that you built this thinking that this would have appeal primarily to small to mid-size organizations, and what you're finding is larger organizations are embracing it, but if the listeners are not from a large corporation, I want them to have some value from this conversation.

So I wanna go back to that employer brand notion, and I'm gonna put it in language that at least kind of makes sense to me. I know you have an HR background. I have an HR background and one of the things I found myself doing is going and looking at my own company's website.

Who do we say we are, and I compare that to at least what I believe the reality to be. And what you're describing is today's job seeker. Yes, they're going to the website, but they, it sounds as if you're finding that they are using social media much more as a screening tool to see could I find myself in this organization and are the things they do aligned with the things that I believe. Is that a fair characterization?

Amit Parmar: Absolutely, Mike. And you know, some stats to back that up, Mike, about 84% of candidates find their next job on, on a social media platform.

Mike O'Neill: Wow.

Amit Parmar: 84%. And about 60% of the entire world is on any one of the social media channels that exist today.

So that's where people are gravitating towards. That's where people hang out. And let's face it, Mike, right? Like I don't, people don't wake up and say, I'm gonna check out Cliquify's career site today cause I want to work for Cliqufiy. They just simply don't do that, right? Because there's so many employers.

But I will be on LinkedIn, I will be on Facebook, I am on Twitter, right? And that's where I'm hanging out. So if I start to see a particular company culture being demonstrated by the employees of that company, super powerful. And we actually have data because we track this in our platform. We're tracking every piece of asset and how is it shared and how is it performing in terms of driving candidate traffic back to your career site.

So we're able to tell the talent leader or the HR leader for that company, what kind of content is really driving what kind of traffic back to their career site. Super powerful. I talked about value propositions earlier. So we have these, you know, categories, the value prop categories built right into our product.

So from an analytics perspective, we're able to tell our clients exactly which piece of that value prop is actually driving applications. And that was a big, you know, unknown for me as a talent leader many years ago. And it's something that we're super proud of achieving is the ability to give database decision making power back to HR departments around what's really driving candidate behavior, Mike.

Mike O'Neill: One thing I notice on your website is you use this, I'll call it a tagline for lack, a better lack of better term, build, activate and measure your employer brand, and you're speaking to that very much. And that is, what I think I understand you to say, is that you're not just giving feedback to the client as to which channels are your applicants coming from.

You're given much more specific, here Is the specific value proposition or portion of a value proposition that led them to come check you out, is that correct?

Amit Parmar: Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. And that is so powerful in terms of really helping achieve your value prop. And you'll see this in various websites that you go, career sites that you go to.

There's a lot of corporate jargon out there. Candidates see right through that. They just want to talk to a human or understand from a human, Mike, like what is it really like to work in the HR department at, you know, company X, Y, Z, right? And that's the level of interaction we wanna build through our platform is how do you engage one person with one or many candidates to learn about your company? Through content.

Mike O'Neill: So in practical terms, I'm gonna use languages, probably outdated language, but it would seem to me that what you want are internal advocates. Who could be an ambassador for the company, but you're not necessarily messaging, you're not telling them what to say or at least the company is not telling them what to say.

Is that correct?

Amit Parmar: Well, it's narrative in a way, Mike. So we have guardrails within our platform around what is, what are the EVP pillars or value prop pillars, if you will, the categories, right? Is your benefits. Is it celebrating? Is it referral programs? You know, what are those things, your core values and belief systems, behaviors that you reward and want to see in your employees as well as your candidates.

So there are all these, you know, there's a framework that we help a client, who write through our platform, to start to build assets that are associated with that framework. So these would be like templates, if you will, that are what we call 80 20. So 80% of the templates already built. It's really up to the employer how much latitude they want to give to the employees to, to personalize that.

Some companies are super restrictive. So they don't want your employees to personalize the content. And some have a, you know, a cultural norm to do that. So we are very flexible from that perspective in terms of how much flex, you know, how much latitude you wanna give to your users. What we are finding, and this is what we suggest to our clients, is the more personalization there is in the content, the higher the engagement.

And we're seeing that in spades across thousands of data points through our platform. You know, they're templated, you know, they're templated ways for employees to say, okay, you know what? My company is comfortable with me sharing this because there's that other factor is employees just generally don't know, you know, what and when to share.

And so this allows them kind of an open space, a more secure space for them to say, okay, yeah, my company has kind of blessed this piece of content. How can I take this and kind of make it my own and post it out there?

Mike O'Neill: You mentioned that you're expanding the platforms that this can appear on.

We're recording this in the first part of 2023, and I'm probably, of the platforms you mentioned most familiar with LinkedIn. I've always kind of characterized it as kind of the Facebook for business, but in terms of emerging, what are you finding emerging platforms that really lend itself to this type of dialogue?

This type of exchange of just real world experiences on the employees' part?

Amit Parmar: Oh, great, great question, Mike. And we're constantly looking at that just to kind of stay on the cutting edge, Mike, and we're seeing, I mean, of course, TikTok, I wouldn't say it's the emerging one. I mean, it's already here. But that's a big one for us that we're tracking right now is how is TikTok being used for employment purposes?

Of course there's all kinds of scrutiny at the government level with TikTok, but it, it is a platform that is fast growing and it's going to surpass or about to surpass Facebook users as well, so it is huge. There's a lot of opportunity. We're also seeing kind of what we call non-social platforms, like chat platforms, like, WeChat in China is a big one.

WhatsApp is a more global one that is owned by Facebook. And so there are these chat groups, if you will that you can kind of, you know, tap into with content. Cause content is everything, right? If you don't have good content, you could be in any of these platforms and nothing will happen with it.

And so that's kind of the ones we're tracking at the moment. But certainly very careful right now of all the different, you know, emerging channels that are popping up. Instagram is also a big one. I wouldn't call it emerging, but that's where we're seeing a lot of especially hourly labor really hang out on Instagram and Facebook for the most part.

Those are kind of the ones, the main ones we're tracking at the moment. But we're constantly looking at other ones where, you know if we see that there's value and the adoption curve and a hockey stick fashion. That's we jump right on that.

Mike O'Neill: You know, Amit, one thing that attracted me to you as a podcast guest, one, we had an opportunity to have a conversation beforehand, and you come out of a kind of a corporate HR background, talent management background.

You've worked for some really great companies. You're now a co-founder and CEO of a business. Can you share a little bit about your entrepreneurial journey going from a corporate role to being a business founder?

Amit Parmar: Yeah. It's been an amazing one. I wouldn't trade it for the world. Shout out to my wife who, who let me do this. Right, right.

Mike O'Neill: Smart.

Amit Parmar: She's a huge supporter of making that leap. But yeah, look, you know, my background is in talent. Gosh, you know, over 17 plus years probably must have, you know, hired as well as develop probably thousands of people I have yet to take count.

Right. Along with my teams had an amazing team. There was a gap, however, that I found in this particular space which was how do you really change how recruiting is done. It is a very difficult thing to change. In terms of mindsets I mean, you look at the Roman Empire, right?

They you look at job descriptions, they would post them out there. And you know, certainly there, there's a place for that. But the candidate behavior is shifting right in front of our eyes. And we, I kind of wanted to take a leap of faith and be right in the middle of it.

And it's a gap, it's a problem that, you know, we faced as talent leaders. And I thought it was just time, you know, just to try this out. I am, I'm a tinkerer Mike, by DNA. And so just wanted to really see if I could solve this, you know, age old issue is, you know, how do you attract and retain talent?

Mike O'Neill: So you're pursuing this, and one of the questions I'd like to ask guests, can you think of a situation whereas you had a client that was stuck. And what did it take to get this client unstuck?

Amit Parmar: Yeah. I just realized that's the title of your podcast.

Mike O'Neill: How about that? Yeah.

Amit Parmar: I love it. I love it.

That's great. That's great. Yeah, you know, there're always, you know, every environment is created different. But you know, as I look at the general theme that keeps coming up is, This whole idea of recruitment marketing or employer branding. There are there are a lot of interplays with the marketing function, especially the larger you get as an organization.

And so what ends up happening inevitably is turf wars, right? Where you have, you know, a talent leader who understands that there is a different and a better way to attract and retain talent from a content standpoint. But they get stuck. They get stuck in the kind of the corporate, you know, dialogue, which rightfully so because that's how organizations are designed.

They get stuck in dialogue around, well, is this my space or is this marketing space? But marketing doesn't get measured on how many candidates they're bringing in the door, or how many candidates, or how many employees did the HR function help retain? And so there's this mismatch of the work that needs to get done.

But the measurement stick ends up in the HR function. And so, you know, we do get into that you know, every now and then and the conversation with the marketing function. And we help work with our clients through that dialogue to say, okay, this is a co. or cross-functional initiative.

Right. And we do need help from the marketing function because there are a lot of skill sets that they bring to the table around, okay. How do you design the narrative? How do you think of the content that attracts the psych, you know, the psych, how do you get into the psychology of people?

Right. Not just candidates, but people in general. And the way we get unstuck really, Mike, is we go to market and we just collaborate across functions. And then of course, there are all, you know, there are always questions about who's going to pay for this, right? Right.

Mike O'Neill: Yes.

Amit Parmar: And that's another, you know, point where, you know, for us we've built our processes as a vendor now, Mike, to enable that process where we can charge different cost centers. Right. So that's how we've kind of, you know, got around the whole funding issue as well.

Mike O'Neill: I'm sitting thinking about when I was in a corporate HR role, and you have to make a lot of decisions when you're in that role and one of the decisions you're making is benefits.

 And benefits is a broad category and it always felt a little paternalistic. And that is, I felt our team was trying to decide what was best for the employees. And what we were trying to do is put together the most effective package, meaning that which we believe the employees needed without necessarily giving away the store.


Amit Parmar: Yeah.

Mike O'Neill: It was a little bit of a crapshoot. We would get groups together and we would listen, but what I'm hearing. What you described is, this is a tool that really, if the company is smart, truly listens to what the employees are saying and what they think might be important as a result of this might be something different because you've got data you didn't have before.

Amit Parmar: Oh, absolutely Mike, and I'm so glad you made that connection. There are, you know, there's enough insight there to feed your talent strategy, Mike, right? Like in terms of you know, are we celebrating enough, right? As a company and as a culture, and it varies by country, Mike, right? As you know, are we are there flex benefits you know, PTO time?

Like when you share that kind of content out there, is that getting more traction than, you know, let's say your vacation policy. Right, right. I'm just making this up, but those are, those are real questions that can feed right into, well, it could also feed into your diversity, equity, inclusion initiatives as well.

Right? Like, it's a cross thread you know, analytics platform as well where you can actually say, okay, when I share a job, when I'm driving traffic to a particular job with military content, how is that performing? Right. So you can actually start to see what kind of content or what kind of jobs are military personnel or active duty members are actually gravitating towards.

Right. And that's powerful as well. So yeah, benefits is a, is a great use case and you could apply that across the spectrum in terms of the employee experience, Mike.

Mike O'Neill: Yeah, this may sound a little bit superficial for me to go down this path, but you mentioned celebrating and I'm just very mindful.

We're recording this episode roughly three years from the onset of the pandemic, and over the last three years I've been working with employers where work has, it's a capital W. It's work, work, work. And the employees are sensing it. And this work from home was a novelty at first. But then the question is, what have we lost in all of this?

And celebrations have to be authentic.

Amit Parmar: Absolutely.

Mike O'Neill: And I guess what I'm hearing is it's okay to work hard. But when the time is right, you have to celebrate milestones. If you don't, it's all work in no play. I was just a little intrigued. I would not have thought about that one question of how well are we celebrating or in which ways are we celebrating that means something to the person who is making a post here. I would've not have thought of that.

Amit Parmar: Oh, it is one of the. Mike, such a great point. It is one of our top categories, if you will, right? In terms of content that gets shared out of our platform is celebrations, and we're so, thankful to see that because, you know, culturally, right, and it depends right?

Culturally it's very hard to take somebody's, if you're a leader, or you know, if you're working on a project and a coworker, you know, you just want to publicly thank this person, of course, if they're okay with it. You know, people can go into, our employees can go into our platform, leaders can go into our platform and pick and choose like various templates that are branded, right?

So there's a whole kind of branding element to this for that organization. And just say, Hey, you know. Thanks, Mike. Mike I really appreciate, you know, your leadership in that board meeting the other day. I wanna publicly thank you. Are you okay with that? And if you're okay with it, I'll just go into the platform and publicly share.

How great you are, Mike at running meetings, at board meetings, right. Right. So, or running content at board meetings. So that's where you can really have a huge impact, especially in a distributed workforce now, because, you know, chances are you've got post pandemic, you still have quite a few people who are still working remotely because they can but that's certainly an area, actually even before covid, Mike, I would say there's nothing that would've, you know, stopped you, if you will, from celebrating publicly. But I do think, you know, post covid there's certainly a heightened awareness of how do you engage a team that may not be there face-to-face all the time.

Mike O'Neill: So, if folks are listening to you, describe this and I ask.

What do most people get wrong about understanding your service and how it helps? Where do they sometimes, most definitely get wrong?

Amit Parmar: Yeah. Yeah. And it is a mindset shift. I think we've evolved, right? Been so trained and, okay, I have this opening. I need to go out and fill it as fast as I can. And if you're a cost conscious organization, as cost effective as I can and that's it.

That's been the world of recruiting, right? And you know, that is the biggest shift is okay, you know you can drive people to the same job with other pieces of content. It doesn't have to be job related even. It could be as simple as, you know, me thanking you, Mike, and one of your colleagues maybe saw that we tagged you who's not at the company today.

Maybe they're working somewhere else. Oh Mike, Mike works, you know, works for, you know, Bench Builders. I want to check them out, right? And you can drive all the traffic back to where your jobs are. So this, the biggest mind shift is move away from just sharing jobs. You can still drive actually higher quality traffic to your jobs if you share other pieces of assets about your culture beyond just jobs.

Mike O'Neill: I love it. You know, as we've talked about this topic, we've covered a lot of different things. What do you want our listeners to have as takeaways?

Amit Parmar: Yeah, gosh. You know, I think the biggest takeaway is, I'm sure there are places for jobs, like you can share jobs, you'll get candidates.

My request to the audience would be to think more broadly about, you know, what is your company really known for? What separates you from the rest? And there are separations and we've gone through this so many years in and out about looking at, you know, there are very specific attributes that keep a person engaged beyond a paycheck.

Paychecks are important, don't get me wrong. Right, right. But that is one, you know, that's about maybe 30% of the entire value proposition that keeps somebody there. It could be a great boss, it could be a great, you know, team environment. It could be, you know, the way people get celebrated, right?

As I mentioned earlier. So it could be a lot of things. So the key thing to walk away with is think about what really makes you unique and double down on that as you are looking to retain and attract talent.

Mike O'Neill: I'm confident that folks are watching and or listening to this and they want to learn more.

What's the best way for them to reach out to you?

Amit Parmar: Yeah I'd love that. I'm on LinkedIn. Just look up my profile, @amitparmarcliquify or you can email me at amit@cliquify.me.

Mike O'Neill: Excellent. All right. We're gonna put that in the show notes so folks don't have to write that down while you're driving down the road.

So you can click that and it'll actually be a hot link that you can go straight from a contact standpoint. I really was looking forward to this conversation. You're such a easy person to speak to, and for those who are not watching, your smile is constant. You clearly enjoy what you do. That comes through loud and clear.

Thank you for sharing your passion and your joy with us today.

Amit Parmar: Well, thank you. Likewise. I appreciate you having me today.

Mike O'Neill: I also wanna thank our listeners for joining us today. If you'd like to subscribe to this podcast, you can just go to your browser and type in unstuck.show. But while you're there, you can also subscribe to our weekly management blog called The Bottom Line.

So if you're trying to grow your business. But people problems have slowed you down. Let's talk, head over to bench-builders.com to schedule a call. So I wanna thank you for joining us, and I hope you have picked up on some tips from Amit that will help you get unstuck and on target. Until next time.

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