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Renowned University Is Trailblazer for Higher Ed Investing in Employer Brand: Princeton University Case Study 

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Princeton University is one of the most prestigious universities in the world. In addition to being famous for its commitment to undergraduate teaching and graduate research, Princeton is known for possessing the largest endowment per student in the United States. The university’s top rankings, historic campus, engaged alumni and dedicated instructors are also integral to Princeton’s distinction. And, just as Princeton lead the way in many facets of higher education, they are also a trailblazing employer. They’re one of the very first universities to mirror the Fortune 500 and invest in employer brand to bring to life their unique employee experience.

Major employer for jobs in and out of the classroom 

At Princeton, every member of the community plays an important role in a shared mission of teaching and research. Beyond its faculty, Princeton employs over 4,100 exempt and nonexempt staff members, serving as one of the region’s largest private employers. There are approximately 350 different staff positions, including doctors, software developers, accountants, grounds crew and office workers. These roles include many hard-to-fill jobs, especially specialized roles in the technology, financial and health care sectors. 

New frontier: a university with a defined employer brand 

Princeton’s talent acquisition team audited its recruitment practices and pinpointed its biggest challenges: wide breadth of jobs, old-fashioned brand perception, difficulty attracting high-tech talent, and limited recruiting resources. Their findings resulted in a commitment to implementing employer branding best practices and identifying their employer brand – one of the first universities to do so! Princeton articulated its Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and its pillars, and then was ready to begin work to activate their employer brand. Enter Stories Inc. 

Communicating the employer brand to top talent 

Princeton’s employer brand and talent acquisition team came to Stories Incorporated with a desire to bring their mission and EVP to life through compelling content. They sought to communicate to candidates what’s unique about working at Princeton. Additionally, they wanted to attract top talent not only from within higher education, but also from the private, government and nonprofit sectors. To succeed, the Princeton team knew that stories from their staff members were the best basis for their recruitment marketing content.

Video content plan, grounded in stories 

Stories Inc. proposed a series of videos to showcase their real employee experience. The video content would be fueled by the stories from team members from a range of jobs, departments and backgrounds. 

We interviewed 11 storytellers who represented the diversity of Princeton’s staff roles and team members. These team members came from departments as varied as information technology, media relations, HR, athletics, facilities, community affairs, the student LGBT center, and more. 

From their stories, we developed seven videos to connect with candidates or serve as content for welcoming and onboarding new hires. 

Throughout the two days of on-site interviews at Princeton, Stories’ project team staff uncovered stories from the team members that connected to its fresh employer brand. From ways that employees participate in high tech advances, to instances of work-life integration and satisfaction, to how team members personally relate to the Princeton mission, the stories that emerged were powerful proofs of culture. 

Come join us at Princeton! 

This two minute video, featuring a member of the HR leadership team expressing why she personally feels connected to working at Princeton, serves a variety of content uses. It’s prominently placed on the Princeton careers site “Search for Opportunities” page. It’s used in general careers outreach communications as a “trailer” to promote the careers site and talent network. And, it’s the featured overview video of the Working at Princeton YouTube channel. 

Welcome to Princeton! (7 minute version)

Newly admitted university students receive welcome videos, so why shouldn’t new hires, too? We helped develop two, wholly different versions of a welcome and onboarding video to be shared with new members of the Princeton staff member community. This longer version is seven minutes and weaves together many voices from all across the campus. It communicates Princeton’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion amongst its team members and overall university community. The storytellers provide a great deal of personal insights into the employee experience. 

Welcome to Princeton! (2 minute version) 

This video is not just a shorter cut of the other – it’s a completely different content piece that, in less than two minutes, provides information and an intimate welcome to new hires. It’s customized for internal content channels better served by a shorter length. 

Work-Life Integration at Princeton 

This engaging standalone story by an athletics department leader gives candidates the whole picture on how his personal and professional lives harmonize. He tells several stories that seamlessly intertwine work, family, and interests. Princeton uses this video as key work-life balance content on various channels. 

More stories developed for Princeton: 

Princeton staff members experience learning and development

Advancing technology supports the Princeton mission 

A culture of opportunities for students and staff

Did our Princeton case study provide you with inspiration to capture stories from your team members?

Contact us to discuss how stories can communicate your culture.