The one thing that companies, which consistently hire the best talent, get right is employer branding. Our global economy is evolving at such a fast pace that the business leaders of today need to adopt the right practices so they can find and retain top talent and ensure their business thrives. Yet, creating a strong employer branding strategy is something many organizations struggle with.
Over the past couple of years, employees’ expectations of their employers have significantly shifted. Modern professionals look beyond traditional work benefits like health insurance, a certain amount of days off, a kitchen with free coffee, etc. In fact, they pay much more attention to a brand’s social responsibility initiatives, career development training, inclusivity, and diversity, to name a few. This is why it’s becoming increasingly important that companies showcase what they stand for, how they treat their team members, and what actions they take to put business values into practice.
Developing, planning, and implementing an employer branding strategy is not an easy task. However, done right it is a solution for enhancing visibility, affinity, and growth. Thus, working to improve the way your business is perceived by employees is one of the best ways to bring the right talent through your door.
In this article, we will explore what employer branding is, why it is an important part of your brand strategy, and how you can improve it to attract top talent.
What Is Employer Branding?
Employer branding is your company’s reputation within the workforce and your employees’ perception of you as an employer. It’s how you advertise your organization to potential and current team members. The better your employer branding is, the higher your chances of attracting talent and retaining it.
When communicating your business’ values, culture, and leadership it’s essential to put the same branding efforts as you would in promoting a new offer to your customers.
Even though you have a strong marketing strategy when it comes to your products and services, that doesn’t guarantee that people will be convinced to work or stay at your company.
So, to create a compelling employer brand you need to tell a great story, but also – walk the walk. Simply stating that this is a great place to work in because you have a dog-friendly office, for example, isn’t enough. You have to share what is the internal mindset, goals, mission, and vision, as well as what are the specific ways you provide value to your teams.
What Is an Employer Branding Strategy?
Putting the right effort into ensuring that your business has a strong employer perception is crucial to your bottom line. According to a list of employer brand statistics, a well-executed employer branding strategy can reduce turnover by 28% and decrease the cost-per-hire in half.
Additionally, a study by Glassdoor found that when employers vigorously manage their brand, 75% of active job seekers will be likely to apply for a job there. The stronger the employer image you have, the more control you’ll have to positively shift the narrative around your company, and ensure increased talent acquisition and retention.
Now that we’ve defined the key terms, let’s examine 6 steps you can take to ensure that your efforts don’t go in vain.
6 Great Employer Branding Strategies to Use
Alright, so you’re ready to get serious about employing the best employer branding strategies to strengthen your reputation in the workforce. Let’s go over the key strategies to make this process more manageable.
1. Define Your Employee Value Proposition
The first step of creating a strong employer brand is crafting your employee value proposition (EVP). Concentrate on outlining your company’s values, vision, mission, and culture. Then, identify what your business needs are, and reverse engineer them to understand what type of talent you need to attract in order to fulfill these objectives.
According to Builtin, the EVP acts as the guiding light of your employer branding efforts and answers two important questions:
- What the employee or candidate can expect from your organization?
- What does your organization expect of the employee or candidate?
And it has 5 core building blocks: compensation, benefits, career, work environment, work culture.
While you don’t need to share your EVP publicly, it can certainly help shape your communications moving forward. Here are some practical tips to help you design it:
- Add the most important benefits.
- Draft your EVP.
- Test and optimize.
Your Employee Value Proposition should be shaped by the feedback sourced directly from your employees. Then it should be optimized to meet your organization’s goals and to create a favorable work environment.
2. Conduct an Employer Branding Audit
In order to influence and manage your brand, you need to know how people perceive you. You can learn that through an employer branding audit. By analyzing how your brand is seen as an employer you’ll be more aware of what is your company‘s reputation among jobseekers and your own employees.
The steps to auditing your brand include:
- Define what your employer brand stands for. Describe clearly what you do best and what value you can provide to your stakeholders. Then explain how this sets you apart from other industry players.
- Evaluate your communication channels.
– Ensure that your messaging is consistent throughout.
– Identify the use and objectives of each online platform – will you be sharing formal or informal communication?
– Overview of the information architecture – what kind of information exchange will you have, will you share something generic or specific?
– Check the navigation cues – how easy is it to find relevant content?
– Consider the audience participation – is it one- or two-way communication?
- Get feedback from current and prospective employees. Try to understand how they feel about your organization, and ask questions that can help you obtain meaningful information. Speak with enough people to get credible results.
- Review the candidate’s experience. Carefully go over your job descriptions, social media profiles, career pages, acceptance and rejection letters, while looking out for hiring paradigms.
- Analyze your recruitment results. Measure the time taken to hire a new employee, the cost your company incurs per hire, the quality of applications received – how many suitable vs unfit applications you receive.
- Study external reviews. Those can impact your reputation as an employer. Look at your ratings on platforms, like Clutch, that collect credible client reviews. See how you’re positioned in terms of employability within your industry by checking dedicated rank lists, such as Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work List.
Once completed, your employer branding audit will assist you in identifying and bridging any gaps between how your company presents itself and how it’s perceived by employees and candidates.
3. Outline Your Employer Branding Goals
Now that you have created your employer value proposition and collected enough data to understand what your reputation amongst the workforce is, you need to think about what you want to achieve with your strategy.
Some common goals, as mentioned by TalentLyft, may include:
- Attracting more job applicants
- Getting high-quality candidates
- Improving online engagement
- Enhancing candidate engagement
- Creating better employment awareness
- Building trust with current applicants
- Getting more career page visitors
- Increasing referrals
- Boosting offer acceptance rate
After you’ve decided which are the most important goals for your brand, you can use the knowledge from your employer branding audit to define what you need to do to achieve them.
Read also: The Practical Guide to Hiring Employees
4. Define Your Candidate Persona
The candidate persona is a fictional representation of your ideal applicant and a fundamental part of any successful employer branding strategy. It has been developed so recruiters can better understand what kind of person they’re looking for, and how to motivate them to seek out and accept their job offer.
To create this persona you need to get first-hand feedback from prospective employees. This means following up with recent and potential hires and interviewing them to get the information you need.
Here are a few areas to consider:
- Basics: Job title, qualifying requirements, salary criteria
- Background: Work history, education, specific skill sets
- The person: Personal interests, goals, motivations
5. Pick Appropriate Channels to Promote Your Brand
Determining which channels to use for communicating with prospects is essential for the success of your employer branding efforts and campaign. Different businesses require different channels, so should identify where your ideal candidates spend most of their time and what type of messages will make a greater impact on them.
While owned channels, like your social media profile or your career page, maybe your primary source of communication, you should also explore the benefits of paid and earned media.
On the one hand, displaying ads on industry websites or adding listings on appropriate job boards can help you reach a larger audience with your message. And on the other hand, investing in quality content can increase the chances of users sharing your articles with those in their own private networks.
6. Make Your Employees Brand Ambassadors
According to SHRM, employer referrals account for over 45% of internal hires. So, turning your team members into brand ambassadors can certainly help you cover more ground.
When it comes to your brand as an employer, there are factors you can and cannot control. The message and content on your official social media and company pages are completely in your hands. The way your employees talk about you is out of your direct reach. However, you can do something to navigate their tone in a positive direction.
Employee brand ambassadorship is about fostering a culture that encourages your team to talk about their workplace with excitement. Done right, you’ll be known as welcoming professionals who already understand the ins and outs of work culture and its environment. New hires will already know what they’re getting themselves into and will want to make their referrer proud.
Here are 3 steps to turn your employees into brand ambassadors:
- Keep employees in the loop. Make sure that every member of your company understands your employer branding strategy and knows how to share and promote it.
- Empower your teammates to promote you. Employee acquaintances can be an untapped pool of skilled talent so you shouldn’t feel shy about leveraging it.
- Provide guidance. A little guidance can go a long way. Whether it’s a few talking points or setting a social media policy, it’s important to ensure you and your employees remain on the same page with the message.
Having your team as brand ambassadors adds a human touch to the application process. Put real faces onto your careers page and let your team’s individuality shine.
What makes a company desirable to work for isn’t black or white. Just like you need to have a strong product and service brand strategy to differentiate your company from the crowd, you also need a strong employer branding plan to attract the best talent.
There are various aspects that employees today consider when making the decision to apply for a job at a certain company. From favourable benefits and a positive work culture to opportunities for learning and career development, you really need to put in the work if you want to find the new stars for your team.