An employer brand is an important part of the employee value proposition and is essentially what the organization communicates as its identity to both potential and current employees. It encompasses an organization’s mission, values, culture and personality. A positive employer brand communicates that the organization is a good employer and a great place to work. Employer brand affects recruitment of new employees, retention and engagement of current employees, and the overall perception of the organization in the market.
You have an employer brand whether you try to shape it or not
To develop an employment branding strategy, organizations may want to consider the following:
Know the organization’s business, vision, mission, values and culture. Understand the organization’s business objectives and what talent is needed to accomplish those objectives. Define the company’s unique attributes.
Conduct internal research to understand how the organization is perceived by its current employees, as well as by its target candidate group, and what these employees or potential employees want from the organization. Identify top talent, and ask what those employees like about working for the company. Determine the attributes of these star employees that the organization would want to attract.
Conduct external research to learn how the organization is positioned in relation to the competition. Research may be conducted through applicant surveys, as well as via Internet searches, social media or firms that conduct reputation monitoring.
Define an employee value proposition that clearly communicates the value of the brand the organization is developing. The employee brand should truly reflect what is special about the organization and must be aligned with its customer brand.
Develop an employee marketing strategy. The strategy should have a two-pronged approach. First, the recruitment strategy should focus on reaching the targeted applicant base. Attention should be directed to the career page, recruiting sites, social media and other external recruitment sources. The second prong centers on consistently communicating the employee value proposition to current employees to retain and engage them. Use employee testimonials to affirm the brand.
Align the employer brand with the overall company brand. Work with the marketing and communications groups to ensure a holistic branding approach.
Ensure that the people and management practices support the organization’s employer brand. Training, coaching, compensation and other HR-related practices can be used to support the brand.
Develop and use metrics to assess and track the success of the employer brand. Metrics may include quality of hire, brand awareness, employee satisfaction, employee referrals or other metrics.
Every company has a choice to make, do they want to try and cultivate their brand, or are they happy for candidates to make up their own mind about the company?
The things that you can’t control
Your true employer brand includes factors that are outside your direct control. Things like-
Media: how do different outlets talk about you?
Friends and family: what does a candidate’s inner circle think about you?
Consumer experience: what experience do people have when they buy from you?
Consumer marketing: what is the messaging and approach of your marketing department?
Word of mouth: what’s the word on the street?
The good news? Many of these factors are impacted by the things that you can directly influence.
Implement Your Employer Branding Strategy
There are countless avenues one can utilize to promote your employer brand, but when getting started it is recommended starting with the lowest hanging fruit:
Job Descriptions – Job descriptions may not sound like the place to let your personality shine, but they’re often the first interaction job seekers will have with your company so make sure they reflect the desired employer brand.
Career Page – The career page is the anchor of the employer branding materials, making it one of the most important touch points with potential candidates. Compelling photography or video, employee testimonials, the core values and more can all help convince candidates that this is the place to be, so spend some time dialing it in.
Online Reviews – These days, almost every job seeker reads employer reviews before applying to a job, and coming across a negative review can stop them in their tracks. While one can’t control anonymous reviews, he can respond to them, and that can have a serious impact on perceptions. 62% of job seekers say their opinion of a company improved after seeing it respond to a negative review, so pay attention to what people are saying and don’t be afraid to respond.
Candidate Experience – If one is lucky enough to convince a great candidate to apply, at some point he’ll interact with them offline. Whether it’s an initial phone screen or in-office interview, the experience that candidate has must align with the employer brand or it’s almost guaranteed to lose them.
Remember to walk before the run. Employer branding isn’t easy, and there’s no sense rushing the process. Once tackled these items, one will be able to dive into more advanced employer branding projects.
TO SUM UP:
Focus on aligning your recruiting brand closely with your consumer brand and providing a great candidate experience. Get this right and you should see a positive impact across these areas.
With the competition for the best talent getting fiercer by the day, employer branding is an important tool for companies trying to stand out from the crowd and attract top candidates.
Little wonder then, that over 59% of employers say that employer branding represents one of the key components of the organization’s overall HR strategy.