Employer Branding – What You Need To Know
You’ve probably heard about branding: it’s the core tool used by marketers to win over the minds and hearts of consumers. Employer branding works quite similarly to product branding, but instead of targeting consumers, it’s aimed at employees and potential employees. While employer branding in itself is a process, the employer brand that ensues is a company’s identity as an employer of choice.
The fascinating thing about employer branding is that whether you know about it or not, you already have a brand– it might not be what you want, but it’s there all the same. As such, every organisation has a decision to make: Do they want to cultivate their brand to make it more competitive, or are they fine with candidates making up their minds about the organisation?
A brief history of employer branding
As the global economy continues to grow, many business leaders are getting concerned about their organisations’ ability to find and keep the kind of talent necessary to help achieve their growth ambitions. It’s this concern that has left many trying to figure out how they can effectively compete in the war for talent. The most popular answer to this conundrum has been strengthening the employer brands of their companies.
The term “employer branding” was initially defined in the mid-1990s. It’s not until between 2004 and 2008, however, did the practice become a major focus of activity in leading companies as a response to increasing competition for talent. Major companies began applying the same consistency and focus to their employer branding as they did their consumer and corporate branding.
In its early days, employer branding was predominantly advertising driven and outward facing with employee value propositions –which defined the main benefits the organisation in question offered as an employer – taking centre stage.
As times changed, however, and the new wave of social media spread throughout the globe, companies became a great deal more transparent. As a result, people became less trusting of the recruitment advertising done by companies and more trusting of the information put out by the employees of the companies about their employers. Now, talent attraction is more reliant on employee engagement and advocacy than it is on recruitment advertising.
Why is employer branding important?
In addition to allowing candidates to take a peek into your company and get a feel for your company’s work environment, employer branding is important to your business in the following ways, as suggested by Blue Collar People:
- Reduced time to hire. It takes less time to fill a vacant position when you have a good reputation as an employer. Finding candidates who possess the right skills and experience for a position is a feat in itself. But regardless of how much work you put intocandidate sourcing, potential employees will still likely be put off by your negative employer brand. A good employer brand creates a pipeline of candidates who would kill (for lack of a better word) to work for you.
- Quality hires.Having a positive employer brand increases the talent pool from which you can fill vacancies. Having a larger talent pool gives you more options and options are a good thing when it comes to hiring. From the large pool of candidates, your talent acquisition team can filter out candidates and narrow down to the most compatible person.
- Reduced cost per hire.A strong employer brand will help you reduce your cost per hire. That’s because a strong brand fosters a great work environment which in turn encourages your employees to recommend your organisation to other people. Candidates that are generated through referrals are cheaper when compared to other means of sourcing such as recruitment advertising.
- Improved employee engagement. To have a successful employer brand, you not only need to focus on candidates but your employees as well – after all they are the ones to play the advocates role. As a result of bolstering your employer brand, your employees will be more engaged in their work which will not only improve productivity in the company but employee retention as well.
- Increased revenues. People who perceive your company’s employer brand to be strong are more likely to consume your products or services. That’s because people generally like to buy from reputable companies that treat their employees well – a core component of a robust employer brand.
How to build your employer brand
Now that we understand the importance of employer branding, how do you build a robust employer brand for your company? Here are 5 tips for building a strong employer brand for your business:
- Work on your careers page. Your company’s careers page is one of the first places a candidate visits if they are interested in working for your company. The page (and the website it’s on) should, therefore, be optimised to run on multiple platforms including mobile. Remember that everything candidates will encounter on your website will reflect back on your brand so ensure to include clear and detailed job descriptions for open positions, employee stories and testimonials and your employer value proposition.
- Make applying easy. Lengthy and complex job application processes that take hours tocomplete are bad for your employer brand. While many recruiters think that making the application process long and tedious is a good way of weeding out bad candidates, it really isn’t. Top candidates have many options to choose from when it comes to jobs. They are, therefore, more likely to go and search elsewhere rather than jump through hoops. They’ll also communicate the complexity of your application process to other candidates thus damaging your brand.
- Leverage social media. Most companies looking to bolster their employer brand and attract candidates are using social media. Social media provides the opportunity for candidates to interact directly with your brand as well as your employees and provides a window into your organisation.
Don’t populate your social feed with a stream of robotic job alerts. Social media needs to remain social even if your goal for posting is to attract candidates. Appoint a member of your team to actively maintain your social media by joining relevant conversations, giving candidates attractive previews of the work environment, available opportunities and culture, and replying to messages and reviews.
- Produce content. Brand building is highly reliant on marketing, and if you know anything about marketing, then you know “content is king”.Creating asteady stream of content is how you educate people about your brand and build relationships with your target audience. Candidates will take time to research your company and the vacant role before they decide whether it’s a good fit.
Having content available during this educational stage enables the candidate to learn about your employer brand which highly influences their decision to apply. Content can include posting industry insights on social media, adding a “meet the team” section on your careers page, adding your mission, vision and values on your website’s landing pages, etc.
- Foster employee advocacy. When it comes to building a robust employer brand, your employees are your biggest assets. With so much transparency in today’s world, your employer brand will be, to a large extent, shaped by the genuine perspectives and stories of your current employees and alumni. Candidates see your employees as a window into the true nature of your organisation which makes leveraging your team all the more important. You should, therefore, encourage your employees to share their own stories, in video or written form, as it will greatly help elevate your brand.
In this new world of social transparency, organisations can no longer solely rely on recruitment advertising to build a positive employer brand image. Employer branding will require a multifaceted approach to ensure it’s done effectively. It will involve some extra work, but the results will be worth the trouble.