The Importance of Employer Branding
In a highly competitive market, hiring the right talent is pivotal to a company’s ability to grow. Being able to attract and retain the best talent is a demanding task. Today’s candidates are not only looking for a job, they are looking to work for a company where they feel valued and whose culture is aligned to their own beliefs and desires. 75% of candidate’s today will consider an employer’s brand before even applying for a job, and an impressive 84% of candidates would consider leaving their current jobs if they were offered a role with a company that had an excellent reputation. (Glassdoor)
With this in mind, having a strong and credible employer brand is an extremely powerful tool to attract and retain the best candidates. According to an Accenture survey, 60% of CEOs are now concerned with attracting and retaining candidates to their company through employer branding. So where do you start?
Understanding your brand
You want your employer brand identity to be credible, relevant, distinctive, aspirational, and of course true! Understanding your company values, what makes you unique and why people would want to work for your company is key. Internal feedback is a fantastic way to start exploring what motivates people to work with you and stay! Gather data from employee surveys, new hire and exit interviews, and employee testimonials to create a strong foundation in which to build upon. You’ll also be able to identify areas where you need to improve as a business.
Establishing your brand
Once you have a good understanding of what your company brand means, you need to consider the elements that make it real! Your brand must be tangible for current and new employees. Some key areas to consider when establishing your brand are:
- Your company culture and values
- Your aspirations
- How you operate
- What rewards you offer
- How you celebrate success
- What it’s really like to work at your company
- Career development and training provided
- Awards you have won
These elements build your brand identity and make it possible to promote and positively target candidates and employees.
Developing your brand
Establishing your employer brand won’t happen overnight, and as a company, work is required to develop and reinforce your identity through the entire employee lifecycle. It may sound like a lot of work, but employer branding is a key avenue to get the best ROI from your hires. Also happy employees become brand advocates! They will essentially promote your brand for you – sounds great right? To give you a jumpstart, we’ve put together some of the key areas you can focus on to help develop your employer brand.
With the rise of social media, your company reputation is far more accessible than ever before. 52% of candidate’s check out your company websites and social media profiles to find out more about your brand before applying. Ensuring you have a positive and consistent brand message across every attraction touch point is crucial. Interestingly, today’s candidates are also far more likely to trust a company based on existing employee testimonials rather than company marketing, so get your existing teams talking! Embrace social media to share employee stories, experiences, awards, successes and challenges. By using these narratives you are more likely to attract candidates who could see themselves creating similar stories as your top employees.
Another great way to showcase your company brand is by “showing” candidates what it’s really like to work at your company. In fact, studies have shown that using video can increase engagement by as much as 76%! Keep in mind what kind of candidates you are looking to attract, but millennials in particular, respond very positively to engaging video content!
2. Candidate Experience
Companies that prioritise candidate experience are twice as likely to improve cost per hire on a year by year basis - pretty compelling huh? The candidate experience covers all touchpoints in the hiring process from interview to on boarding, and is unfortunately often overlooked as a wonderful way to reinforce your company brand.
A candidate will use every interaction with your company to build a picture of whether yours is a place they would like to build their career. Having a negative experience can not only mean losing a great candidate, but could lead to a damaging report on Glassdoor to hinder your positive brand efforts. So, make sure your hiring process is smart, efficient and warm.
Each interview is a prime opportunity to reinforce your employer brand, so make sure your interviewers live and breathe your company values and speak positively and confidently about your aspirations and achievements. As an ambassador of the company, aim to promote your brand's values to ensure that the candidate is aware of what will be expected of them. Discussing the brand values within an interview shapes a potential employee's perceptions and gives an employer the chance to promote their brand in the best light. Express reasons why a candidate would be lucky to work for the company, and give percentage rates of employees who have progressed. Be clear on your company's missions, outlooks and goals.
Be timely when communicating with potential employees, and make sure you always provide feedback – even if the candidate was unsuccessful on this occasion. Don’t underestimate the potential for unsuccessful candidates to become brand advocates!
c. On Boarding
Once a candidate has accepted, your work isn’t done! 22% of staff turnover occurs in the first 45 days of employment (source: Bersin), and 33% of new hires look for a new job in their first six months (source: HBR). Very often this is due to poor on boarding. As we’ve outlined, a new employee will have bought into your company brand, and you need to ensure that the reality of the company matches what has been sold to them. Make sure you’ve got these key milestones covered:
- Offer Letter – make sure this is sent out the same day as you make the verbal offer
- Resignation – speak to the candidate after they have resigned to provide support and negate the opportunity for their current employer to counter-offer
- Notice Period – make sure you stay in regular contact with your new employee during their notice period; invite them to company events or to meet the team informally before their start date. Candidates can easily slip through the net during this time, especially if their current employer has realised what they are losing!
- First Day – it is absolutely crucial to make sure you make a good impression on a new employees’ first day. Details such as having their workstation set up, key team members available to make introductions and a structured induction all make a huge difference to how quickly your new starter will integrate.
- Milestones – the first 90 days determine the success of your new employee, so make sure you schedule regular catch ups to make sure they are happy, bought into your brand and what you’re trying to achieve
3. Retaining Talent
Finally, and one could argue, most importantly, the key to maintaining your employer brand is your current employees. Each person in your company is a brand advocate, and you need to consistently remind your employees why they joined and to deliver on your brand promises. By utilising employee feedback surveys and exit interview data you will be able to keep abreast of how well your brand promises are being translated on the ground. Consistently review rewards and recognition of your employees, what training you provide and your career development processes to ensure your employees can continue to build their long term careers with you. Online reviews on sites such as Glassdoor can give you a unique insight into employee happiness, so make sure you are regularly checking for poor or damaging feedback.
Ultimately, building a positive brand identity can only truly be achieved through happy, like-minded employees. “People who like the job they do and the place they work become advocates for it.” (CIPD)
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