What are employer branding initiatives and why do you need one?

Companies competing for top talent today have to work harder than before. Candidates are seeking companies who are reputable and credible.

As a small to medium size company, you may be thinking that employer branding initiatives aren’t for you. You may assume your company is too small and resources could be better spent elsewhere, but here’s where you’re wrong.

Before even applying for a job, up to 75 % of job seekers will consider an employer’s brand.

Earning the trust and desire of candidates seeking job opportunities is a key factor in successful top talent recruitment. Without a strong employer brand, you can wave bye to your all-star talent as they accept your competitor’s positions instead.

This is especially important in small to medium size businesses where acquiring a successful team is critical to the current and future success of the organisation.

So how do you make your company stand out? How can you attract your ideal candidates in an ocean of other job postings? Here’s where top tier employer branding steps in.

In this blog post, we are going to look at the benefits of employer branding initiatives and the process of implementing one into your recruitment strategy.

What is employer branding?

An Employer brand is quite simply a methodology to make your company appeal to prospect candidates. Recognisable brands encourage not only customers but top talent to secure positions and retain them in a reputable and successful company. Which in turn, generates a circle of win-win for both the company and employees. With eager and passionate employees attached to the company brand, the success of the organisation is propelled in the right direction.

Maintaining the image of not just a reputable organisation, but a commendable employer is exactly the aim of an employer branding initiative.

What are the benefits of an employer branding initiative?

“72 % of recruiting leaders worldwide agreed that employer brand has a significant impact on hiring” A Linkedin study on employer brand statistics

Why is this?

Many organisations within this same Linkedin study found that turnover was reduced by 28%, cost per hire was reduced by a whopping 50% and recruitment with a strong employer brand brought in 50% more qualified applicants.

It’s clear to see the importance of introducing a strong employer brand into your recruitment strategy. But let’s look at how an employer brand creates these benefits:

1.   Improves reputation and brand image

Creating a strong reputation and brand image is a must in today’s tech-savvy world. 52% of candidates seek out the company online and on their social media to learn more about them as an employer and what it would be like as an employee.

You need to ask yourself, does your online brand represent your company culture and values well? This is critical to attracting the attention of candidates who will be the best fit for your organisation.

But this also goes beyond your behavior and digital trail. Many candidates will also use employee review sites such as Glassdoor for employee and ex- employee reviews on your employment. So your current employee relationships will go a long way to influencing future candidates and their decision to even apply to your job postings.

2.   Increases successful talent acquisition

Attracting, acquiring and retaining your talent is a costly and lengthy process. With a successful brand strategy in place it will be more cost effective and faster to attract candidates suitable to the role.

3.   Reduces employee turnover

As we briefly mentioned in the above point, the current employer brand strategy you implement will also greatly impact your current employees. This is because candidates who believe in your same values, beliefs and culture will respond to your employer brand and apply for roles. With shared core values employees are more likely to  stay with an organisation, as they knew what they were signing up for in advance.

4.   Improves candidate experience

The candidate experience is a very important factor in the recruitment strategy. Candidate experiences in the recruitment process are shared by over 70% of people- and this is true of most negative experiences! If word gets out about your poor candidate experience in the recruitment process you will see immediate damage to your employer brand. This is especially true when reviews are left on Glassdoor or social media.

5.   Improves employee engagement

With happier employees who believe in the company and their goals comes greater productivity. Employees who are right for the role will have stronger engagement and will work harder for the company. This as mentioned will dramatically reduce turnover and enable company productivity to soar.

6.   Reduces recruitment costs

The costs attached with recruitment are seriously high! With job ads, recruiter agencies, employee training, orientation filling vacancies, leaving roles vacant due to interviews and so much more.

When you introduce a strong and successful employer brand you don’t need to spend as much time and resources on attracting top talent. As Jobsoid put it, “employer branding indirectly decreases the amount of time you spend on filling a position and its subsequent costs”.

A study by Glassdoor also found that companies with a strong employer brand also have lower salary requests from candidates.

Attracting younger talent and the differences in approach

There is also a growing market for Generation Z job seekers. This generation has been brought up to appreciate and expect transparency and purpose from companies.

While Gen Z holds a very young and inexperienced market share of candidates, they will become a larger and larger force that will need appealing to. And this is especially important as a strong employer brand can take a few years to build.

Engaging with Gen Z is especially important through using social media. In particular Snapchat and Instagram.  Take a look here at the success of Mcdonald’s with its candidate experience recruitment strategy using social media to connect with Gen Z candidates. 

How to implement an employer branding initiative strategy

So by now you’re convinced you should improve your employer brand, but you’re probably wondering how do I get started?

Below we’ve highlighted a step-by-step guide on implementing employer branding initiatives.

1.   Create your employer branding goals

To do this you need to think about what you want your employer branding to achieve. It could be Increase the quality of candidates, increase job applicants from social media, improve the candidate experience, increase online awareness and engagement, increase referral rates etc.

2.   Identify your candidate persona

You need to figure out who your ideal candidate is to know how to target and attract them. Think about their:

  • Age
  • Career goals
  • Where and how they search for jobs (passive, mobile, referrals, is this on social media, company website, job boards)
  • What motivates them in a role (financial, company beliefs, job benefits, hours, work environment, projects, education, etc)
  • Their skills and experience

3.   Create your employee value proposition

What makes you an attractive organisation to work for? Are you an innovative and fast-pace start up with potential to learn and scale fast? Or do you have core values and beliefs as a company central to your mission and products?

Find out here what it is that your customers and current employees like best about you and make this your brand.

Think about your company benefits, compensation, work environment, culture and career opportunities.

To figure out what you’re all about, conduct internal surveys and focus groups. Talk to your candidates and get feedback on your recruitment process. It all helps to shape your employer brand.

4.    Define your message

Now you know who you are, what you believe in and why you’re attractive you can create your message.

This is to directly communicate to potential candidates exactly what you are and what they can expect as an employee.

Be interactive, authentic with your tone of voice and consistent.

5. Embrace technology

Companies who are engaged and interactive with their audience are utilising all the tools at their disposal. Great communication is essential in forming a positive employer brand.

Be sure to reach out to candidates through a variety of channels that fit your candidate persona. This can include social networks, career sites, current employees, lectures and workshops, inbound recruiting, job advertisements, candidate relationship management and the application process.

6. Treat candidates like customers

The job market has changed. Companies need to work for the attention of candidates. More and more candidates are treating the job search market like online shopping. They are picking and choosing which companies to apply for based on their online presence.

So work on your candidate experience. Get candidates wanting to seek out roles in your organisation. Take a look at the candidate experience story from Heiniken, it’s an exceptional example of how a positive candidate experience can have a huge impact on the company brand and it’s reputation.

7. Work from the inside out

Creating positive candidate experiences need to begin from within. Change and improve your current employee engagement tactics. Create a culture to be proud of and a team who are proud to be a part of it. This is achieved by working on your company culture and improving the well-being of your employees with careful investment.

They will become your best advocates.

 

8. Share real stories

People are drawn to authenticity and transparency.

Share real life stories to connect with your potential candidates. Share stories or vlogs of how your company came to be, or about your current employees and their own experiences. This is your opportunity to make the connection with your audience personal and likeable instead of a faceless corporation.

Telling your personal story is a way to tap into human nature and make those connections that are desired.

9. Apply for award programs to recognise your outstanding employer branding

What better way is there to acquire a great employer brand image than to merit an award for it!

It sounds cheesy, but enter award programmes and showcase as best as you can your efforts to improve your employer branding. And when you get recognition for it, candidates will recognise you too!

10. Measure your employer branding success

Finally, there’s no point going to all this effort without measuring its effectiveness.

Analytics and measuring in HR is a critical step, as the HR department has no immediate recognition of success like other departments. When the sales team reaches their goals the success is seen immediately- sales immediately increase and so does revenue.

As you proceed with your employer branding initiatives you should reflect back on your initial goals. How are the quality of your candidates now compared to previously? Has this decreased your recruitment time to fill a vacancy? How has this impacted recruitment costs?

When you implement HR tools to help with the process, you should use tools which use analytics and tracking to measure your progress. This will help you stay on target and reach your goals.

Use professional employer review and ranking websites such as Glassdoor to measure the success of your brand and better understand your position as an employer in the market.

Creating your employer branding initiatives

Keep in mind that the biggest obstacle that candidates face when searching for a job is not knowing what it’s like to work for a company.

So whatever employer branding initiatives you introduce, keep your focus on communicating and your company culture and environment to your audience. Use the right channels and speak their language. Soon you’ll be attracting better talent, lowering your recruitment costs, and soaring with success.

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