No matter what the industry, an employer’s brand is a vital component in their ability to effectively attract, acquire and retain staff.
Since the emergence of the candidate-driven market brought upon by the flow-on effects of the pandemic, an employer’s brand has taken on even greater significance in the recruitment and retention landscape.
Recruiting the perfect candidate is now harder than ever and represents a worry for 73% of Australian business owners in 2022 according to a study done by the Ai Group.
So, what exactly is an employer’s brand and why is it so important?
Why is Employer Brand Important?
In a recent Forbes article, 69% of talent leaders said that employer branding is the top component they’ll be investing their budgets in this year.
Employer branding is the reputation an employer possesses as a place to work at. It’s a mix of:
- Employee opinions
- Candidate opinions
- Corporate brand
Employer branding should be the foundation for a positive recruitment and retention strategy. Intelligent businesses should be considering their employer brands at all times, not just in a candidate-driven market like the present.
In a survey by Forbes, one employer said, “Candidates have the power now. Convincing people to work for us is key. Pay, culture, word of mouth, benefits [and] work-life balance will all be critical. We need to prove how we’re better to work for than any other company even though we can’t always offer the highest pay. Non-monetary perks will be more important than ever.”
With the goal posts shifted towards them, employees are also taking more interest in company reviews in the marketplace and with plenty of options available for them on the job front, they’re making informed decisions based on these reviews.
According to a recent survey conducted by Glassdoor, 86% of job seekers are now likely to research company reviews and ratings when deciding where to apply for a job.
Thus, the importance of an employer’s brand.
The Benefits of a Strong Employer Brand
When thinking about how to bring your employer brand to life, first consider the why. If your organiation is able to pinpoint the benefits that they want to achieve out of enhancing employer brand, then it will be easier to implement strategies to achieve your goals. Here are five benefits of a strong employer brand that can contribute to your ‘why’.
- Stand out from competitors. 62% of Glassdoor job seekers are more likely to respond to a recruiter from a company that they recognise.
- Attract high-quality, informed candidates. Three in four hiring decision makers say attracting high-quality, informed candidates is their number one challenge. A clear and strong brand will attract the right candidates to you.
- Cost reduction. The more effective your organisation is at being identified as a great place to work, the less you spend to recruit new employees. According to a LinkedIn survey in 2011, a 50% cost-per-hire in savings is associated with a strong employer brand.
- Brand loyalty. Despite not getting the job, if a candidate feels they have been treated well in the interview process, they are more inclined to apply for another job in the future as well as enhancing their loyalty as a consumer. 64% of consumers have stopped purchasing a brand after hearing news of that company’s poor treatment of employees.
- Employee retention. A strong employer brand shouldn’t be just what candidates think, but what existing employees feel about the company. Negative reviews from disgruntled employees can spread like wildfire in the digital age.
How to be an Employer of Choice
After clearly defining your employer brand, it’s time to work on addressing and optimising the three tenets of employer branding:
- The fact is your reputation may not be where you want it to be. But fear not, this is not a static predicament, it can be improved. Firstly, leverage insights from existing employees and those that have left, to identify the issues. Your reputation as an employer is key to a strong employer branding strategy.
- Analyse the data derived from Pulse Surveys of existing employees and Exit Surveys from those that have departed. Once those insights have been evaluated, it sets a foundation to improve where you need to and ultimately enhance your reputation in the market.
- It is also vital to compare your standing in the market with your competitors so that you can measure your success on the back of the changes made internally. This might just be the key to attract top talent away from competitors.
- Address negative reviews in forums your social media channels. It shows that you care and are aiming to rectify the issues. 80% of job seekers that read reviews on Glassdoor say their perception of a company improves after seeing an employer respond to a review. It also enables you the ability to shape the conversation.
- Optimise your visual identity with up-to-date and consistent logos, colour palettes, typeface, and imagery. Make the visibility of your brand engaging through compelling content such as videos, blog posts and social media content aimed at attracting employees.
Employer Value Proposition (EVP)
- An EVP is your company’s core benefits that make up your wider employer brand. It’s a promise between an employer and a potential applicant. What can your company and culture offer them, in exchange for their talent, skills, and experience.
- An EVP is where you can explain and build the case for top talent and answer the candidate’s internal questioning of ‘Why should I work for you?’.
- Ensure that your EVP resonates with the needs, wants and desires of your target candidates and valued employees.
- Reinforce your EVP throughout your communication in recruiting, internal and external channels.
- Also known as Employee Value Proposition, but not to be confused with Employer Value Proposition. Employee Value Proposition is internal - how your company wants to be perceived by current employees.
- To help your external employer brand, it is valuable to pay attention to the internal elements first. Enhance your current employee experience before worrying about sourcing new talent.
- In turn, your existing employees will become brand ambassadors, and they are ultimately your best advocates to any potential candidate.
- Encourage a culture of feedback and showcase the positive feedback when it is earned.
How Your Brand can Achieve Authenticity and Communicate that Authenticity Well
In a recent webinar conducted by Xref, the VP of Business Development / Head of Sales at Careerbeacon, Serge Boudreau, emphasised the importance of real stories in attracting top candidates.
Most candidates are inundated with corporate jargon and cliched marketing that is ultimately ineffective. Authentic stories from real people cut through far more effectively.
“What candidates are telling us in the market is that they’re wanting real stories,” Boudreau said. “They want to know what the corporation is actually like, and they don’t want corporate values or anything like that. Basically, what they’re saying is that if you’re telling me - ‘It’s a great place for parents to work’ - show me the receipt!
“My number one advice is that if candidates are telling us they want real stories from real people, please put them out there. Provide stories about what it’s like to work at your company.
“You’re no longer competing with the company across the street…you’re pretty much competing with every company in the world, so how you go to market, how you tell your stories, and how you difference yourself are absolutely critical.”
Ask your current employees, ‘what makes a good employer?’ Some will talk about the work environment, and others will speak of flexibility or compensation. A mixture of all of these is most likely. Make sure you communicate how your company addresses each of these on your careers page and further afield when recruiting.
This has proven effective at Fujitsu as Oceania Communications Manager Simon McGuinness explains:
“We started a story-telling project, aptly titled ‘Fujitsu Stories’, which aimed to shine a spotlight on our employee’s milestones and accomplishments,” McGuinness said.
“We have many long-term employees who have reached 30, 20, 10-year anniversaries and to me that is something worth celebrating. We would sit down with the individual and put together a video package to help them celebrate their milestone.
“Most of the individuals in question don’t chase the spotlight for their accomplishments so it was nice to go out of our way to recognise them.
“Initially, the project was just designed for internal content streams. They were very well received, and it boosted staff morale.
“But eventually, the content was requested to be used on our external channels also because they’re a great advertisement for working at Fujitsu. Someone who has stayed at the one company for 30 years obviously loves what they do, and they all spoke glowingly of their time here.
“It wasn’t designed as an advertisement for job seekers, but it has resulted in that way due to the beautiful authenticity of the content. Existing employees really are your best advocates for attracting new talent.”
One of the best ways to gauge your company's reputation is to speak to employees and if it’s positive, promote that to job seekers.
Interestingly, 96% of companies believe employer brand and reputation can positively or negatively impact revenue, but less than half (44%) monitor that impact.
Whilst it’s important to remember that an employer’s brand image is never permanently negative, it is also not permanently positive.
Companies should always track their brand’s performance as well as that of their competitors to remain at the top of their game in the battle for talent.