If you were pressed to talk about your employer brand, could you? Sure, it’s something you know is important; but if you think about it honestly, do you actually have an idea of what your employer brand is and how you can infiltrate this through your company culture?
What is an employer brand?
An employer brand is effectively the way that both your potential employers and key stakeholders see your company. It’s all about what ideas conjure up in their mind when they think about your company and what views they have of it.
An effective employer brand will almost always present your company as somewhere people would and should like to work. As well as this, a positive employer brand will position yourselves as great employers. Ensuring people perceive your company how you want them to will improves your retention, hiring, as well as your company’s overall perception in your industry.
Every company should have a set of values and a culture which it should reiterate throughout all discourse. Employer branding is all about communicating both the values and the culture to the potential candidate in order for them to want to work alongside you. This communication should not just stop at the hiring process. You should endeavor to communicate your employer brand throughout their time at the company, whether that be through training, incentives, or their personal career development.
Companies with strong employer brands will always find they have a higher number of applicants per job role, meaning a higher number of top candidates. You are then at the advantage of having a large selection of candidates to choose from and you can afford to be pickier when it comes to selecting which candidate is right for you. “The research claims that through effective employer-branding, businesses can improve the quality of the group of candidates they have by 54%, and the quality of those they hire by 9%.”
A strong company brand can be the difference between your customers choosing to work with you, or them seeking to look for opportunities elsewhere. Increasing your budget on recruitment campaigns is brilliant for the short term, but long term you need to put measures in place to ensure you don’t lose out on the top candidates to companies with stronger employer brands.
“68 percent say they’d accept a lower salary if the employer created a great impression through the hiring process. The inherent challenge is that 29 percent of job seekers don’t think employers do a good job of reinforcing why their companies are a good place to work.”
This has a direct effect on your turnover.
Employee turnover is the idea of people coming and going from your roles quicker than you would like them to. We all know that the cost of hiring is increasing and so the less time you can spend recruiting roles you’ve just recruited, the better.
Poor employee turnover creates a myriad of problems such as lack of engagement, many more absences, and lack of enthusiasm with the current staff who are becoming tired and perhaps disillusioned by all the change.
If you improve your brand and values and make these visible, accessible, and known to both current and potential employees, you stand a better chance at increasing your turnover rate.
Why aren’t the right people applying?
When you’re looking at why you’re not getting the right applicants for jobs, consider whether you’ve really highlighted the benefits of working with you. Perhaps the position isn’t the highest paying but the benefits of working with your company greatly outweigh that? How do you suppose anyone would know this if you don’t tell them?
How you treat candidates is a key factor in determining your initial employer brand. Do you reply to all candidates, even the ones who were unsuccessful? Do you provide an enjoyable application process that would ignite the candidate to recommend their friend applies too?
From the moment a potential candidate views your site or job application, they’re making a judgment about your company. They may even choose to do their own research to see what others are saying your business.
Its imperative the message others are saying about your company aligns with the message you’re trying to promote or you might find the candidate no longer wishes to apply for your role and in turn, you lose out on top talent.
“Brands must empower their community to be change agents in their own right. To that end, they need to take a mentoring role. This means the brand provides the tools, techniques and strategies for their [candidates] to become more effective marketers in achieving their own goals.” – Simon Mainwaring
Because people are paying less and less attention to how they’re branding themselves as employers, they are losing out on attracting great talent as well as failing to retain the talent they already have.
When was the last time you requested feedback from your candidates of their experiences? It seems only “11% of business’ seek feedback from candidates regarding their experiences.”
Think about your employer branding again and think about what metrics you use to determine what needs improving.
Applicant tracking systems are now becoming much cheaper and more popular for small to medium businesses.
They are useful in the fact they afford you the ability to interact with candidates, even if these interactions are automated. Seeming to go the extra mile increases your brand awareness.
How do you develop your brand?
When you’re thinking about your employer brand it’s important for you to consider some key questions and make sure you have answers to them as these will form the basis of your branding.
- What are the most attractive features of your business to current and potential employees?
- Which roles in your company are most vital to the success of the team? What could and should you be doing in order to not only attract people to these roles, but also retain them.
- Think about your current employees and consider their own characteristics, what do they all have in common? Is there a driving force?
- What do people currently think about working within your company? Whether that’s current employees or external people? Are people’s perceptions of your company affecting you attracting better quality talent?
Once these questions have been answered, you are in a much better position to figure out where you are at the moment in regards to creating your employer brand and what you need to do in order to get it to where you want it to be.
“More than half of employers (59%) believe employer brand management is key to HR strategy,”
How to implement your employer brand
Once you’ve worked out what your employer brand is and you have an honest view of how you treat your employees, it’s important to infiltrate this into your business so it feels normal and natural for anyone involved. This means your employer brand needs to be embedded into your culture and values. Everyone must know the employer brand and understand the benefits for them.
If you’re looking to create a strong employer brand there are various things you can do:
- Promote your culture and rewards. – Show people that hard work does not go unnoticed, and let them know what success looks like and how to achieve it.
- When you have new employees, introduce them to the team so they feel welcome and at home.
- Ensure you’re sticking to your word and helping people develop in their careers if that’s something you’ve said you’re going to do.
- Even if a candidate isn’t suitable for the role, be sure to be polite and courteous so that they feel their efforts didn’t go to waste.
“36% of global employers reported talent shortages,” and so small changes in the behavior of your company can drastically affect the employer branding and substantially increase the number of top talents who apply for your roles.
A strong employer brand doesn’t just help you attract new talent, it also helps you retain the talent you already have. Having a strong brand gives your employees reason to stay with your company, as opposed to looking elsewhere.
As a company, you should know that your employees’ expertise, skill set and knowledge are crucial to the running of your business. You should make sure you’re reinforcing your brand values so the current employees understand them and they don’t get forgotten. It is crucial that you act upon any brand promises you’ve promised to deliver.
Your employer brand shouldn’t just stop when an employee leaves. Remember employer branding is all about other’s perspective of your company.
When someone decides to leave your company it doesn’t necessarily mean you will never see or work with that person again. Companies with a strong employer brand find their ex-employees are actually some of their best brand ambassadors.
Baring this in mind, it’s important for you to leave on good terms and let your ex-employees feel like they are supported right up until their final moments in your company. If you’re looking for ways to do this, then exit interviews provide a perfect opportunity for you show they are still valued, and gives you a chance to understand the perceptions of your company from those who are now able to freely give insight.
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