If you were pressed to talk about your employer brand, would you be able to do so?
Sure, it’s something you know is important, but if you think about it honestly, do you actually know what your employer brand is and how you can infiltrate this through your company culture?
Companies often lose sight of this aspect of their business since they are too focused on their target audience and selling the product or service.
However, employees, job seekers, and talents form a significant target audience for a company too. They require a different approach and messaging, and every company needs to position itself positively in the minds of its current and future employees.
For that reason, we have crafted this ultimate guide on employer brand and branding, in which we will walk you through:
- What is an employer brand?
- What is an EVP or employer value proposition?
- Why is employer brand important, or the benefits of the employer brand.
- Who should be in charge of the employer brand?
- How to develop the employer brand – the in-depth process of employer branding.
- Roadblocks to employer brand success.
- Examples of some of the greatest employer brands.
- And excellent tools that can help you to improve your employer branding.
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.
Just because it says, “ethical” on your internal values document doesn’t mean that’s what Mr. Joe Bloggs thinks when you ask him what you’re about – and that’s the point.
It’s about understanding how you’re perceived as an employer and taking steps to align with how you want to be perceived.
Think of yourself as a close-knit community in which everyone’s valued, but your Glassdoor reviews say otherwise? I’m afraid, in the world of employer branding, they’re right, and you’re wrong.
What you think really doesn’t matter. What your current and future employees think, en masse, does. They define who you are.
Simply put, the employer value proposition tells the employees why they should work for you.
It showcases everything that you can offer as an employer in exchange for all the skills, experience, contacts, and knowledge that employees can bring to you.
EVP should effectively communicate the company’s values, mission and vision, and culture.
A well-crafted, strong employer value proposition can help companies not only attract but also engage potential employees, as well as re-engage and motivate the existing workforce.
Developing EVP is not easy, and your company needs to have well-established and defined culture, benefits, and mission to create it. And even then, EVP shouldn’t just bluntly state the benefits and other things the company offers. It should be crafted into a compelling story that will attract people to work for the company.
Here’s a small checklist of things you should keep in mind when creating the EVP:
- Company culture
- Mission and Vision
- Management style
- Employee benefits, like healthcare, insurance, vacations, childcare, paid meals during the work time.
- Worktime flexibility
- Company’s location
- Quality of work
- Work-life balance
- Job security
- Career development options
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% say they’d accept a lower salary if the employer created a great impression through the hiring process. The inherent challenge is that 29% of job seekers don’t think employers do a good job of reinforcing why their companies are an excellent place to work.
Moreover, 83% of employees said that they would leave their current positions if they were offered to work at a company with a better reputation.
In essence, a strong employer brand soars your reputation allowing you to become a talent magnet.
And to back this up, 83% of employers state that employer brand plays a significant role in hiring talent.
This is an often asked question: who should do the employer branding?
Is it the CEO, HR managers, recruiters, or maybe even marketers?
In reality, the ones that create your employer brand are the employees, ex-employes, current ones, and all of those who have applied to work for your company.
What your company states on their website and other channels of communication don’t matter unless it is aligned with what employees are saying.
Leaders and managers can craft the EVP and overall messaging they want to use when describing how it is to work for the company. Still, the employee and candidate experience is what will establish your employer brand.
So, no matter who is assigned to manage the employer brand, it is essential to remember that employees do most of the branding at the end of the day. Whether it is through face-to-face conversations, testimonials, reviews, or even social media comments.
Researches show that 50% of candidates share their positive experience online, while 35% of candidates also share a negative experience.
Therefore, you need to make sure that your company’s culture and work environment are supportive, encouraging, and healthy. Only then your employer brand can have a positive impact, and you can use it for effective branding and positioning.
In this part, we will go over the employer branding process. The stages you need to go through are:
- Research and company audit
- Developing the EVP
- Recruitment marketing
- Building employee engagement
- Creating amazing job descriptions
The first thing to realize about employer brand is that you have one, whether you like it or not.
This stage is all about finding out what your employer brand is currently – to determine the scale of the task ahead of you – and laying the groundwork for successful implementation further down the line.
It will likely involve conducting focus groups, both internally and externally. You’ll probably want to implement employee and candidate surveys and audit the candidate journey.
When you’re thinking about your employer brand, it’s also crucial 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 to attract people to these roles and retain them.
- Think about your current employees and consider their 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 to attract 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 regarding creating your employer brand and what you need to do to get it to where you want it to be.
This is the stage at which you determine what you actually want your employer brand to be. It’s about going back to who you are as a company and where you feel your value lies.
This stage involves defining your brand attributes and how each attribute is expressed in your company. At the end of this stage, you should have a creative brief that defines who you are, what you stand for, and what differentiates you as an employer.
You can always go to the EVP checklist mentioned above if you struggle with defining your EVP.
Now that you have the EVP, you should go to your marketing department or the agency that does the marketing work for you and communicate it with the broader audiences. Skilled marketers can help you craft a better story and position your employer brand well.
They can also help you make the message more employee/candidate-oriented and use the right language and tone of communication. Afterward, they can launch effective campaigns and ensure your target audience (potential employees) see them.
Since your employees are the ones that shape your employer brand, here are a few ways you can engage them with it.
- Social recruiting – Ask and motivate your employees to update their LinkedIn and other social media profiles with the work information. Ask them to write honest reviews of the company, and share their experiences online. When you have a job opening, make sure that each employee shares it on their LinkedIn profiles. And don’t just request this of them. Show them how to do it and help if they don’t know how and are uncertain.
- Show them off – Make sure to use employee testimonials on career pages and other important places. Let employees talk at job conferences, webinars and post them on the company’s social media channels. Motivate employees to share their stories online, how they started their career, how the company has helped them, and where they wish to be in the future.
- Teambuilding – Every once in a while, take your employees on fun and exciting teambuilding trips. They don’t have to revolve around skill advancement. Sometimes they can just be leisure or fun and unusual activities that can strengthen the bonds between employees and their managers. And make sure to document it.
- Smooth onboarding and candidate experience – Ensure that the candidate experience and onboarding process are smooth and straightforward. These are the most crucial points that shape employee experience and play a massive role in building the positive or negative employee brand.
Make it personal. Stand out with attention-grabbing, descriptive, and unique tone of communication and style of writing. Research what the competition is doing and create different job descriptions that stand out and portray your employer brand and company image.
If you want to become an expert in writing job descriptions that attract talents, make sure to take a peek at this guide on writing excellent job descriptions, with tips and tricks from experts themselves.
Like any good strategy, your employer brand strategy shouldn’t be seen as static. On the contrary, it’s an evolution and one that you need to track over time.
You should measure internal and external response and brand perception – return to the surveys and focus groups and ensure that your new brand is being seen how you intend it to be seen.
Measure your results throughout the recruitment process, and identify areas to improve. Your employer brand will naturally change over time, and getting the structures in place to identify that and act on it will set the business apart.
Maybe the above is misleading in making employer branding seem so simple. It isn’t – and there are no doubt many great companies out there whose employer brand does them no justice.
These are the things that most commonly hinder success:
- Lack of communication.
- Lack of ownership.
- Short-term thinking.
Let’s discuss each one of them more.
Employer branding is, by its nature, both holistic and multi-faceted.
Creating a compelling employer brand that simultaneously communicates all the elements of brand personality in an authentic, credible way requires clear lines of communication – cross-silo and from top-to-bottom.
As we’ve said above, employer brand doesn’t clearly ‘belong’ to one group or the other, leading to complications. Without an effective strategy to allocate responsibilities, the employer brand ends up belonging to everyone and no one.
Finding a way to create cross-company engagement can be challenging, but it’s absolutely critical to success.
This is about saying vs. doing. Employer brand will always fail if it’s not credible, believable, and accurate to reality.
Saying one thing and doing another will lead to employee disengagement, negative brand perception, and real lasting damage to your brand.
One likes to think that all top executives can reconcile short-term expenses with long-term gains. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Some companies will always fight a losing battle so long as employer branding is seen as unimportant to overarching strategic goals.
The fact remains that the employer brand is front and center in the corporate world at the moment.
The soils are ripe for HR professionals to deliver an authentic and persuasive business case for employer branding, encouraging 94% of people to see the employer brand as an investment, not a cost.
While employer branding is by no means an easy task, it’s a worthwhile one – playing a fundamental role in talent acquisition and retention and company profitability and growth.
Now that we have spent so much time talking about building an employer brand let’s take a moment and analyze how other companies have done it.
Before you go on and say, “Well, it’s easy for them, they are big and well-known companies!”, keep in mind that they have started small and were unknown first.
And without the help of a skilled and talented workforce, they wouldn’t have been able to make it this big.
Google receives millions of resumes per year, and while it is fantastic to have Google on your resume, this is not the only reason people are applying to work there like crazy.
What differentiates Google from most of the companies is their corporate culture, environment, and work-life balance. Their employees know that they are needed, supported, and acknowledged.
Remember what we have talked about previously, competitive salary, bonuses, and benefits are worth nothing if there isn’t an emotional component to all of it. Google makes sure that its employees feel valued and have a lot of space for growth and career development, making them so desirable for employees.
Here’s a small list of benefits Google offers to their employees:
- On-site medical services and healthcare coverage.
- Free top-quality food, covering various cuisine to cover everyone’s preferences.
- They motivate employees to spend 20% of their working hours on something they are passionate about.
- They don’t just offer up to 22 weeks of maternity and paternity leave but also one-on-one consultations for parents to help them organize themselves.
- Global Education Leave program allows employees to leave work to pursue further education, entirely covered by Google.
And here are some reviews from employees themselves: