Employees today want to know more about your organisation before they join than ever before. They are motivated by aspects that extend far beyond financial remuneration. Given that 86% of workers would not apply to work for a company with a bad reputation, employer branding should be a major consideration for any company looking to secure the best talent.
What is employer branding?
Beyond the way that consumers see your brand, there is a secondary layer of equal importance when it comes to growing your business-employer branding. This is how your brand is perceived by potential candidates and employees. There’ll be some crossover with the consumer-led side of your company’s brand, and some unique facets that should seek to promote your company as a great place to work. This includes your employee value proposition (EVP), philosophy, reputation and employee voice.
Why is employer branding important?
For the purpose of this article, we’ll be focusing on employer brand in terms of how it’s perceived by potential employees. Get this right and you’ll be not only attracting the high calibre of talent you seek, but also creating a workforce of brand ambassadors, capable of effectively communicating your value externally.
Companies that focus on merely filling roles as opposed to acquiring the best talent simply aren’t building for the long-term. Taking shortcuts when it comes to hiring, inevitably leads to a less-talented workforce.
In order to attract the best talent, a great EVP and employer branding is essential. The best talent is in demand, and you’ll need to differentiate yourself from your competition if you want to stand out from the crowd. You will also need to respect individual differences and adapt your offering to be as inclusive as possible. This could include enhanced flexibility to attract new and diverse pools of talent, clear progression structures, a commitment to the environment or charitable causes, and personalised benefits to reward your employees with what matters to them most.
In the same way that great employer branding can help you attract the best talent, a competitive EVP can help you retain it too. By investing in your people now, you are more likely to benefit from their loyalty and development later on.
If your staff are happy in their roles and rewarded appropriately, they’ll also help to grow your brand in indirect ways. Brand advocacy is a powerful marketing tool- if your people are speaking positively about their workplace, you’ll increase your chances of hiring the best talent, because “great people know great people”.
How does employer branding help a company to attract the best candidates?
Alongside the points of difference we mentioned above, research shows that companies with strong employer brands receive 50% more qualified applicants. In the era of community groups and social media, candidates are more able to find out about the inner workings of your business than ever before. Get your employer branding right and you’ll have a presence in the minds of the talent you want to attract.
Creating an employer branding strategy
You may be starting from scratch, or you may want to improve your existing employer brand. Whatever your starting point, understanding where you are currently and evolving your strategy is the key to success.
Conduct an employer brand audit
Begin from the ground up. You might already have an idea how your brand is perceived by potential employees, but don’t work on a hunch. Review online platforms and social media for mentions of your brand, and survey your existing employees for honest opinions. It’s best to make all feedback anonymous so people can be truly honest. Any audit should reflect your current strengths and weaknesses.
Promote your employer brand through social media
Depending on the results of your audit, you should have some positive feedback to shout about. Encourage your employees to share their experiences in an indirect way, by posting company-relevant information on social media. This may be as simple as sharing images from a team building day, fun stuff that’s happened in the office, or great achievements from individuals or teams.
Prioritise diversity, equity and inclusion
A diverse and inclusive workforce is not just desirable in 2022; it’s essential. By demonstrating your commitment to creating a truly inclusive environment, you’ll capture the attention of a broader talent community- and attract not only new people to your business, but new ideas and perspectives too.
Discover what your potential candidates want
When speaking to potential candidates, don’t assume you know what’s important to them as an individual. Seek to understand their priorities and motivations before coming to any conclusions. Use this insight to develop a more targeted approach and work in partnership with your people team to ensure your EVP is both inclusive and competitive.
Devise employee perks based on research
To better understand what individuals are looking for from employers today, use surveys and competitor research to benchmark your organisation and ensure you are capable of attracting the highest calibre of talent. Consider everything from flexible working, professional development, health and wellbeing initiatives, private medical insurance, inclusive policies and incentive schemes.
Establish a UVP
Once you’ve gathered all your research together, it’s time to put it into practice. Establishing a unique value proposition is the ultimate goal here – what can you do to go beyond the expected and make your business stand out from the crowd?
How can you utilise an engaged workforce more effectively?
If your employees are happy to work for your company, they’ll be happy to tell the world about it. Once you’ve established your employer brand, you want to create a culture where employees naturally become brand ambassadors. This is a highly-effective form of marketing that doesn’t eat into your budget, is authentic and often more relatable to potential candidates. Look after your people and they will look after your employer brand.
Regular feedback and surveys
Don’t wait until you identify an issue to utilise feedback and surveys – make them a regular thing. You might choose to send out surveys on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis, depending on how frequently you want to measure your progress. Stay up to date with how your workforce is feeling, and positively acknowledge feedback received– ensuring people feel their perspective is valued and heard.
Employee referral program
An employee referral program rewards employees who find new talent for your business, usually with some sort of financial incentive. It’s often a very effective way to attract and hire talent. Your employees will likely know the person they recommend and select them wisely, with a commitment to making the best decision for both the individual and the business. And as they’re already ‘on the inside’, they’ll act as a reliable and trustworthy brand ambassador.
Creating a culture that not only attracts, but also retains the best talent is just as important as building a customer obsessed consumer reputation. The two are interlinked and can naturally inspire each other.
In an ultra-competitive and open market, companies need to acquire the very best talent in order to succeed in their mission. Building a great EVP and employer branding strategy is a must when it comes to achieving this.