Whether it’s the Great Resignation or the change in employees’ preferences regarding workplace conditions, one thing is clear – companies everywhere struggle with talent acquisition and retention.
However, not all companies have these difficulties. Those with a strong employer brand (or HR brand) manage to attract top talent just fine. In fact, amidst the intensifying global competition for talent, companies that managed to create a positive reputation have the most to gain. According to a Glassdoor survey, 86% of job seekers will first research a company before deciding whether to apply for a job or not.
The good news is that your company can work on its own reputation by putting together a well-designed employer branding strategy that helps you stand out. Moreover, a strong employer brand can help to improve new hires’ commitment and increase the likelihood of employees acting as advocates.
But how do you design such a strategy, and where do you start?
In today’s article, we will cover the most important elements of an employer branding strategy and provide a few tips on how to maintain a consistent brand image once things have settled down.
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What is Employer Branding?
In a nutshell, an employer’s brand is the combination of attributes, values, and culture that makes an organization unique.
Employer branding is an essential part of any organization’s HR strategy and is used to promote the company’s unique employee value proposition (EVP). Its main role is to attract and retain top talent as well as create a positive reputation in the market that can help boost the organization’s sales and profits.
By investing in employer branding, organizations can benefit from increased visibility, higher-quality candidates, and improved recruitment and retention rates.
While the task of designing an employer branding strategy is mostly on HR’s shoulders, other departments like marketing, finance, and sales can get involved to provide valuable insight. Overall, a successful strategy is one that resonates with potential applicants and helps your organization to hire, retain and engage with the right talent.
Now, each company will devise its own strategy, but there are common activities involved, such as creating an attractive Careers site section, using social media to share employees’ testimonials, managing employer review sites, creating and promoting attractive job descriptions, investing in candidate experience, and more.
Elements of a Winning Employer Branding Strategy
Building a successful employer branding strategy requires dedication and a lot of hard work. Plus, it’s not something that will work right away or something you can ignore once it starts showing results.
To get the best results, it’s recommended to follow a series of steps that will help you craft the right message and reach the right audience. And this is what we’ll talk about moving forward.
Understand Your Current Situation
What’s your current company image in the eyes of candidates?
What do existing employees think about your company culture?
Is your employee brand represented on social media and other channels frequented by possible candidates?
All these questions and more will allow you to get a clear and realistic understanding of your existing employer brand. If you ask the right questions, you’ll also get a good idea of any challenges that hinder your progress as a company and the areas that need to be improved.
Update Your Company Mission
Many companies take the idea of a mission lightly and just write something pompous on their About Us page. However, today’s employees are more focused on these aspects than ever and can smell a bogus statement from a mile away.
In fact, one of the main reasons employees leave a company is the lack of a clear vision and/or an outdated mission. When the vision and mission are not aligned with current standards, chances are the company culture is not aligned either, and this can lead to talent retention problems. In fact, according to a recent survey, toxic corporate culture was the main driver during the Great Resignation period.
So make sure your mission is up to date and designed to fit your target audience’s (candidates you want to employ) needs and wants. Have HR and Marketing work together to create a new value and mission statement, and make sure to actually implement it.
Focus on Promotion
It’s not enough to change your branding and update your mission and vision. You also have to let the world know your company has changed and there are new policies in place that make work fun and engaging.
Start by designing an awareness campaign (the Marketing department should be able to help here) that shows potential employees what it’s really like to work for your organization. You can do this by sharing authentic stories, articles, and interviews featuring people from all levels of the organization, as well as real images and videos of your team.
You can also organize webinars on various topics. This way, interested candidates can interact with existing employees while also getting to peek into your company’s work culture and overall environment. Just make sure to promote your webinars to the right audience (here is a list of webinar promotion ideas for more inspiration).
Another way to get word of mouth going is through social media and employer review websites (like Glassdoor). While it’s best to have a specialized team working on this, it’s also a good idea to encourage employees to spread the word about your organization. Allow your employees to post their opinions freely to make sure the stories are genuine and authentic.
Define Your EVP
Every HR team has its own strategies for hiring talent, but every good strategy starts with a clear and well-defined EVP (Employee Value Proposition).
Plus, it’s important to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach when creating your EVP. Your workforce is diverse, and the talent you hope to attract often has different values and preferences. So, the best way to showcase your branding is by making sure different groups of people see the elements of the value proposition that matter the most to them. This usually means that you’ll have to create different versions of the general value proposition that serves as a foundation.
EVPs are a great way for companies to differentiate themselves from the competition, as long as it’s realistic and does not overpromise. When the EVP doesn’t match reality, it usually leads to low employee tenure and high turnover rates. According to Gartner, companies with realistic EVPs can decrease their turnover to under 70% and increase new hires by 30%.
The secret to a successful EVP stands in a well-designed and solid employer brand. When you’ve done all the necessary internal work to create a better workplace for your employee, then top talent will be happy to join your team.
Don’t Forget About Your Existing Employees
In the run for top talent, companies may take existing employees for granted. When this happens, employee retention rates drop significantly, which sends a negative signal to the market. After all, who wants to get hired by a company that bleeds out employees?
Plus, you want your current employees to post good things about your employment strategies and plans. Moreover, your existing workforce is a great source of information when trying to assess your image on the market.
Not to mention that employees are usually the most trusted and influential sources of information for interested candidates. While HR, marketing, and talent management teams are typically responsible for developing employer branding strategies, your current employees are the most important brand ambassadors.
Therefore, it is essential to focus on employee engagement and communication in order to make sure your employer branding strategy will succeed.
A solid employer branding strategy will help you attract top-notch talent, but it’s also a great way to make sure your mission and values are up-to-date and realistic. That’s because companies that focus on developing their brand as an employer (and work hard to maintain it) are targeted by some of the most high-quality candidates.