A strong employer brand helps companies attract not only top talent, but the right talent. And during times of crisis, adjusting your brand to one that is supportive and reflects company changes is critical to aligning employees and staying connected with candidates.
Whether your organization is actively hiring or halting acquisition efforts, it's important to take the time to reflect on your employer brand and make necessary updates.
Redesigning or starting from scratch? Here are the basics you need to know to create a compelling employer brand.
What is an employer brand?
For employers that want to attract top talent to their companies, branding is a natural extension of their value propositions. It's also the way a business articulates what differentiates it from other companies in order to interest future employees and retain current ones. An effective employer brand accurately communicates the reasons why talented people should want to work there—and can enhance a company's overarching brand, recruit top job candidates, engage employees, and transform existing talent into brand advocates.
How important is an employer brand?
When leveraged effectively, your employer brand can help attract best-fit talent, increase profitability, and reduce employee turnover. In fact, almost 85% of job candidates said that a company's reputation "as an employer" was a critical factor in their decision to accept or reject a job offer.
When it comes to preconceptions about a company, most job seekers are only minimally impacted by the work of recruiters—the majority formulate views from their own research during the job search. According to a recent Talent Board report, fewer than 8% of job seekers applied to a company because of a recruiter; 75% said their decision to apply was based on what they learned about a company from their website and social media presence.
What are the best ways to develop a strong employer brand?
Establishing and maintaining your brand consistently across your career site and social channels is critical to success. While every business is different, most will benefit through a branding development process that includes the following 4 strategies:
1. Clarify your company’s vision & mission
If your company's vision and mission statements seem to be falling flat, it may be time for a refresh. These statements should specifically articulate what sets your organization apart, the value you bring to customers, and the ways your employees contribute to that value. Candidates want to work for businesses with values that align with their own—and where they can make meaningful contributions to the company's goals.
2. Do your research
Not every job seeker will be the right fit for your company. To ensure you hire someone who will thrive within your culture, take time to understand what current employees (especially star performers) like about their jobs and work environment. Next, try to understand what your candidates are looking for, and identify where there is overlap. This research will help you clarify your brand and more effectively communicate it to job seekers. You should also look at how chief competitors are positioning themselves in the marketplace and use that information to further solidify your angle. What makes your company different?
3. Create a distinct employee value proposition
If your current value proposition is directed at prospective customers and clients—and emphasizes things like product value and customer service—consider reinforcing your employer brand with a separate proposition aimed at top talent. It should summarize and define the principal elements of your brand, making it easy for candidates to quickly understand your company’s purpose and values.
4. Align employees
Job seekers will likely interact with your organization in many ways and with many people. Candidate touch points include your marketing team (through content and social media), recruiters, interviewers, and potential colleagues. To prevent your brand message from becoming muddled or compromised, clearly communicate the precise wording of your messaging to all employees and explain how it contributes to the health of your business.
Creating, refining and communicating a strong employer brand can be a game changer for your talent experience—especially during crisis. While these tips should bring clarity as you get started, note that your brand should continue to grow with your company.