A strong, authentic employer brand will help businesses attract employees who chime with their culture, values and expectations. This will lead to improved performance, greater loyalty and create employee ‘ambassadors’ who are happy to recommend the firm to other recruits,
Today, when making a decision on where to apply for a job, 84% of candidates say a company’s reputation as an employer is important. 55% of job seekers have abandoned applications after reading negative reviews online. And half say they wouldn’t work for a company with a bad reputation, even for a pay increase, according to TalentNow.
A 2017 study by CareerArc found that millennials are less likely to apply to a company after reading poor employer reviews, are more open to switching jobs after witnessing poor employer practices. They also frequently share their opinions of employers on review sites and social media compared to Generation X and Baby Boomers.
In the battle for talent, how your business is perceived by past, present and future recruits can be the biggest weapon in your recruitment arsenal.
But what does all this mean? It means thinking carefully about your employer brand…
Ensuring there’s a good fit between employer and employee
For many hires, it will be six to 12 months before the firm sees a positive return on the time and cost of its recruitment efforts.
Get the employer-employee fit wrong, however, and all that hard work can be undone when freshly-trained employees start job hunting again.
But, executed well, an employer brand will clearly demonstrate a firm’s unique DNA to potential recruits, enabling it to stand out in a competitive marketplace. Fundamentally, it will satisfy four key criteria:
- It will be relevant to a suitable candidate’s skills and aspirations
- Its claims will be believable in the market
- It will clearly deliver on its values
- It will be different from other companies it competes with for talent
How to enhance your employer brand
The challenge of creating an employer brand is that it is often very difficult to gain an accurate perspective and to break free of where you’ve been before.
The best place to start is with in-depth interviews with current employees who represent the kind of talent you want to attract. Ask them: Why did they join? What made them choose your firm over their other options? Has their experience matched their expectations? Where do they see the firm going?
Essentially, you’re trying to build a detailed marketing persona, just as you do with your customers so you can direct your marketing efforts to the right people and places.
But what about inclusivity & diversity?
For any firm looking to increase diversity, it’s equally critical to understand the talent gaps. Why are you not attracting from certain sectors of society or certain worldviews?
What are they looking for that you either already offer or can do in the near future? Of course, it can be difficult to learn about people you don’t yet attract.
One way is to hold follow-up interviews with the ones-that-got-away.
It’s important to focus on becoming authentically different from your competitors. Too many firms trumpet their ‘unique’ values and culture seemingly oblivious to the fact these are often carbon copies of others in their space.
Today, every business is rooted in demonstrating integrity, respect, openness and diversity – just as every business claims to have a great culture – these things are the price of entry.
Spend time really identifying what makes you meaningfully difference as a place to work hard on pinning down your values, and be ruthless about communicating them.
Put this into practice
Importantly, this doesn’t always need to be about the long-term. For a campaign I worked on for EY’s graduate recruitment, we researched the market and found most competitors focused on what a graduate’s eventual future at their organisation would look like.
To stand out, we focused on how EY graduates would be making a real impact right from the start, with headlines such as ‘Day one and already you’re making your mark’. In doing so, we linked possibility and opportunity to real-world activity that demonstrated the brand’s values and commitment in action.
In another campaign for Signicast, a U.S. manufacturing business, we demonstrated how the brand places a high value on work-life balance, showing its commitment to flexible working with emotive images from outside the workplace alongside headlines like ‘Doting father. Fishing fanatic. Packers fan. Manufacturing Technician at Signicast’.
By focusing on creating meaningfully different employee brands, both stood out in the sea of sameness that generally characterises their industries. And, ultimately, it helped them attract qualified talent that was a better fit for their businesses.
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