Attracting and retaining top talent in an increasingly competitive landscape hinges on the perception that potential candidates and existing employees have of your business.
Believe us: when it comes to recruitment, news travels fast and gossip spreads like wildfire. All it takes is one negative experience to tarnish your image for the foreseeable future.
After all, you can’t call shrug off a Glassdoor review as fake news.
Unsure of where to get started? Read on: we’ve put together a guide to set you on the right track to employer branding success.
What is employer branding?
While your customer brand exists to showcase your company’s unique offering and differentiate it from the competition, your employer brand is the storefront to your company’s culture; it’s a mosaic of employee experiences that together make one lasting image.
Businesses who have a handle on their employer brand enjoy a steady flow of high-calibre candidates with half the effort of those with a less visible or less positive reputation.
Why it matters
Attracting top talent in the labor market takes more than a price tag and an eye-catching job ad.
Instead, it requires a sustained commitment in creating a brand that people feel proud to work for.
Nobody wants to work for a company that makes them feel demotivated, disengaged and unenthused. In that respect, accepting an offer from a company with a poor employer reputation is usually regarded as a risky decision. Naturally, candidates flock to companies who are well known for their high retention rates in search for a positive working environment.
Deliver this, and you can count on a reduction in hiring costs and a higher volume of applicants for each new vacancy: it’s a win-win for both the business and its workforce.
Assessing brand attractiveness
Whether or not you make an effort in controlling it, your employer brand will be born from the reputation you garner over time.
If you aren’t aware of how outsiders perceive your business, start by asking the insiders. Your existing employees will be the best judge of your company’s character; they experience the culture every day.
Conducting a staff-wide anonymous survey on job satisfaction and workplace culture will reveal the creases that need ironing out: it could concern company values, development opportunities or maybe even management styles.
Next, undertake an online investigation of your employer brand: check sites such as Glassdoor to gauge the general consensus. In this case, no publicity is better than bad publicity: it’s a fresh start in the digital sphere, at least.
Shaping your brand: it’s what’s inside that counts
When your business is known as the bad egg of the employer basket, there’s no painting over the cracks. An attractive website will only get so far before candidates discover the truth.
That’s why the first and most important step in building a powerful employer brand is to create a culture of empowerment; to cultivate an environment in which employees at every level feel valued for their contribution.
When the workforce is engaged with the company’s goals and feel motivated each day, the business begins to benefit from a boost to their employer brand.
Engage management on employer identity
The most successful employer brands are those that are woven into the fabric of the organization.
This demands commitment from management of all departments to engage their teams on the values, accepted behaviours and ambitions of the company.
Ensuring each employee has a voice and feels represented, respected and valued by their manager will help to turn the brand into second nature throughout the organization.
Creating positive candidate experiences
Your employer brand is shaped by each and every touchpoint in the candidate journey, from the moment of application right through to the offer or rejection.
Bear this in mind with each new applicant and ensure the experience they have of the company is positive, regardless of the outcome. Remember, the candidate is here to interview you, too: they want to know their future workplace will be the right fit and reflect the values they so actively promote online.
Leave a hopeful applicant hanging and your employer brand could take a hit. Take every opportunity to create memorable, positive experiences and there will be less hard feelings for everyone.
Turning employees into ambassadors
People are quick to praise or complain – they’re less likely to share the in between. High morale and increased satisfaction transforms loyal employees into brand ambassadors: see it as the return on your investment into the workforce.
When people are happy, you can be sure they’ll shout about it to their friends as well as their wider network on social media. When this happens, you can guarantee those vacancies will start to attract a lot more attention from your target audience.
The importance of off-boarding
Brand advocates aren’t just current employees. Those who exit the business should leave with a positive, or at the very least, a neutral opinion of the company.
Most employers appreciate the importance of onboarding, yet when an employee leaves for pastures new, many still ignore the need for a formal offboarding process.
This is to their detriment: in fact, offboarding plays a pivotal role in the employee lifecycle and can be extremely valuable in gathering honest feedback of the employer brand.
Consistency is key
Effective employer branding relies on consistency. It’s no use working to improve your reputation if the business crumbles during tough times and values are thrown out the window in order to “get the job done.”
A well-crafted employer branding strategy focuses on the long-term objectives; it shouldn’t change due to a little rocky ground underfoot.
During these times, consistent messaging helps employees feel reassured and secure, so don’t assume they’ll stay loyal without it.
After all, there’s only so much they can put up with before a competitor starts to seem like more of a safe bet.
When your business brings your brand values to life, sourcing and retaining top talent suddenly becomes a lot easier.
Achieving a positive and vibrant culture is the first challenge, maintaining it is the next: from here, it’s up to you to track your progress and keep seeking feedback.
Rome wasn’t built in a day… but if your Rome is never built, your company name will never be put on the map of employee satisfaction.