The Essential Guide for Building a Compelling Employer Brand that Attracts Top Talent

Your employer brand is how people perceive you as an employer. It is your reputation to the outside world and it plays a critical role in attracting the right talent to your organization.

High salary and job security are no longer the most sought after attributes of an employer. Today’s talent wants to know who they are working for and why. According to research by Linkedin, 75% of job seekers consider an employer’s brand before even applying for a job. Companies with a poor employer brand not only struggle to attract top talent, they also struggle to engage and retain employees.

One of the biggest challenges in the recruitment process is persuading candidates that your organization is a great place to work. Differentiating your organization is critical. The best talent has plenty of options to choose from in today’s job market. The time to start thinking about positioning your company as a great employer should happen long before you post a job or interview a candidate.

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Employer branding numbers & statistics

78%

Of people would look into a company’s reputation as an employer before applying for a job

82%

Of people would not work at a company with a bad reputation

51%

Of people are more likely to take a lower wage at a company with a strong employer brand

Source: LinkedIn

Three reasons why to invest in your employer brand

Areas to Invest

Recruiting budget usually goes to traditional tactics, but branding is top on the investment list for most talent leaders.

While nearly 70% of recruiting budgets are spent on job boards, recruiting tools and staffing agencies, when questioned where talent leaders would spend their budget if it were unlimited; employer branding was the #1 area where they wish they could invest more.

Source: LinkedIn

Reason #1: lower your cost to attract candidates

Cost savings are derived from a number of different factors when a strong employer brand is in place:

  • Direct sourcing – taking a proactive approach to employer branding helps you to bring your recruitment marketing in-house, and reducing your dependency on search firms significantly reduces your cost per hire
  • Better targeting – employer branding allows you to focus on targeting the right talent with the right messages. This cuts cost by:
    • Focusing your recruitment investment where you know you’ll get the best return
    • Reduces the number of applicants who may not meet your general requirements, saving time and processing costs
    • Ensures you attract and hire the right candidates; less bad hiring
  • Enhances pull power – a clear employer brand helps to attract (pull) a much higher proportion of unsolicited applications from target candidates. This provides access to a much wider pool of potential talent. This also includes encouraging a higher level of advocacy and referral activity. Employee referrals have consistently been known for their low cost and high quality.
  • Hiring good people for less – convincing mid-career candidates to leave one organization and join another typically requires a salary increase or a conversion premium. Research indicates that the average conversion premium required to attract a mid-career candidate to an organization with a strong employer brand reputation was close to half that demanded from an organization  considered to have a weak employer brand reputation.

Reason #2: differentiation from your competition

As the race for talent intensifies, what is it about your company that sets you apart from the rest? What do you offer your talent that no one else does?
  • Personalization – candidates don’t want to know why your company is a great place to work; they want to understand why the company is a great place to work for them
  • Precise positioning & developmental opportunities – use your employer brand to precisely show candidates who you are, and how compared to others, you are the right choice for them. Be deliberate and focused with your brand. Emphasize growth and opportunity.
  • Be authentic & unique – let candidates feel something different when they interact with your company. Show through branding that not only are your customers important, but you are all in for one another …. and you want individuals that want the same.

Reason #3: if you don't manage your brand, others will define it for you

The extensive reach of social media and growth of review sites such as Glassdoor and Vault means it’s never been easier for prospective talent to find out what it’s like to work at your company.

83% of employees/job seekers are likely to research company reviews and ratings when deciding on where to apply for a job. By defining and managing your employer brand, you are setting the tone for what your organization communicates as its identity to both current and potential employees.

Why good culture is critical

Culture is king

Having a strong culture shouldn’t be confused with a company that has an abundance of employee perks. Good culture means:

  • People know exactly what to do and how to do it in order to deliver on a company’s mission & vision
  • Culture determines behavior in an organization, even when management may not be present – everyone is in tune and marching towards a common
    goal
  • A cohesive culture means clarity of mission, and ultimately a more proactive team

Company culture attracts candidates

Both Candidates and Recruiters agree – company culture is crucial when it comes to standing out from other employers.

Company Culture Attracts Candidates

How do you establish & communicate good culture?

Culture is a critical pillar of the foundation of a company. To have a strong culture, a company must have an established set of values and a mission statement that serves as a roadmap. By having both, employees can:

  • Align their purpose and what they need to do within the context of these values
  •  Operate with freedom and still deliver what is expected of them
Current employees lead the communication charge of what a company’s culture is. The prospective candidate experience and new employee experience are also lead indicators of the culture a company has built.

How to build your employer brand?

Who are you

The first step in building your Employer Brand is to define what elements make you who you are. Invest time and effort into researching what makes your organization a good place to work for. Key questions to ask when determining your Employer Brand:

  • What is our culture?
  • What are our values?
  • How are we different than our competitors?
  • What makes people want to stay at our company?

Conduct a brand audit to identify the strengths of your current messaging, as well as weaknesses and opportunities for improvement. Review the following:

  • Your website, careers page and “about us” page
  • Glassdoor reviews – what are others saying about your company?
  • Social media presence
  • Feedback from both current as well as exited employees

Use this information to build your brand. The biggest challenge is not establishing your vision or your brand, but communicating it!

Get Input

To develop a credible employer brand, a company must be aware of its reputation as an employer. To do so, a company must look at both internal and external feedback.

INTERNAL:

  • Employee opinion surveys
  • New hire surveys
  • Informal employee meetings
  • Exit interviews

EXTERNAL:

  • Glassdoor, Vault reviews given by employees both current and former
  • CEO rating
  • Company rating

Shape your feedback & define your brand

A company’s employer brand communicates why someone would want to work for you. By soliciting feedback from both internal & external resources, organizations can create a brand that is authentic to both candidates and employees. Start by developing your employer value proposition:

  • Get buy in from your senior leadership team
  • Gather feedback from employees
  • Define “why work for us”
  • List the 5 main “ingredients” that make you who you are and this ultimately serves as your employer brand
  • Connect your employer value proposition with your company goals and use that to attract the right audience

Expand your reach

Social and mobile recruiting are a must for a company’s employer brand and strategy. Over 90% of companies are using social media for recruiting.

Do your recruits even know you exist?

81% of US consumers find blogs to be a trustworthy sense of information. This is no different for recruiting new hires. Potential candidates want to work for a company that is trustworthy.

Using a company blog not only expands your company’s reach, but also helps to build a employer brand that candidates can relate to

Build engagement

We have become more sophisticated in how we consume content, using multiple screens, devices and platforms and experiencing a highly personalized experience. A company wouldn’t limit it’s product advertising to one medium. Your employer branding promotion should be no different. 

Companies should utilize their these assets to communicate their brand:

Boost job interest

Having a visible careers page and informative job descriptions are two simple ways to communicate your Employer Brand and boost job interest. 

Your careers site should be responsive, mobile optimized and easy to navigate. It should offer a wealth of knowledge about life in your company and be in line with your tone and personality as a brand. 

Job descriptions are often overlooked and are a valuable tool that can be used to communicate your brand. Ensure that your job descriptions are inclusive and informative. 

Candidates want to know why your company is the right fit for them – so tell them! Describe growth opportunity and don’t be afraid to be creative. It’s important to give job seekers the full picture of the role. Include how the job functions with the organization, who the job reports to, while also including an overview of the benefits and any other perks.

Optimize the candidate experience

Once you have established the elements that make up your employer brand, you can define the channels in which you communicate that brand. One channel is through the candidate experience. There are many stages of the candidate experience.

  • Applications: Ensure on-line applications are simple and straightforward. Not responding to candidate applications is a sure fire way to damage your employer brand. Implement a process so that all applications are responded to, even when candidates may not be the right fit.
  • Interview Process: Interviews should be an exchange of information, not an interrogation. Structure a well thought out panel of interviewers that can be candid about the role and the company, and also ask the right questions to ensure a good hire. Candidate’s with a positive interview experience may turn in to excellent brand ambassadors.
  • On-Boarding: The candidate journey doesn’t end once the contracts are signed. A positive on-boarding process is a crucial part of the candidate experience. It allows new hires to become invested in the company as soon as possible. Being transparent and having good channels of communication are essential for a strong employer brand. Happy new hires become happy employees and can continue to drive the employer brand out to the market.
  • Off-Boarding: Exit interviews are a must for employees leaving your company. Although often hard to hear potential negative feedback, it’s a good way to learn about your company’s strengths and weaknesses. This insight will also allow you to avoid losing top talent in the future. A mishandled off-boarding can outweigh any positive experience an employee may have had at your organization.

Empower your employees

Your employees are your best advocates for your company. They are the most qualified to speak about your company culture, values and work environment. The #1 obstacle candidates experience when searching for a job is not knowing what it’s like to work at an organization.

Candidates trust the company’s employees 3x more than the company to provide credible information on what it’s like to work there. 75% of job seekers consider an employers brand before even applying for a job. 52% of candidates first seek out 1) the company website 2) social media to learn more about the employer.

Both social media and employee referral programs are excellent ways to get your team involved.

  • Social Media: Get your employees to engage with your company profile and share your posts with both their personal and professional networks. Create a sense of social advocacy by allowing your employees to take over your social feeds for a day (Instagram, Snapchat) and share their “day in the life” stories. Not only does this get the whole team involved in the hiring process, it is good for team morale and cohesion.
  • Employee Referral Programs: Continue to be an important and valuable component of a company’s recruiting strategy and also serve to reinforce the employer brand.

Proven benefits of a strong Employee Referral Program:

  • Higher quality of hire: Employees know that when they refer someone for a position, the quality of that candidate will reflect on them as well.
  • Reach passive candidates: The ability to reach passive job seekers is much higher through an employee referral program. Getting a passive job seekers attention can be difficult, but when the suggestion is coming from a past colleague, friend or family member, it’s much easier.
  • Improved company culture: Employees who refer friends and family to open positions at their company are more than likely pretty happy with the company culture – and they’re likely to reach out to people with similar values to their own when making referrals. When an employee makes a referral, they aren’t just endorsing the candidate’s skills and experience – they’re also saying this is someone they wouldn’t mind seeing and working with on a daily basis.
  • Better employee engagement: Employees like being involved in making decisions that will have an impact on themselves and the company. The very opportunity to influence the makeup and direction of a team by referring candidates can often increase workers’ happiness and level of engagement.

Conclusion

When it comes to the term “branding”, we probably all think more about the marketing side. Things like company logo, brand messaging, and how a company might be perceived by consumers. While this tends to be the main focus of branding, we often neglect or do not discuss the value of employer branding.

Positive employer branding helps to attract and retain quality employees, who are crucial to the success and growth of your business.

The way companies recruit candidates for jobs and retain employees has changed. In a large part due to technology advancement, social media, and career review sites that make it easier for job applicants to find information. Yet, without a strong employer brand, your company is missing out on top candidates, potentially losing money, and affecting other areas of the business.

Bottom line impact – employer branding leads to a 28% reduction in organization turnover, 50% cost-per-hire reduction, 50% more qualified applicants, 1 – 2x faster time to hire.

Bonus: Examples of Awesome Career Pages

A careers page is the place to not only list your open positions, but to also convince prospective candidates that your company is a desirable place to work.

What makes a great company careers page:

  • Uses high quality, original photos or videos – Post high quality and original photos or videos to showcase employees doing their works, engaging in volunteer/social activities, and having a great time at team outing events. Be sure to also show a bit of your office space
  • Highlights all the great benefits and perks that you offer. Mention it if you have free food, ping pong tables, casual dress, flexible work hours, remote work option, etc.
  • Tells your company story and highlights your vision, mission, values
  • Describes the hiring process and what candidates can expect after submitting an application
  • Features employee testimonials
  • Features awards and press mentions
  • Is optimized for mobile users

Learn more about how to create an awesome company careers site for your business.

Check out these awesome Career Pages for inspiration

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