Why your company’s image is important
The War For Talent might seem like a rather dramatic metaphor, but the talent pool is getting smaller and competition between employers is increasing. The solution? Employer branding. In an HR & Recruiting survey conducted by the job placement and review portal Glassdoor, HR professionals confirmed their biggest challenge is recruiting top talent. But what if positions remain unfilled, despite best efforts?
84%*¹ of employees surveyed said a company’s reputation as an employer is crucial when choosing where to work and is a key factor in job selection for candidates.
Working on your employer branding is the key to successful recruiting. If you’re wondering where to start, this version of Employer Branding 101 will provide you with useful information, tips, and strategies to get you on the right track.
What does employer branding mean?
One employer branding definition is marketing for HR managers that creates an attractive employer brand for candidates and employees.
When potential candidates consider applying for a job at your company, they’ll start with research. They’ll visit networks like LinkedIn and Xing, or review websites like Kununu and Glassdoor to read about the experiences of current and former employees.
Your employer brand is your reputation and it can be preserved and strengthened with employer branding. Create your own brand story; if not, your brand will be determined by reviews alone.
Often employer branding and HR marketing are used synonymously, but they do differ in one respect. Employer branding is a strategy, while HR marketing is the implementation. Employer branding deals with target group analysis and the definition of the employer value proposition. This is the cornerstone of HR marketing, i.e. the measures used to implement the employer brand strategy.
Employer branding is a proactive step that defines what you stand for and what values you ascribe to when providing for your employees beyond salaries. Most importantly, you need to deliver on your brand promise by implementing actions that strengthen your brand.
Your company already achieves this with its customer-facing brand, but great product or service branding doesn’t automatically lead to positive employer branding. This is a stand-alone measure that needs to be thoroughly planned and implemented.
Why you need employer branding
Skills shortages, changing demographics, globalization, increased competition – all these factors make it difficult for HR departments to find suitable talent. Employers’ demands are rising, as well as those of the candidates. Strengthening your employer brand through employer branding can help with external recruiting and internal employee retention. A successful employer brand will be unique, will increase the quantity and quality of candidates, and lead to more referrals. It also improves company-employee relationships. This means fewer new hires, greater engagement and low staff turnover. Do you want to learn more about how employer branding can benefit your company? Click here.
Employer Branding Tasks and Goals
Basically, employer branding has two core tasks: to positively impact the company, both externally and internally. Externally, strong employer branding will increase the company’s reach and awareness. Internally, it’ll improve employee loyalty, as well as increase well-being and motivation. It’s important you consider both equally when implementing your employer brand process and measures. Don’t focus on just one side, and instead ensure they’re balanced to boost the success of your company. Learn more about it here: title.
Employer branding measures
There are many employer branding measures:
- To define and communicate values
- To increase activity on social networks and recruiting portals
- To involve employees and turn them into brand ambassadors
- Greater focus on trade fairs, public relations and employee benefits
But how do you choose the right mix of these measures and implement them successfully? Click here for more information on this topic.
5 steps to employer branding
Your employees already have expectations of benefits from your company. Similarly, company’s have set values that help them envision what kind of employer they want to be. Your employer brand is a combination of these two points.
These 5 steps will help you build a strong employer brand through employer branding.
Step 1: Define the values that make you unique
Just as consumer branding stands out from the competition, employer branding should highlight what makes your company unique and how this benefits your employees.
Your EVP (Employee Value Proposition) will help you do this. Your EVP is a statement of what you believe in as an employer and what value propositions your employees can expect.
To ensure authenticity, survey your entire workforce to get a better sense of their reality. Then bring in a small group of employees to help you define the EVP.
When you write your EVP, make it inspiring and unique. Your employees will feel valued because they were involved in the process, and make sure to keep it up-to-date with your employee’s wants and needs. Describe the employee experience to show how your company values are reflected in what you do.
These EVP examples show it’s all about putting your employees in focus and showing them exactly what they can expect. Be specific and dare to stand out. Ultimately, employer branding is about creating a brand that appeals to both your candidates and your current employees.
Step 2: Implement employee programs that support your promise
Once you’ve defined your employer brand and crafted a message that explains your value proposition, you should focus on implementing employer branding efforts that reinforce the promise to prospective and current employees.
Align the actual employee experience with your promises and implement employee programs that fit your brand for a successful employer branding process.
For example, if your employer brand is focused on the well-being of your employees, you should look into fitness or relaxation offerings that promote health. If your employer brand is about creativity, then opt for art classes or museum memberships.
Whatever your value proposition, make sure you offer the same to your existing teams as well as to new employees. Remember that your current employees are the ones writing the reviews and posting comments on social media that shape and impact your brand.
Offering something unique and promoting your brand internally builds a strong foundation for your employer brand. It also helps initiate positive word of mouth sentiment amongst your employees.
Step 3: Create content and use social media to tell your story
Employer branding is how you tell the story of what it’s like to work at your company. Make sure the story is consistent across the web. This starts with your website and continues through LinkedIn and any other social media platforms you use.
A common approach to strengthening your brand is to ask for the opinions and experiences of your employees. Create videos, post photos and write articles that focus on your employees and their experiences. Just make sure they’re truly authentic to ensure the desired impact.
Use channels like Instagram and Facebook to post examples of your internal work culture, employee highlights and events. Photos and videos have a big impact on potential prospects and their first impression of your company culture.
Many job seekers use social media as a tool for job hunting and research, so take the time to share your story there as well.
In addition to sharing content and telling your employer brand story, be prepared to participate in discussions on these sites. When responding on behalf of your company, make sure you use your employer brand’s voice and personality.
Another approach is to have an employee, such as a community manager, respond to inquiries as a private individual. This helps your employer brand appear more human, as comments and questions are answered in a thoughtful and personalized way. In this case, train your employees to ensure numbers, data and confidential information aren’t leaked by accident.
Further information can be found here.
Step 4: Get insight from conversations with employees
Of course, you can define your employer brand and create content to get your message out – but word of mouth from your current and former employees will always carry more weight and credibility.
Job boards that allow reviews have become the most important platform for candidates to learn more about your company. Everything from salaries and benefits to culture and management are discussed on these sites.
There are two ways you can proactively use reviews to improve your employer branding.
Instead of reacting angrily or defensively to negative reviews, see them as a form of feedback to improve your company. Look for common themes or trends that give you insights into problems or shortcomings that you can actively address.
1. Respond to any negative reviews. Like it or not, the negative commenter had a bad experience and it’s best to accept their opinion and understand the root of the problem. Responding to criticism and showing initiative makes you look like an emotionally savvy company.
2. If you see a negative review, don’t be afraid to respond with your value proposition and supporting evidence. Glassdoor offers helpful tips*⁵ on how to respond to reviews and opinions that don’t align with your employer brand.
Step 5: Continually evolve to meet employee needs
The way people work is constantly changing. Companies need to adapt to keep up with the trends that employees value and make sure they’re employer brand is flexible enough to meet these constantly evolving needs.
Whether it’s new company benefits, remote work options or organizational changes, it’s important to know what your employees want.
You can stay ahead of your employees’ needs by asking them either in person or with a survey!
Employee satisfaction*⁶ surveys can give you insight on how to improve your work environment and employer branding. Let your employees know the survey is anonymous and that the feedback will truly lead to change.
Be sure to share your findings with your employees so everyone understands how the company wants to evolve.
Showcase your employer brand
Of course, there’s much more to building an employer brand than can fit in one article, but using this as a foundation will get you on the right track. For a comprehensive overview of key factors in employer branding, check out our FAQs.
Your employer brand shouldn’t be developed behind closed doors. Assemble a team of employees from different departments to lead the initiative.
Getting your team involved will make it much easier to implement the changes you need to ensure your employer brand is a success.