In today’s modern economy, competition for excellent talent is more fierce than ever before, and companies now have to offer an engaging work environment to keep employees around. Workplaces that get a reputation for overworking or abusing their employees can face serious challenges with finding, attracting, and retaining desirable talent.
The internet has also transformed the modern hiring process. Before accepting a job, most prospective employees will start by researching your company. If they find bad reviews from former employees or negative information in the media, they will usually decline jobs that you offer. Your reputation can also help your company to attract talent since 75 percent of people looking for a job say that they would consider applying for a job with an employer that has a good reputation.
Businesses seeking to keep and retain talent rely on employer branding campaigns that are designed to improve the brand that their employees see at every touchpoint. These strategies involve making substantial changes to your hiring process, the online image of your business, and the day-to-day environment of your workplace. Building the right brand in the eyes of your employees will make your business more competitive, increase your brand equity, and create significant growth opportunities for the future.
Why Employer Branding Is Important
Employer branding matters because it can deliver a significant return on investment. For instance, one study found that an exceptional employer brand can cut back on employee turnover by 28 percent.
When employees quit, your company can lose a significant amount of money. Finding a new employee costs $6,000 to $20,000, but these recruitment costs are usually insignificant relative to the costs associated with interrupting your operations. Major business functions can take months to resume after a key employee quits, and training a new hire is often a long-term process. By reducing turnover, businesses can sustainably rely on talented individuals who will help them to expand.
Additionally, every employer cannot avoid building a brand among employees over time. If you do nothing to improve your brand, it is unlikely that your brand is going to be favorable to your interests. Therefore, it makes sense to follow employer branding strategy best practices to make the quality of your brand a reason for talented individuals to stick around.
Goals of Employer Branding
When building a brand, businesses need to keep their goals in perspective. Some employer branding initiatives can go too far in a way that comes off as ingenuine. Other mistakes can be made when campaigns are implemented that fail to match what employees really need.
Your employer branding should seek to make your business more attractive to new hires who are looking into working at your company. If your brand is excellent, the most talented workers will come to you on their own.
Another important goal is to improve your online image. You may already have a great reputation among your customers, but the results that appear in online searches for keywords relevant to new hires may be very different.
Finally, your employer brand needs to penetrate throughout your organization. Since employer brands are ultimately driven by the actual quality of your workplace, making your business a great place to work is crucial. Therefore, you should seek to identify and eliminate major points of dissatisfaction in your workplace.
Employer Branding Strategy Best Practices
Your branding strategy should always be tailored to factors that are unique to your business. However, there are a few best practices that all businesses should follow.
1. Define Your Brand Clearly
Your brand should aim to present a specific image that is differentiated from your competitors and consistent across all media. For example, you could emphasize that your company aims to help people grow in the workplace. You could then list out how your company achieves this growth. This list can then be used at every touchpoint to explain why your business is exceptional.
2. Focus on Digital
Digital channels present opportunities to interact directly with employees and job candidates in an effective way. Messaging employees directly at the right time can keep them engaged and remind them about the positive aspects of their jobs. For instance, many businesses have a digital employee referral program that automatically sends employees information about new open jobs so that they can spread them on their social networks.
3. Onboard Employees Effectively
Employees often become dissatisfied when they do not have a complete understanding of the benefits that you offer and why your business is different in certain ways. An effective onboarding process should get new hires fully informed about your company’s culture in a consistent way. For instance, some HR departments are starting to create training modules that all new hires have to complete. When everyone learns the same information, they can internalize your company’s culture from the start.
4. Build a Community
When people talk about why they like a workplace, they rarely discuss the actual work that is done. Instead, the community is usually the main factor that drives employee perceptions of your workplace. Initiatives designed to build a sense of community can significantly increase retention and satisfaction by enabling everyone to feel as though they belong in your company. For instance, you could consider hosting fun gatherings for employees on a weekly basis. Encouraging employees to eat together and include everyone can also help to foster a sense of community.
5. Excel in Social Media
Social media is a powerful way of reaching new hires and your own employees. When people are dissatisfied with their experience in your workplace, they will often turn to social media to express their feelings. By engaging directly on social media, you can help to show dissatisfied employees that you care. On the other hand, when you have a great workplace culture and very satisfied employees, social media can be a great channel for reaching passive candidates.
How to Develop an Employer Branding Strategy
Building a great employer brand requires using the right strategy from the start. Thankfully, developing a strategy is achievable as long as you invest enough time and effort into developing a strategy that matches the needs of your business.
1. Understand Your Objectives
Assessing the current needs of your business should be your first priority. Branding strategies usually only fail when they are not aligned with factors that make your business unique. With an understanding of the current gaps that your business faces, you can develop actionable objectives that are designed to resolve current problems with your brand.
For example, you should assess the happiness of your employees. From there, you can develop a strategy to improve their happiness in a way that matches your organizational objectives.
2. Create Ideal Employee Personas
Effective brands can only be developed when you know your target market. You should create personas for the candidates who your business is seeking to attract. These personas can then help your business to understand the positioning that is right for your brand.
3. Change How You Find Talent
The strategy that you use to find talent should be aligned with your employee personas. For instance, if most of your new hires are young people, you could consider getting the word out through influencers who many of them follow.
4. Utilize an Employee-First Approach to Hiring
The way that you hire employees has a strong impact on the type of employees that you attract. If your mix of employees matches your brand, workplace satisfaction will usually be higher. When contemplating how to improve your hiring process, putting the needs of your employees first will lead to the best results.
For example, you could give a survey to employees who turn down a job offer from your company. This survey can then inform your company about what potential employees dislike about your hiring process, and their feedback can become the focus of future improvement.
5. Clearly Articulate the Value of Your Company
People only respect what they value. New hires are far more likely to be open to considering your company when your business clearly explains why your company offers an exceptional workplace.
For example, some businesses optimize the “Careers” page on their website as a landing page that conveys the five main factors that make their workplace exceptional.
6. Measure and Optimize Performance
You should always measure everything that you do so that opportunities for improvement can be discovered. The data that you gather can then be used to optimize how effectively your business conveys value to your employees.
For example, many HRMS systems provide analytics tools that can help your business to understand where improvements can be made in your hiring process.
7. Follow Through by Building an Excellent Work Environment
Organizations of all sizes should understand that the success of any employer branding strategy ultimately hinges on the quality of the work environment that employees experience on a daily basis. If you make promises to new hires about what their experience will be like in your workplace, you have to actually deliver on that promise. Otherwise, your employer branding efforts could actually backfire when employees feel as though they have been deceived.
To make your employer branding strategy work, you need to implement tangible changes in your work environment that improve employee experiences at every touchpoint. Obviously, there are limits to what you can do immediately, but empowering employees, reforming management practices, and ensuring that employees have a good experience with HR can go a long way toward making employees satisfied with your brand.
In one of many employer branding examples, a company provided all of its employees with a budget of $500 and six hours for making improvements to their office. Internal surveys showed that satisfaction skyrocketed after this initiative went into effect.
Building an Exceptional Employer Brand
Building an employer brand is not something that your company can expect to finish overnight. Instead, you should focus on developing an excellent strategy that can be used throughout your organization. Then, your business can continue to apply this strategy over time.
Research indicates that consistency is the key to getting employees to perceive that an employer’s brand is excellent. If your employees see that your workplace is exceptional on a daily basis, they will spread the word in a way that will help your business to expand. Therefore, take your time and be consistent to get the best results.