Employer branding is not a new concept, yet over the last few years the number of companies investing in an employer brand strategy has increased enormously. What IS surprising however is how there is still a lot of confusion over exactly what employer branding is, how you can control it and whose job it is to do so. In this blog we have decided to clear things up with a clear employer branding definition.
Brett Minchington (CEO of Employer Brand International) defines the employer brand as the perception of your organisation as a “great place to work”.
It’s similar to consumer branding and marketing, but instead of selling your products / services to your brand customers, you are “selling” the benefits of working for your organisation.
Every company has one, whether they realise it or not and it is largely made up by the perceptions of your employees (past and present) who have a real authentic view of what it is like to work for your organisation. It’s all about perception, and how are you seen as an employer. A company Director may perceive their organisation to be a great place to work with an open and supportive culture, where as 70%+ of their employees could disagree with this entirely!
If you aren’t actively managing your employer brand, then the first thing you will want to do is try and “discover” what exists already so that you have a solid understanding of what is working, and what you may need to work on improving in the future.
Your current employer brand is influenced by your EVP (employee value proposition) – which is the unique set of benefits that an employee can receive in return for the skills, capabilities and experience they bring to your organisation. For example this may involve compensation, healthcare and other work-based rewards, job security, variety in the job role, challenging projects, your values and beliefs and more. Pull together a list of what you feel you offer across the board to your employees, and once you have this “employer brand essence” on paper you will need to test how well you are delivering on these EVP’s. Learn more about developing your EVP in our eBook here.
You may have carried out employee surveys before, hold data from exit interviews and have a log of internal feedback in your organisation. If you do it’s time to take a look and see if what you perceive to be delivering to your employees is matching up to how they feel about working for you. Exit interviews are invaluable for this, because an employee who is leaving is far more likely to be honest about how they feel about working for you than an employee who doesn’t want to cause upset or be seen to be negative about their employer.
Whether you have existing data or not, one of the best ways to discover your authentic employer brand is through an employer survey that tailors questions around your EVP. The key findings you’ll want to take away are the answers to these questions:
The findings of your employer brand discovery phase will give you an idea of your employer brand strengths and weaknesses, so if there is something you wish you were doing better then now is the time to start making plans to change. For example, if the majority of your employees fail to see your organisation as offering a good work-life balance then you might want to look at introducing some flexible working options into the company to help improve this in the future. The idea here isn’t to bend to every whim and employee demand, but if you can make some small changes to make your company a better place to work for your employees then it is only going to benefit you in the future.
Investing into an employer brand strategy is a proven way to improve your ability to attract and retain the best people. According to Glassdoor 69% of active job seekers are likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand, and what is even more surprising is that 84% of candidates would consider leaving their current company if another company with an excellent reputation offered them a job. There is so much transparency today, with review sites like Glassdoor and a culture of advocacy on social media, that there is literally nowhere to hide your flaws as an employer. The good thing is it is encouraging more companies to actively manage and promote their unique employer brand, however the companies that fail to realise this are likely to find it even tougher to hire and keep hold of their best people.
This is another thing a lot of people are confused about. In some organisations it falls on the shoulders of HR, others Recruitment, sometimes it's the marketing department… you catch the drift! No two companies are the same, but the most successful employer brand strategies will be backed up by an employer brand team – with representatives from across the whole organisation (e.g. Directors, Department Managers, Marketing, HR and Recruitment). Using a team approach as opposed to giving all responsibility to one department will give you the added benefits of multiple skill-sets, less bias on key decisions and consistency in your messaging and approach as you roll out any new initiatives to the company. You’ll probably want to appoint a “Team Lead” still to make sure that someone is keeping up the momentum with the employer brand strategy and plans, with the benefit of a team to back them up.
This is the fun part! Once you have a good idea of exactly what your employer brand is, you’ve made internal changes and you’ve got the backing of your employer brand team, you’ll want to promote it to help you attract great candidates. Social media is one of the best locations to showcase your employer brand. You can make tailored pages that are aimed specifically at candidates, sharing content such as "a day in the life of the team" and encouraging your employees to share and engage with that content too. The good thing about social media is that every post doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s not like you are shooting a high budget recruitment video for the website, you have more freedom to show your personality and you can upload content straight from your smart phone. Sometimes your content will capture life at your company as it happens, such as a story on your Instagram page. There is plenty you can do to give an insight into your culture and environment! Make sure you bolster your careers site with plenty of relevant content too, anything visual works really well, as do employee stories and testimonials so this is a really great place to start.
If you want to discover, shape and promote your unique employer brand then check out our eBook here, or get in touch with one of our employer branding experts at firstname.lastname@example.org / 01244 567 968 today.