How to Be the Rockstar of Your Employer Branding Strategy

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HR Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for HR pros

Monday, July 27, 2020

A strong employer brand strengthens your proposition to candidates and sets you apart from the competition, so what can you do to take your branding efforts to the next level?

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When you're operating in a tight labor market and facing competition from all sides to secure the top candidates, one of the most effective weapons you can have in your arsenal is a strong employer brand.

Research shows:

  • 75% of job seekers consider an employer's brand before applying
  • 55% of candidates abandon applications after reading negative reviews of a company
  • 86% of employees wouldn't continue to work for an organization that gains a bad reputation with former staff or the general public

Given the undeniable importance of employer branding, most companies will have something to gain from stepping up or regularly reviewing their efforts on this front.

So what can you do to support this and strengthen your employer brand?

Identify what makes you unique

One of the top priorities of your employer branding efforts should be to outline what makes you unique as an organization and how you can offer something truly special and rewarding to current and prospective employees.

This might be your company culture - something that’s highly important to many job candidates and can also boost your appeal to customers and potential partners.

"Company culture is the brand - the personality of your company. It is the sum of many parts, including your mission, values, goals, and work environment. Employees want to work for companies with a great culture that they can be a part of." - Eleanor Estes, chief executive of IT and engineering recruitment firm TPI Inc.

 

It's vital to have a clear idea of what defines your company culture and how it distinguishes you from your competitors. This should be exemplified by leaders and those at the top of the organization, whose influence can spread throughout the whole company.

Other key aspects of your employer value proposition might include a strong emphasis on workforce diversity or a very specific approach to career advancement and skills development.

Know where you currently stand

To take your employer branding to the next level, you must have a clear idea of where it is right now and a strong and accurate understanding of how you're perceived as an employer.

This can be based on the views of people outside the business as well as internal stakeholders. You can collect feedback and insights through processes like:

  • Candidate journey audits
  • Internal and external focus groups
  • Employee surveys
  • Workshops with senior management

Your findings will provide a crucial benchmark for how you want your employer brand to change and improve.

Tell a story

Humans are hardwired to respond to a compelling story - a fact that's just as relevant for HR managers as it is for those working in more obviously creative fields like marketing.

There are many examples of large corporations that have successfully incorporated storytelling in their employer branding strategies. For instance, Microsoft gives potential candidates a look inside its unique workspaces through the Microsoft Life blog and Instagram account, which is largely curated by employees, giving it a sense of authenticity.

Showcasing its culture in this way has helped the firm stay relevant and keep up with its rivals in the fast-moving and highly demanding tech sector.

Mediums like video, blogs and slideshows can all help you tell your story and strengthen your employer brand.

Leverage internal resources

With any company venture or investment, it makes sense to take full advantage of the internal resources at your disposal to maximize the likelihood of success.

Where employer branding is concerned, one step that can optimize your efforts to relaunch or update your brand is getting internal feedback first. Stakeholders within the business could be the source of valuable views and opinions that help you improve your strategy prior to a full launch.

You should also be sure to leverage arguably the most valuable asset of all when it comes to communicating your brand: existing employees. Sharing staff interviews and testimonials on your website and social media channels can provide candidates with a relatable, engaging account of what it's like to work for you.

Get onboarding right

If the appeal of your employer brand has successfully attracted new hires, it's vital to ensure the methods and messages that drove your recruitment efforts are reflected in your onboarding.

During their first days and weeks after joining, new hires will form early impressions that could dictate their entire experience of working with you. Negative perceptions and bad reviews could do harm to your employer brand and make it more difficult to find high-quality recruits in the future.

Research shows that people who have a bad onboarding experience are twice as likely to seek a new opportunity in the immediate future. If you want to improve retention and build a strong employer brand with the help of a happy workforce, it's vital to get this right.

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