Employer branding is an important part of promoting yourself as an organization, but what is it and how do you achieve an effective strategy?
Employer branding is becoming a more regularly used term for businesses. But what is it and how can your company execute an effective strategy?
What is employer branding?
Employer branding refers to the way in which organizations attempt to stand out in a crowded market to attract, engage and retain the right talent. It should be closely tied into the values and overall strategy of people management. According to the CIPD, a strong employer brand helps:
businesses compete for the best talent and establish credibility.
For it to be effective, organizations must ensure that their employer branding and employee value proposition are authentic, relevant and distinctive. It should address the key concerns and motivations of employees but also of the top talent you're looking to bring on board. However, it isn't just a marketing exercise, an employer brand needs to be something that is lived and breathed throughout the business every day.
Social media has made it much easier for brands to communicate their message to their target audience and key influencers, but it has also made it easier for businesses to slip up and be exposed.
Is employer branding important?
Employer branding can be an effective way of helping companies achieve certain goals when it comes to recruitment, retention and marketing. However, it needs to be supported by other elements to ensure that the target audience is getting an authentic message instead of fancy PR. For example, employer branding focusing on how you value employees will be virtually useless if you don't back it up with people management, progression and analytics to measure morale and help professionals succeed.
When done right, and as part of a wider business strategy, employer branding can be a valuable tool for HR. With its focus generally being on employees, it can help HR professionals better understand their workforce, including their motivations and pain points. This information should help the company as a whole improve its people management and the way it engages with employees.
For many teams, it will involve working closely with marketing and PR specialists and applying relevant elements of their strategies to HR, which will then be communicated and shared with employees.
An important part of this is transparency. With the rise of social media, employees can quickly and easily share their displeasure or annoyance with their employer - whether current or not - and this can have massive consequences for companies. Communicating about small or big changes happening to the business will limit this risk by giving professionals the opportunity to discuss their feelings or concerns in the workplace rather than on a public forum.
This will also help to get genuine insight into how your workforce are feeling, allowing HR to create an employer brand that reflects the organization and its employee value proposition.
How to improve employer branding
Taking steps to create a long-term positive relationship with every employee is the most important step of any employer branding strategy. This is the best way to gain insight into your workforce, and build genuine rapport with employees so they are proud of where they work and want to share that with others. This can only be effective if you are ensuring employees feel valued by celebrating their achievements and loyalty.
Content marketing can be a great way to ensure people outside the organization see and hear what employees think of their employer. This doesn't just have to mean blog content, which can easily come across as sales collateral, but can include job postings and your website. An About Us or Our Team page is a great way to tell prospective candidates why they should want to work for you, as well as communicating your company culture and benefits.
When recruiting new staff, work closely with your teams to understand what skills and qualities are needed in the team and what they'd celebrate about the company. This will help nurture the ongoing bond between employee and employer by involving them in the process rather than doing it behind closed doors. It also ensures that you get the best candidate possible for the desired role.
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