Companies spend thousands of dollars - if not more - on building their brand, from splashy advertising campaigns to in-depth reports and content. And there’s a good reason for that; a strong, reputable brand is a brand that sells. Employer branding is much the same, except you’re not trying to attract customers; you’re aiming to attract (and retain) top talent instead.
Building a strong employer brand takes time, but it’s well worth the effort. In the battle for talent, having a great reputation gives you a competitive advantage, helps you entice the very best people to join your team, and can even help save your business money.
Below, we outline five simple steps you can take to improve your employer brand and become a company that world-class talent wants to join.
1. Decide What Your Company Stands For
The first step to creating a great employer brand is to go back to basics and determine what your company stands for. This will help you define your messaging, so you can clearly articulate it on relevant channels, such as your careers page and external job boards.
So, what are your company values, mission, and vision?
Next, outline your current Employer Value Proposition (EVP). This is what you offer your team, from benefits to culture to compensation. Remember, there are lots of reasons people join (and leave) companies, so don’t just focus on one aspect. Instead, communicate a holistic EVP that will attract and retain a broader talent pool.
In doing this exercise, you may also find some gaps in your EVP that you can work to improve, which will only strengthen your brand further.
2. Tell a Positive Brand Story, But Be Honest
Employer branding is about storytelling; it’s how you position your company to the outside world. Your “talent brand,” on the other hand, is how your employees perceive what it’s like to work for your organization. The two don’t always align.
For example, have you ever seen a company rave about how flexible they are or how much they value work-life balance on LinkedIn, but its employees tell a completely different story on Glassdoor? That’s what happens when your employer brand and talent brand don’t line up. This dissonance can cause big problems for your business, including:
- A bad reputation
- Depleted candidate pool
- Higher salary cost to combat lack of interest in talent
- Higher turnover and cost per hire
- Lower employee engagement
So when it comes to employer branding, it’s important to shout about all the great things you’re doing for employees while staying truthful. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not.
3. Create a Great Employee Experience
The good news is that you can improve your talent brand in order to boost your employer brand. This starts with creating a great experience for current employees. If your team is genuinely happy, productive, and engaged, you’ll find it much easier to build a great employer brand and attract the best talent.
Here are some tips to improve employee experience:
- Use your values and mission to shape company culture. For example, one of our values is “curious,” so we offer our team a learning and development budget to explore their professional curiosities.
- Prioritize employee health and well-being by providing ample paid time off, encouraging regular breaks, and offering comprehensive benefits.
- Provide a safe, comfortable environment that’s conducive to productivity. If your employees work remotely, this may involve paying for their home office setup, for example.
- Train managers to become great leaders. Here are some of our top tips.
- Supply the right tools to improve communication and help your employees do their job effectively and efficiently.
- Carry out regular engagement surveys to gauge how your employees are feeling and identify areas for improvement.
- Ensure the offboarding process is as smooth as possible, so employees leave with a positive impression.
4. Enhance Your Candidate Experience
It’s not just the people who work for your company that impact your employer brand; you must also consider the candidates who apply for your roles and go through your recruitment process.
While some candidates might not be right for the job now, they could be in the future, or they might know someone who is. So it’s important to turn them into advocates for your company, not brand-damaging critics.
Here are some ways you can improve candidate experience:
- Train your hiring managers to recruit effectively. Unconscious bias training and mock interviews can go a long way to improve candidate experience.
- Simplify the application process, making it as quick and easy as possible for candidates to apply for roles while still getting all the information you need.
- Create a fair, streamlined interview process, prioritizing clear communication throughout.
- Provide constructive feedback to unsuccessful candidates who’ve made it to the interview stage.
- Request feedback from all candidates on their experiences and ideas for improvement.
If you’d like to take a deeper look into improving candidate experience, check out our article here.
5. Get Your Brand Out There - and Protect It
Once you’ve started building a strong employer brand, it’s time to get your name and EVP out there. This is called recruitment marketing; it’s how you get candidates to find you and apply for your roles.
While your careers page is a great place to start, it’s certainly not the only employer brand platform you can leverage. You also have:
- Job boards
- Press and media
- Any other social media platforms or communities that are appropriate for your company and target candidates
Using these platforms, share employee stories, company milestones, and key updates to showcase your brand and attract talent. If you’re looking to hire the best talent from around the world, be sure to tailor your recruitment marketing to local markets by translating job ads and posting on local boards.
It can also be highly effective to turn your employees and alumni into advocates too. Provide training, offer referral bonuses, and encourage them to submit reviews on platforms like Glassdoor. And remember, the more genuine their advocacy, the better - so that’s where a great employee experience comes in useful.
Finally, we live in a world where information is readily available. News travels fast - and it’s not always good. So you have to protect your brand. That doesn’t mean being defensive, but if you receive a negative review or comment on social media, respond to it appropriately and professionally. If there’s merit in the person’s complaint, be sensitive and explain the measures you’re taking to improve. As the saying goes, honesty is the best policy.