Branding is the combination of the image you put out to the world, along with your values and beliefs, your product or service, and the way you interact with people. These things all combine to create a feeling in people that gives them an impression of your business.
But when it comes to employer branding, you may be a little less sure. Many businesses don’t give their employer branding enough thought, but actually it’s really important, especially in today’s job market. Thanks to social media and job sites, as well as the rise in remote working, it’s easier than ever for candidates to find their ideal job role. And thanks to technology, it isn’t just a local pool of candidates that your business can attract, it can be, or even is global.
However… It’s a candidate-driven market. In consequence of this, many businesses are seeing a mass exodus of employees, which has been dubbed ‘The Great Resignation’. There is far less risk to employees who are dissatisfied in their current roles right now. They can hand in their notice and feel secure that their next job is just around the corner, making it a harder time for employers. Candidates can afford to be choosier about the roles that they take on, so employers need to demonstrate just how great they are to work for.
Developing and maintaining an excellent employer brand gives your business a competitive edge over its rivals. That’s because, today, candidates are looking for more than a decent salary (although that’s still very important).
People want to work for a business that does something meaningful and that really makes a difference. It’s for this reason that you need an effective employer branding strategy. This should encompass everything, from recruitment, to your company culture, and your values and beliefs. If done correctly, it will help you to attract the best people for your business. Ultimately, the people in your business are your key to success.
Here’s our simple 4-step guide to getting your employer brand right.
- Your current employer brand
What does your current employer brand look like? In order to shape it into what you’d like it to be, you need a clear idea of your current standing. Your employer brand will be reflected in the way your employees feel about your business, and what people outside of the business are saying about you. You could find this out by surveying your employees – to do this you can email surveys to your employees and collate the results very easily, even anonymously.Websites, like Glassdoor, give employees the opportunity to rate their employers too. Combining all of this information should give you a clear indication of how well your employer brand is reflecting what you want it to.
- Consciously creating your brandNow it’s time to decide what you want your employer brand to be. At this stage, you must ensure your employer brand aligns with your core values and brand identity. If it doesn’t, you run the risk of confusing potential employees, customers and even suppliers, as well as your wider audience. This makes it all the more difficult to connect and engage with people, and your credibility could be lost too.You should decide, do you want to be seen as fun? Approachable? Ethical? Inclusive? Secure? Flexible? There are so many things to cover so it’s important you begin this process with a very clear picture of what you want to become.
Remember, your employer brand will work to differentiate your business from your competitors, just as your overall brand will. Therefore, it is important to take the time to make it personal and mould it to exactly what you’d like it to become. Look at the research you’ve carried out, your feedback for areas to improve, areas you are keen to strengthen, areas that are already strong and how can you continue to support your strengths. Your employer brand may naturally evolve over time.
As your business grows you may develop new values or even support causes that you weren’t able to before. Make sure you revisit your employer brand strategy often, making updates where necessary.
When your plan is finished, share it with your directors and employees and listen to their feedback. It’s important to get a buy-in across the board for your branding plan to be successful.
- People are keyPeople buy people. When it comes to recruiting in today’s job market, you’ll need to be prepared to sell your business to your candidates just as much as your candidate needs to sell themselves to you.Your brand is no longer limited to the office and its customers. Your online presence opens you up to customers, potential customers, employees, potential employees, suppliers and potential suppliers, as well as the rest of the general public. If people leave reviews, take the time to reply to them – good or bad. Thank people for their feedback; address issues that are raised. If people start a conversation on your social media platforms, don’t be afraid to join in.
The more involved you are, the more likely it is that your audience feels like they know you. This is a really good way to build successful relationships with not only your potential customers, but your potential employees too.
Get HR working with your marketing team to create content that also supports your employer brand. Make sure your website and social media accounts tell your story. Explain your beliefs and how they came about, demonstrate what you can offer, as both a business and an employer. Really highlight why your business is unique. The more you can communicate about your business and its core values and beliefs, the more likely it is that the people who share them will actively seek you out, rather than you chasing after them. And these are the people that you want working with you. The better your hires, the stronger your business and its employer brand becomes.
When people are happier and more engaged, not only does productivity increase (and your turnover, with it), but the more committed your team is, and the longer they’re likely to stay with you.
- Measure your plan’s successCreate a set of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to measure how successful your new plan is. Look at things like employee retention rates, the number of applicants you’re attracting per position, how long it takes to fill a position, the diversity within the business, absence, and productivity.These indicators will work together to show you whether there’s still room for improvement, and which areas are going really well. Make sure you are always nurturing and developing your employer brand to ensure things don’t go south. Next, you can look to see if your employer brand directly improves your EVP (that’s your Employee Value Proposition). This is the value your employees get from working for you. It’s no good developing a smashing employer brand if it’s all for show. You need to really stand behind the values and beliefs that you’re putting out to the world and create a workplace that lives up to its reputation.
Your employees are drawn to a role by more than just money, but they also want to great benefits, perks and an excellent culture. When you get it right, you should get a great return on investment. Recruitment will be made easier, your employee retention should be high, your engagement should be excellent, with higher productivity and increased turnover, absenteeism should be down, and you should also gain more referrals (interestingly, 82% of employers rate employee referrals above other sources for generating the best return on investment).
The potential of your company lies in the hands of your people. Attract and retain the right people, and your potential is limitless. But if you get your employer branding wrong, not only will you struggle to attract people to the available roles, but you risk making bad hires and your retention rate will be shocking as well.
Right now, it’s tricky to find and attract the right candidates for your business. But if you create and maintain the right employer brand, you’ll make your business stand out from your competitors by making it far more attractive to the right people. If this is something you need help with, get in touch.