Employer branding. What is it, exactly? Here’s a basic description pulled from the web:
An employer brand is the term commonly used to describe an organization’s reputation as an employer, and its value proposition to its employees, as opposed to its more general corporate brand reputation and value proposition to customers.
At a base level, most of us understand the purpose of an employer brand, but we may not be convinced as to why we, as HR executives and managers, should have a stake in this for our own companies.
According to an article from the Harvard Business Review: “Surveys show that in 2014, 36% of global employers reported talent shortages, the highest percentage since 2007, and in a more recent 2015 survey, 73% of CEOs reported being concerned about the availability of key skills. So how can companies compete effectively in this new war for talent? First and foremost, it’s time for leaders to focus on strengthening their organizations’ employer brands.”
In a nutshell, this means that more time, resources, attention and, most importantly, strategy, needs to be applied to establishing and communicating a company’s employer brand to the general public and potential employees. More than ever, quality employees are looking for more than the size of the paycheck or benefits packages when it comes to joining a company.
While these areas are, of course, important, they don’t paint the entire picture of what matters to candidates when it comes to choosing a place they’ll spend the majority of their waking hours. People care about company culture, paid family and maternity leave, time off, flexible schedules, corporate responsibility and interdepartmental dynamics. They care about leadership and want to be motivated and supported from executive staff. They want to know if creativity and out-of-the-box thinking is encouraged, or if it’s typical for staff to work overtime on a project until the job is done.
Some of these elements are easier to communicate outward than others. More times than not, the public is forming opinions about your company and all of these issues with or without your input. This makes it even more essential to ensure you are regularly, and effectively, communicating how you want potential employees to perceive you.
Convinced you need to start focusing on employer branding? Great! But where to do you begin? Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Define who you are and what you want to say
This may seem like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people have a hard time articulating exactly what their company does and why it matters. Take a quick survey of employees from different departments – if they all aren’t saying the same thing, your brand needs to be more clearly defined. It’s essential to know who you are as a brand and be able to communicate that and your stance in the world to your customers.
- Make social media a priority
Social media is here to stay, and it should be an integrated, valuable element of your marketing and recruitment strategy. Social media remains an often-untapped resource for HR managers and executives. Not only is it a prime avenue to authentically show off your brand culture, it’s also a great place to post job openings and opportunities.
Since social media is primarily visual, make sure your job posting fits with the nature of each platform. A visual job posting software like ViziRecruiter is an easily integrated asset for your social media communication efforts.
- Get your leadership on board
This one may be easier said than done, but getting your leadership or executive team on board with making branding a priority will help it trickle down faster. Being able to demonstrate the value in employer branding will be essential for them to justify an investment in time, money and staff resources.
Showing them blogs like this one or other relevant content is a good place to start. Consider putting together a case study about companies who exceed at employer branding and clearly demonstrate how it has helped their bottom line, recruit top talent or solidify brand loyalists.
- Create relevant content
Once you’ve defined who you are, the next step is figuring out what you want to contribute as a brand to your customers, or the world at large. Does your product or service cater to women? If so, think about other things they care about that are still relevant to your brand. Provide them with tips on saving time or making their lives easier.
Post regular blogs to your website, tidbits on social media or in a monthly e-newsletter. The real success will come naturally when you’re authentic and genuine to who you are and the people you serve.