The lines between marketing and recruiting can sometimes be blurry. It is not uncommon for a business to rely on their corporate brand to attract talent. However, in today’s competitive hiring market, it is becoming increasingly important to accurately represent who you are as an employer. When your potential hires are searching for a job, they want to know not only what your company will do for its customers but also for its employees.
Before you can initiate a marketing strategy to attract job candidates, you first need to nail down your employer brand. This article will help you understand what an employer brand is, and how to create it, improve it, and use it.
What is an employer brand?
You may be wondering what the differences are between a corporate brand and an employer brand. Both are both important for businesses, but they serve different purposes.
Corporate or company branding refers to the overall image and reputation of a business. It includes elements such as the mission, values, products, and services. It is the way a company presents itself to the world and how it wants to be perceived by its target audience. The main goal of company branding is to establish a positive image and reputation that will attract customers and business partners.
The size of your business and your hiring volume will determine how important it is that you build a strong employer brand. The more you recruit due to business size, company growth, or employee turnover rates, the closer you should pay attention to how you represent your company as an employer in your community. With a strong employer brand, you will stand out and differentiate yourself from your hiring competitors.
In summary, corporate branding is about how a company presents itself to the world at large, including customers, partners, and the public. Employer branding is about how a company presents itself as an employer to potential and current employees. Both are important for a business, but they are different and should be approached with different strategies.
Employer branding, however, is the way a company presents itself as an employer. It includes elements such as the company’s culture, values, benefits, and opportunities for growth. The main goal of this branding is to promote the company as a desirable place to work to then attract and retain top talent.
How to build and improve your employer brand
Employer branding is an important aspect of any business, but especially vital for larger corporations that have a greater number of employees and are constantly hiring. A strong employer brand can attract top talent, increase employee engagement and retention, and ultimately improve your company’s bottom line. Understanding who you are as an employer allows you to have control over the narrative and communicate it clearly to your employees.
Here are five steps you can take to improve employer branding within your company.
1. Discovery through employee feedback
The first step in improving your employer branding is to understand what it currently is—especially in the eyes of your current employees. This involves understanding what makes your company unique as an employer and what sets you apart from your competitors. You can begin to understand your competitive edge as an employer by conducting employee surveys, focus groups, and 1:1 interviews to gather feedback on what people like and dislike about working for your company.
Ask questions such as:
- Why do you like to work for our company?
- What five words would you use to describe working here?
- What do we offer here that is unique and special?
- How would you rate your direct manager? Why?
- Do you know what our company mission is?
- Do you understand how your job contributes to that mission?
- Why do you stay working here?
- Do you have plans to look for a new job in the next 90 days?
- And more
Make sure you gather both qualitative and quantitative data. Do not assume that you know the answers to these questions. You MUST ask your employees for their input to help you truly understand where your employer branding is currently at. Their responses might surprise you. And that is okay! You need to know the good, the bad, and the ugly to build an accurate and strong employer brand.
2. Hire out that discovery process, if necessary
We recommend hiring an outside agency or consultant to help with the discovery process. These professionals will be able to provide you with valuable insights and can help you create a strategy that will improve employer branding within your company.
Employees will be more honest in a third-party survey than they would be in a survey or interview with management. If responses are anonymously shared with an impartial and unbiased reviewer, people tend to be more comfortable providing honest feedback. They may feel less pressure to give socially acceptable answers and freedom to express their true opinions. Third-party survey providers are not connected to the company and therefore employees can feel more confident that their responses will not be used against them.
Additionally, this research takes time and needs to be done well. You may not know where to start or have the time to dedicate to this task. A third party can alleviate that stress and help collect all the important and valuable data.
3. Identify your employer brand
Now that you have the data, it’s time to take it and create a brand around it. You will have collected both positive and negative feedback from your employees. You might have found that what you thought employees thought about your company was actually not true. All this data is designed to help you.
All businesses must start somewhere. Take any positive feedback, and capitalize on it. That is the feedback that will inform you in what areas you are already doing a great job. Look for these common themes and use them to strategically create an employer brand slogan or tagline and identify the value propositions to use in your recruiting marketing and internal communications. Then reinforce them everywhere (next step)!
Take any negative feedback and use it to improve. Now you know where you can do better to improve the working environment and experience for your employees. Don’t feel bad discovering areas to work on. Trust us. All employers have them.
Take note that while an employer brand is not the same as a corporate brand, they should marry nicely. Align your employer branding with your company’s mission, values, and culture. When both work well together, it’s a sign your company is on to something great!
4. Implement your employer brand accurately and strategically
Once you’ve discovered what your employer brand is, it’s time to implement it into your recruiting marketing and your entire employee life cycle—from the first time they hear about your company to the day they leave your company.
You can’t fake it. You must accurately and honestly communicate who you are as an employer. If you don’t, your new hires will see right through it shortly after being hired. According to Nas Recruitment, 30% of job seekers leave their job within 90 days because of the employer’s false representation of their brand.
For example, if you discover your employees love the pay at your company but don’t feel they received great training, don’t communicate that your training is good. Instead, focus on how well you pay and make that a bigger part of how you represent yourself to potential employees. Then it won’t be a surprise when they start and their training is sub-par.
Here are ideas of places you can start implementing your employer brand that accurately reflect your company’s true culture and values:
- Company website
- Social media profiles
- Job listings and job descriptions
- Employee testimonials
- Job interviews
- Employee onboarding
- Management and team meetings
- Performance evaluations
- Internal communications
- Exit interviews
By carefully crafting a strategy where you can reinforce your positive employer brand in all employee touchpoints, you will strengthen your position as a rock star employer!
This will ensure that current employees speak positively about your company and help increase your retention rate, both of which always improve your bottom line. Even if those employees eventually leave your company, they will have had a positive work experience.
5. Be intentional about your employer brand and constantly evolve it
Finally, it’s important to be intentional about your employer branding. This means actively and deliberately working to create and maintain a positive image of your company as an employer. It involves creating a clear, consistent message about what it’s like to work for your company and then making sure that message is communicated across all channels and touchpoints. It also means being proactive in managing and addressing any negative perceptions or issues that may arise.
You can help boost your employer brand and recruitment marketing by ensuring that everyone in your company is aware of it and understands how to represent it. Additionally, make sure that your employer branding is integrated into your overall business strategy and is not just an afterthought.
By following these five steps, you can build an employer brand to attract and retain top talent to your company and improve your company’s bottom line. When you nail your employer brand, your employees will talk positively about you and become natural word-of-mouth recruiters for your company. Who doesn’t want that?!