The job searching process is often like a complex puzzle for candidates. There’s a lot of moving pieces, and all of them fit together to shape an application’s perception of the company.
Before a job seeker even hits the “Apply” button, they’ve already interacted with your company beforehand. They could find your posting on a job board or their LinkedIn feed. They may check out your social media profiles, or visit Glassdoor to read employee reviews. Job seekers might even visit your site to learn more about the culture.
Each touchpoint allows candidates to learn more about the company they’re applying for. It also gives the company a chance to build a more attractive reputation for job seekers. And your company reputation is worth your weight in gold: 69% of candidates would reject a job offer from a company because it had a negative employer brand, even when unemployed.
That’s not all. Employer branding can be a lead-generating talent acquisition strategy when done well. Companies with powerful employer brands save 50% in cost per hire, and also cut time to hire by up to 50%. You’ll work more efficiently, giving your team extra time and resources to focus on other initiatives.
So what exactly does it involve, and what are companies with strong employer brands doing differently?
What is Employer Branding?
Employer branding is how a company presents itself to potential and current employees. It’s not about the company’s overall reputation with its customers or the general public (although that can certainly have an effect on employer branding).
It centers around the company’s reputation as a great place to work, rather than the value of the product or service they offer. Companies curate their employer brand to communicate their values, culture and what it’s like to work there.
Employer branding manifests in various ways, spanning from a company’s career page to job fairs, social media and webinars. It extends across online and in-person interactions, and guides candidates through every step. A well-executed employer brand permeates every aspect of an organization.
3 Essential Characteristics of Employer Branding
Strong Employee Value Proposition (EVP)
An EVP is the unique set of advantages an employee receives when they work at your company. When your EVP is clear and defined, it attracts top talent by setting your organization apart from others. It should easily communicate your key differentiators—maybe your company is remote-first, or you offer benefits that prioritize mental health. Your EVP allows you to demonstrate how you offer value to your employees in return for their expertise.
Factors like competitive pay, insurance benefits and growth opportunities are traditional elements of an EVP. However, companies should also recognize the rising interest in non-traditional perks (like unique benefits and flexible working policies), as integral components of a holistic EVP.
Your EVP plays a crucial role in shaping how the company is perceived by employees: it should act as the foundation of your employer branding.
Great Candidate & Employee Experience
Your employer brand goes beyond keeping current staff happy—you also need to create an exceptional experience for potential candidates. This involves crafting clear job descriptions, streamlining the application process and maintaining transparent communication. Prioritizing a positive candidate experience not only attracts top talent, but also elevates your employer reputation.
Consider this: a well-managed process encourages previous applicants to explore future roles, saving valuable time and resources. Conversely, a poor experience can lead to negative reviews and may even discourage top talent from applying.
Once a candidate accepts an offer, offering a stellar employee experience is critical for showcasing your EVP and employer branding. Make sure that it’s amazing throughout the entire journey—from the very first day right through to the final farewell. A great employee experience makes it easier to retain top performers, build company growth and increase productivity. Engaged organizations see 59% less employee turnover. Plus, companies that invest in employee experiences achieve a 4x higher profit per employee compared to those that don’t.
Companies are always evolving, and chances are your employer branding is too. We recommend meeting with your team once a quarter to review your company’s employer brand. It’s worth subscribing to relevant publications (like our newsletter) to stay up-to-date on the latest talent acquisition trends. Being in the loop ensures your employer brand remains agile, allowing you to move quickly in response to the evolving needs of job seekers.
These traits are just a glimpse into building a strong employer brand, but it’s a solid starting point. If your team needs to refresh its identity or improve its recruitment pipeline, concentrate on these critical areas first.
If you’re not sure where to start in your brand building journey, we’ve got you covered. Explore some of the best global employer branding examples for practical insights and inspiration.
5 Inspiring Employer Branding Examples
1. Cisco (Information Technology)
Cisco is a global technology leader, best known for its enterprise-level computer networking products and telecommunications equipment.
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After suffering from years of low performance with stale content, Cisco flipped the script by taking a human-centric approach to their social channels. Instead of creating boring job opening posts that lacked personality, they started showing what it would be like to work at Cisco from an employee’s point of view.
It began with posts of in-office photos and resharing employee-generated content on their social channels. That approach quickly snowballed into other channels; the tech giant started a “We Are Cisco” blog, featuring self-authored employee stories. Their new strategy was a huge success—in 2019, they generated over 1.2 million combined impressions across all talent brand content. A new series of employer branding videos drove 1,000 visits to the Cisco careers site alone.
Their human-focused employer branding is now an integral part of their talent acquisition strategy. In 2022, Cisco offered talent influencer training to all 84,000 of its employees.
According to Chief People Officer Kelly Jones, “LinkedIn is a great example because it’s the most common place people hire from nowadays. It’s largely become a recruiting tool. What we find is more effective on LinkedIn is when we have our leaders be the voice of the role they’re hiring for.”
Authenticity matters. Instead of relying on a polished corporate image, create a great workplace experience and trust your employees tell your employer branding story. When your colleagues share positive stories with their networks, it could be the nudge that encourages your next hire to submit an application.
2. Zappos (Retail)
Zappos is a shoe and clothing retailer that is best recognized for its exceptional customer service and its innovative approach to online shopping. They’re known for delivering delightful customer experiences, along with a unique employer brand that prioritizes customer and employee satisfaction.
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Zappos is famous for its unconventional hiring process and the company has largely influenced modern recruitment strategy. Why? Because they figured out how to instill company values and hire with culture in mind from the start.
Their hiring approach has changed throughout the years, but previous iterations involve testing candidates through unconventional means. They use a variety of clever techniques to hire kind people in addition to culture fit.
Its most unique test was “The Offer” program. This policy allowed new employees to leave after a 4-week training period. In return, Zappos offered a bonus on top of the time they worked. The company paid up to $2,000 to new hires that took up the offer. The test was intended to weed out employees that weren’t committed to the company. If you want to build a passionate team, consider experimenting with out-of-the-box interviews.
A strong employer branding experience starts with the recruitment journey. Make sure your hiring process demonstrates your values in practice. Also, don’t be scared to take culture seriously from the start.
3. In-N-Out Burger (Restaurants)
In-N-Out is a staple of the West Coast food scene. Renowned for its limited regional presence and nostalgic branding, the fast food restaurant has built a dedicated following with its emphasis on fresh ingredients, secret menu options and an employer brand built on benefits.
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The restaurant industry is known for its grueling work environments, and that’s especially true in the fast food world. But this West Coast burger joint stays ahead of the curve with a benefits package that blows its competitors out the water. In-N-Out was ranked #10 on Glassdoor’s 100 Best Places to Work list for 2023, surpassing companies like HubSpot, Microsoft and Adobe.
The secret recipe lies in their generous pay and benefit packages. In-N-Out managers can earn up to $160,000 per year, a staggering 3-4x the industry average. The company offers dental, vision, life insurance, an associate assistance program, and even retirement options like profit sharing and 401ks for its part-time employees. Full-time employees receive all this and more—they also get flexible spending accounts and business/travel insurance.
Don’t forget the tastiest perk: employees get free food for every day they work.
If you want to attract top talent, you need to show potential candidates that your commitment to excellence extends beyond the industry standard. Set aside some funds in your recruitment budget to curate a healthy benefits package.
4. Google (Technology)
Google is best known for its search engine, which revolutionized online information retrieval. It also has a diverse range of innovative products and services, like Gmail, Google Maps and Android.
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Google is the first result when you search “employer branding examples” for good reason. Its careers page boasts transparency with various articles detailing their hiring process, their commitment to building a diverse workforce and more. As a big tech company, their pay and benefits support employees in every facet of their life. With impressive perks like onsite wellness centers, student loan reimbursement, elder care/support, donation matching, and free in-office meals, it’s no surprise that over 2 million people apply to work for Google every year.
What really sets Google apart is they show job seekers that they’re committed to caring for Googlers with real-life examples. Google’s benefits page doesn’t just detail their extensive benefits packages in writing; it also lets you hear how their employees use these perks with interview videos.
Be transparent about your employer brand and who you are. Use real-life stories and social proof to market your EVP and benefits packages. Showing your benefits in action humanizes your brand and adds credibility.
5. American Express (Finance)
American Express (Amex) is best known for its charge and credit card offerings, which offer prestigious perks and exceptional customer service. Their credit cards hold a reputation as a status symbol for high earners, but it’s also recognized for great employer branding.
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Employer branding isn’t just about building your reputation; it’s also about marketing yourselves to a bigger talent pool. Part of Amex’s global recruiting team is solely dedicated to employer marketing and branding. This team uses data to develop marketing campaigns that keep candidates engaged throughout the entire process.
Amex’s core recruiting team also relies on data to create better experiences. They track candidate sentiment throughout the entire interviewing process and measure applicant Net Promoter Scores (Yep, it’s not just used for customers). The recruiting team uses this data to guide their future strategies, while allowing candidates to have a say in the process.
Use data to guide your employer branding strategy. It saves your team time and resources, allowing your team to focus on its highest-performing efforts.
Refresh Your Employer Branding in 2024
Giving your employer branding a fresh look isn’t just an option, but a smart move. The employer branding examplesexamples we’ve covered from top companies show how a strong employer brand can make a real impact. In a world where talent is key, investing in your organization’s image is an investment in its future. Take inspiration from the creative approaches we’ve shared, and make sure your employer brand truly connects with the talent you want.