An employer brand is the image or perception that a company creates as an employer, based on its reputation, values, culture and practices. It is the way that a company is perceived by its current and potential employees, and how it differentiates itself from other employers.
An employer brand is not just about having a good reputation or a strong company culture. It’s also about how a company communicates that culture and reputation to its target audience, including potential employees. This can include things like job postings, employee testimonials, social media presence and other marketing materials. Employer branding is important because it can impact a company’s ability to attract and retain top talent.
Though, it’s important to note that developing and deploying a comprehensive, compelling and strategic employer brand isn’t an easy process. Typically, it takes several months of planning to craft and deploy a well-defined brand.
If you are starting the journey of developing your employer brand, this article can help you get started. You should also consider reading books and listening to podcasts on this topic for more in-depth information and, if your budget allows, you may want to hire an employer branding consultant or creative agency for additional assistance.
8 Steps to Get Started
Your initial steps in the employer branding process will be broad. You’ll dive deeper into the specifics as you get further along in the process.
1. Define Your Business, Vision, Mission, Values and Culture
To begin the process, start by defining these five elements of your organization. This should take place over a brainstorming session with employees from all areas of the organization including key stakeholders, your marketing and public relations teams and members of the executive team.
The first step involves defining your business, the products or services that your company offers and your target customer base. To take it further, determine the market sector you operate in and who your competitors are. What is your unique value proposition?
The next step is defining your company’s vision. The company vision statement represents your company’s long-term goals. Your goals describe what your employees are working toward as a whole.
A mission defines an organization’s purpose for existing. Typically, a mission statement is just a few sentences long and communicates precisely how the organization aims to serve customers or the general public.
Values define the characteristics or principles that the company most identifies with. Usually, organizations identify values that best resonate with their beliefs. For instance, a hospital might value responsibility, integrity, respect and quality care.
Company culture refers to the shared values and processes that form the character of an organization.
2. Conduct Internal Research
Your next step is undertaking thorough research to learn how your employees genuinely feel about your organization. Ideally, your workers should feel comfortable sharing their thoughts about your company’s positive and negative attributes.
Most organizations find it challenging to obtain unbiased input from their workers. After all, most employees don’t want to share their negative opinions for fear of workplace retaliation. You can improve the process by issuing an anonymous poll, allowing employees to provide their thoughts anonymously.
You should also perform some research on your target candidate group. Assessing your potential candidate group allows you to better understand what employees are seeking from your organization. You’ll discover which attributes motivate them to work for your company.
3. Conduct External Research
Next, you’ll want to perform external research to understand how your customers perceive your company.
You can use social listening tools, which scour all corners of the internet for mentions of your company. These tools allow you to track positive and negative remarks and provide a cohesive understanding of what people like and dislike about your organization.
However, you shouldn’t restrict your external research only to your organization. Pay attention to your competitors. Your competition includes companies that offer similar products and services to yours. It also includes organizations seeking similar talent to yours in your area.
Aside from social listening tools, you can conduct applicant surveys with prior candidates who were part of your talent acquisition process. Applicant surveys can help you understand what individuals liked about the hiring process and what they found less appealing.
If conducting external research is outside your area of expertise, some firms can assist you in the process. Consider reaching out to a digital marketing company that offers social listening services.
4. Define an Employee Value Proposition
An employee value proposition outlines the benefits of working for your company. It includes salary, benefits, career development opportunities and other perks that you offer. Aside from the financial aspects of working for your company, you should also define what sets your workplace apart.
Ideally, you’ll align your employee value proposition with your company’s employer branding.
For instance, if your company values ongoing education, you should provide benefits that focus on an employee’s long-term development, whether reflected in a tuition stipend or upskilling resources.
Similarly, a company that values autonomy and independence will emphasize flexible working arrangements. It may not have a hierarchical management structure, instead opting for a flat organization where everyone plays a role in crucial organizational decisions.
In your recruitment marketing efforts, you’ll want to highlight the top features of your employee value proposition. The benefits that set you apart from other employers are what will attract the talent pool you most desire and improve the candidate experience.
5. Develop an Employer Brand Activation and Marketing Strategy
The best organizations know that finding suitable talent doesn’t involve a simple post on a job board. They undertake full-fledged recruitment marketing efforts to attract well-qualified candidates who align with their objectives, values and vision for the future.
A solid recruitment strategy has two parts.
The first part involves reaching your targeted candidate base. When forming your talent acquisition strategy, you’ll want to look past the traditional job board posts to other platforms where your candidates are likely to congregate.
That may mean posting ads on social media platforms like TikTok or LinkedIn or visiting local job fairs for new college grads.
Again, the goal is to find where qualified employees are most likely to see your ad and convey precisely why they should consider applying to your company.
The second part of your recruitment strategy is retaining your existing employees.
Your existing employees decided to join your organization based on your employee value proposition. Your job as an employer is to remain dedicated to your proposition, ensuring that your company fulfills its promises.
For example, if you promised your workers flexible arrangements, you’ll want to follow through on your offer and make sure that employees have some control over their working environment and hours.
Similarly, if you promised to provide your employees with continuing education opportunities, survey your workers and see if they’re aware of their options and are taking advantage of them.
Remaining engaged with your employees lets them know that you care about their happiness and the candidate experience.
6. Align the Employer Brand with the Overall Company Brand
Your employer branding efforts should be an extension of your company brand. It should convey characteristics similar to your company’s mission, values and vision.
Ideally, your various departments will work in tandem to ensure that all of your company’s communication channels use the same voice to explain the purpose of your organization. It will be a holistic branding approach reflected in your company’s social media accounts, paid advertising, press releases and recruitment marketing efforts.
7. Invest in Internal Communications
Once you’ve fully cultivated your employer brand, it’s time to embed it in the company. All employees and management staff should be able to understand what the organization stands for and reflect the same principles when working together or with individuals on the outside, such as customers and prospective employees.
You can encourage employees and managers to better understand your company’s brand through workplace development initiatives and training. Usually, your HR team will lead the training and prepare workshops for your workforce to attend.
To ensure that company culture remains steady within the organization, best practices show that training initiated when new employees join the company is beneficial. You can offer annual follow-up training to reiterate your company brand’s elements.
8. Develop Metrics To Track The Success of the Employer Brand
Following the development of your employer brand, you’ll want to track how it impacts your recruitment marketing efforts. There are various metrics you can use to analyze your employer branding efforts.
For instance, you might consider tracking the quality of your hires. You can do so by comparing the expertise of your newest candidates with applicants from the past.
Other potential metrics include employee satisfaction and employee referrals. You should regularly survey your workers to determine whether they remain satisfied working for your organization. If you note that engagement is trending downward, take action to determine the source of the decline.
Employer Branding Is an Ongoing Process
Companies often overlook employer branding, but it’s vital if you want to attract qualified applicants who want to work for your company. A lack of employer branding will lead to a decay in your workforce, and you might find that you have a revolving door of employees leaving in search of greener pastures.
You’ll need to evolve your employer brand continually. Remember that the market is constantly changing, and you’ll need to tweak your brand when conditions warrant it.
Developing your employer brand is only the first step in the process. Once you have a brand you agree with, you’ll need to implement it into your company communications, including your career site and recruitment marketing methods. In this manner, you can fully unlock the benefits of your employer brand.