According to a survey from Glassdoor, just under half (49%) of American employees would recommend their company to a friend. If this makes you nervous, it may be time to consider the importance of your employer brand.
Your brand is your identity and is key to managing your public reputation, in addition to playing a vital role in your employee value proposition (EVP). Together, your employer brand and EVP will empower you to attract and retain top talent.
This guide will introduce you to several strategies designed to help you cultivate your employer brand and create a thriving workplace culture.
What Is Employer Branding and Why Does It Matter?
At its simplest, your employer brand is your public reputation. Your brand represents the things that you say about yourself as well as what others say about you. This includes what your current employees say and what former employees think of your company.
Employer branding refers to the process of managing that reputation and goes deeper than a marketing campaign. Instead, it’s about creating a culture where both your company and its workforce thrive and maintain healthy relationships.
Your brand matters because your company culture matters. The following includes three specific ways in which a strong employer brand can benefit your workplace:
1. Engage and Retain Employees
For many employees, finding a strong sense of purpose is just as important as a regular paycheck. This is especially true of younger generations. In a recent survey, Gen Z was labeled as the first generation to prioritize purpose over salary.
Your employer brand can help instill a broader purpose into your workforce and help employees see themselves as contributing to something bigger. This can go a long way towards retaining top talent.
Data from LinkedIn reveals that young adults would even be willing to take a pay cut to work for a company with a strong employer brand.
2. Attract New Talent
Your workplace culture can likewise help you attract new talent. Roughly two-thirds (66%) of American job-seekers want to know something about your workplace culture and values before accepting a position.
This means that if you want to grow your workforce, your branding strategy matters just as much as your recruitment mechanisms. Having a strong reputation can make it easier to locate new talent and retain them for the future.
It’s important to note that you shouldn’t just highlight the awards and accolades that your organization has earned. Be honest and present a realistic and holistic picture of what it means to work there and give candidates the opportunity to evaluate and self-select if it’s the right fit for them.
3. Develop a Reputation Among Your Customers
In a data-driven culture, your customers have unprecedented access to the way your company treats its staff. Your employer brand matters to U.S. consumers, and those who grew up in the midst of early 2000s scandals are especially sensitive to companies with biased or inequitable business practices.
How to Convince Senior Leadership of the Importance of Employer Branding
Senior leadership tends to be results-oriented. If you wish to convince your management team of the importance of branding, you may have to articulate it in terms of the bottom line. You may need to show that having a strong company brand can save you money while having a negative reputation can actually cost you money.
For instance, it costs an average of $4,000 to hire a new employee than to retain an existing employee. Refining your company culture to retain employees can save you money in the long run.
Additionally, companies that lack a strong brand will have to pay 10% more (on average) to attract top talent.
Employer Brand vs. EVP: What’s the Difference?
Your employer brand and employee value proposition (EVP) work together and serve to reinforce one another, though they are technically quite different.
While your brand is what your company is known for, your EVP relates more directly to the specific benefits that you offer your employees. This encompasses the entire employee experience (e.g. work-life balance, company culture, compensation package, professional development, etc.).
A truthful, well articulated EVP that matches the reality of work is a critical recruitment tool. A good employment marketer will activate an EVP with campaigns, weave it through the recruitment process and ensure the business includes elements of your EVP at each touchpoint with employees from hire to exit. When captured, disseminated, and marketed well, your employer brand echos your EVP.
Together, your employer brand and EVP will improve employee engagement and streamline your recruitment process. Offering the right benefits package can attract new employees to your company as well as give them compelling reasons to stay long-term.
How to Cultivate Your EVP
Even before The Great Resignation of 2021, employees had been leaving their positions at increasing rates. Harvard Business Review has noted that the average monthly quit rate has been rising steadily since 2009.
In an effort to combat this, many companies have redesigned their entire employee experience and benefits packages in order to keep employees engaged. For instance, with burnout being such an issue, some employers are adding mental health benefits and programs to help their employees cope with stress.
But, what if your company doesn’t have the funds to offer an increase in paid vacation time or generous retirement options? Actually, not all employees are looking for monetary benefits. Here are six ways you can evolve your EVP without breaking the bank.
Flexible Work Hours
During the 2020 pandemic, the American workforce got a taste for telecommuting, and there’s no going back. You can improve employee morale by giving your workers the option of working from home for at least a portion of the week. This may be especially helpful when hiring busy parents who might have to juggle their day job and childcare.
In addition to your usual health insurance options, you can introduce various wellness programs at little to no cost. For example, you might sponsor a fitness challenge for your team or a “bike-to-work” initiative during the warmer seasons.
Again, this doesn’t have to be an official, paid program, but it can simply be a means of promoting health and wellness among your team members.
It’s almost becoming cliché to say that younger workers want mentors and not just managers. This isn’t just about creating programs for career advancement; it’s about creating meaningful professional relationships.
Be intentional. Start a mentorship program by pairing your senior staff members with one or two new hires. They can be free to answer questions and share advice with a new group of rising stars.
Allow your employees to volunteer in the community on company time. For instance, if there’s a Habitat for Humanity project in your area, don’t require your employees to use vacation time to volunteer. As a side benefit, this can also help you solidify your brand in the broader community.
Sometimes, employees simply want to feel appreciated. Publicly acknowledging the contributions of your team members can help them feel valued and know they’re truly part of a team.
For instance, you might mention them on your social media pages and highlight their recent contributions that have enhanced your company’s performance.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
According to a recent report, 89% of the survey participants stated that DE&I in the workplace is important to them, and 56% shared that they would be more likely to work for a company that makes DE&I a priority.
If you’re thinking about establishing a DE&I program at your workplace, here are a few strategies that you can use to get started.
Know Your Audience
Different audiences will respond to your brand and EVP in different ways. This is especially true if your company operates in various geographic regions or in the international market.
If you want to communicate to prospective employees, you should learn more about their unique culture before you can show how your company’s values align with theirs.
This can also apply to individuals who already occupy multiple vocations. Parents, for example, might find a flexible workplace culture desirable, while single adults might appreciate a company that emphasizes community involvement or sound social policy.
The goal remains the same in every instance: to show how your company’s values align with those of your customers and workforce, as well as to illustrate how your company culture is organized around those values. Master this goal and you’ll streamline everything about your recruitment process.
Recruiting in the Twenty-First Century
Today, your company’s brand is a vital part of your recruitment strategy. Creating a solid workplace culture ensures that you’re attracting the right talent and helps you retain star employees for years to come.