Building and protecting your brand should be a priority for every business, and this extends far beyond the advertising, logo design, and social media that most businesses immediately think of when brand is mentioned. These represent what is called corporate brand. But all too often companies forget the other half of branding—employer branding, which is the way employees and jobseekers feel about working at your organization.
Only 27 percent of companies have an employer branding strategy in place, according to a survey conducted by BLR. And only one-fifth of companies have a branding strategy that combines both corporate and employer branding.
So, why is employer brand important?
A study by Glassdoor shows that nearly 70 percent of workers will not take a job with a company that has a bad reputation, even if they are unemployed. Retaining employees is just as difficult when other companies with better employer brands come courting: 84 percent of workers would consider leaving their current jobs for as little as a 1 percent salary increase.
Not to mention, protecting your employer brand becomes critically important in a jobseeker market at a time when your ability to attract high-quality talent has a direct impact on your bottom line.
Strategies to Future-Proof Your Employer Brand
Employer brand consists of inward- and outward-facing strategies, and a good employer branding framework touches every point of your organization. Extending the responsibility for building and maintaining employer brand beyond the HR team to all managers and individual contributors amplifies your brand message and reputation. The following are some of the key things organizations need to consider regarding their employer brand strategy:
- Aligning with the Corporate Brand
Beyond defining your employer brand as “a great place to work where employees are empowered,” organizations must align their employer brand strategy with corporate brand values. A foundational starting point here is that organizations must practice what they preach. For instance, if a company is creating products or services supporting a more diverse, inclusive world, the office environment and company initiatives should first and foremost reflect this commitment. Employees can quickly see through a smoke screen and know when this isn’t the case. Performance suffers and retention rates decline while it becomes increasingly difficult to recruit high-quality candidates due to brand degradation in the job market.
- Knowing How to Measure Employer Brand
A great employer brand contributes to organizations in myriad ways. Success is often linked to recruiting metrics such as more career website traffic, more applications per job posting, better reviews on employer ratings sites, and increased quality of candidates and hires. It also can be defined in terms of employee metrics like improved engagement and performance and better retention rates. Of course, these are just some of the metric categories that can be tied back to employer brand. Knowing what matters to your organization is pivotal in helping you determine what to measure, track, and report. And then implementing regular reporting techniques to consistently evaluate the health of your brand is a great way to keep it moving in the right direction.
- Engage and Empower Employees
According to a recent study conducted by Gallup, less than one-third of U.S. workers are engaged. This translates into important performance outcomes—or the lack thereof. Employees will engage your brand only when they understand and believe it and moreover feel the company embodies it in action.
What are some of the ways in which this can be accomplished? First, employee recognition and benefits programs must align with your brand vision and message. Second, gamification can make things like employee referrals fun. Third, employees need to understand performance goals and be involved in establishing them. Empowered employees produce much better results than those who are directed. Finally, get your employees involved in advocacy by creating a formalized program that makes it easy for them to share company content, news, and events on their social networks and other communications channels.
- Provide Great Candidate Experiences
Although over 80 percent of employers believe there is little or no negative impact on their companies when a candidate has a less-than-stellar experience during the hiring progress, candidates disagree. Nearly three-quarters of candidates go as far to say they are less likely to buy from companies that provide a negative candidate experience. Nine percent even tell family and friends not to buy from those companies.
Candidates have high expectations. The majority expects communications from the prospective employer—and not simply an initial thank you for receipt of their application. They want online application processes to be simple and straightforward, and they want to be consistently and timeously kept informed. Yet, only 26 percent of employers proactively communicate with candidates. Almost three-quarters of candidate are left in the dark—from whether their application was received to why they didn’t get the job. It’s no wonder candidates are frustrated with the hiring process (Read this article to learn more about providing a great candidate experience).
- Leverage Recruitment Marketing
Organizations are starting to awaken to the fact that marketing is something the HR organization should use for recruiting. Recruitment marketing isn’t simply one activity, such as creating a career site or sending emails to passive candidates, but rather it is a set of tactical activities that leverage multiple channels. Recruiters need to craft comprehensive campaigns in terms of demand-gen programs to generate a high quantity of qualified applicants. They also use recruitment marketing to build engagement and communications with jobseekers and to construct private talent pools that can be tapped as a valuable resource whenever an organization seeks to fill an opening.
Future-Proofing Your Employer Brand
Laying a solid foundation and crafting a strategy consistent with your corporate brand are critical activities for a successful employer brand. Organizations that fail to develop and sustain a compelling employer brand suffer, finding it more difficult to recruit, hire, and retain workers. Their employees frequently underperform and deliver subpar results due to poor engagement rates. They can even become detractors of employer brand, posting negative reviews and ratings on websites such as Glassdoor and Indeed and becoming a brand detractor to family and friends.
And it simply isn’t employees that you need to worry about; candidates who have bad experiences will do the same—or worse. Why wait to future-proof your employer brand? Get started today by going through the checklist above.