It’s all in the numbers. Consider the following:
72 percent of candidates indicate employer brand—the way candidates and workers think, feel, and share about your company—has a significant impact on their decision to apply for and accept a position.
What’s more, companies with a strong employer brand reduce cost-per-hire by up to 50 percent and turnover by as much as 28 percent.
These are astonishing figures, and they add up to one clear reality: brand is important when it comes to finding and attracting great talent. If you ignore this fact, you may be losing applicants before they even become applicants. Not to mention, you’ll put yourself at a pointed competitive disadvantage.
Luckily, companies are coming around to the realization that brand matters, with 59 percent planning to invest more in their brands this year.
Here’s how to get the word out about your company without spending a dime.
8 To Dos to Promote Your Employer Brand
1. Job Descriptions That Tell a Story. In many cases, promoting your employer brand to someone who’s never heard of your company starts with the job description. As you have less than 60 seconds to get the attention of the candidate, the job description needs to not only describe the job, but also what it will be like to work at your organization. A bulleted list of required qualifications and responsibilities doesn’t suffice. Rather, tell your company story and use rich media like photos, images, and other visually appealing content to encourage candidates to imagine a day in the life on the job.
2. Career Page. Career pages on your website hold much greater importance than you may credit them for. A few years ago, the career page served as the entry point for job board postings. Today, it is the hub for incoming candidates from job boards, social networks, online searches, recruitment emails sent via your marketing automation systems, blog posts, job ads, and more. A whopping 85 percent of all jobseekers report visiting a company’s career page when applying for a position. To ensure your career page is prepped to promote not just your job openings but your employer brand, too, put together a checklist of employer brand “must haves” and get them implemented.
3. Social Media. Ignore social media at your own peril. Seventy-three percent of business owners and recruiters report they’ve made successful hires using social media, and 59 percent of them believe those candidates are the highest quality of any sourcing strategy. While candidate sourcing opportunities exist beyond Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, these “big three’’ remain the predominant channels. The design and content of each must reflect your employer brand. Publish and promote content on them that highlights employee and customer advocates, reflects your brand culture and identity, and showcases company successes and awards.
4. Mobile. Now that nearly three-quarters of Americans own smartphones and 86 percent of jobseekers report they will search for job listings on these devices this year, you’d think companies would make their sourcing efforts mobile friendly. Sadly, this isn’t the case. Less than 50 percent of companies offer mobile-friendly career sites and even fewer offer mobile-friendly applicant tracking systems. Beyond 40 percent of applicants bailing, this kind of oversight can negatively affect the way possible hires interact with and perceive your employer brand.
5. Employee Advocates and Referrals. When I led the content marketing and customer marketing programs at Symantec, my team designed and built an employee advocacy program focused on the approximately 350 members in product marketing and product management. Just this small subset of employees made a huge difference. For example, 15 to 20 percent of new marketing leads began coming from employee social channels. The takeaway is that employees like sharing—pro and con—information on their employers: 33 percent post messages, pictures, and videos on their companies without any encouragement. Mobilizing your employees as brand advocates goes a long way in helping you to build an employer brand. And when it comes time for hires that were the result of an employee referral, they have longer tenures and higher job performance than any other channel.
6. Candidate Communications and Experience. Employer brand is so much more than just the messaging and content surrounding a brand; it is the candidate experience. When employers fail to provide applicants with a great candidate journey (e.g., application, screening, interview, and job offer processes), they denigrate their own brand. Specifically, the takeaway of poor candidate journeys is the creation of brand detractors who no longer have any interest in working for your company; they may even share their experiences with friends and family—and perhaps others within their social network. Suddenly, the negative impact to your employer brand is 20, 50, or even 100 fold. On the flip side, a great candidate experience can build your employer brand to the same degree.
7. Post-Candidate Nurturing. Think about all of the candidates who weren’t the right fit for a job. Many of those same candidates might be good fits for openings down the road. But with the vast majority of companies “cutting and running” once they find the right worker, the opportunity to build a talent pool, nurture it, and even foster brand engagement and advocacy is lost. Though still a small percentage, organizations that employ marketing techniques to build and sustain private talent pools of former job candidates create greater brand awareness and engagement and even brand advocacy with those individuals.
8. Onboarding. Not only do companies with great onboarding processes retain new hires 50 percent better than their peers, but they also create new employee brand advocates. Here, the processes and content used for onboarding new hires must be consistent with the branding on your career page and the experience candidates had through the job offer. It goes without saying that when it comes to onboarding new employees, there is much room for improvement, with 4 percent of new hires leaving a job after a bad first day and most deciding if your company is a place where they want to work.
Business Outcomes of a Great Employer Brand
The importance of employer brand will only grow with the changing demographics of the workforce and technological evolution. Building an employer brand that attracts great candidates is a requisite for any organization that wishes to survive today. Doing so requires leadership, a strategic plan that includes quantifiable measurements, and a concerted, sustained program involving various organizational functions. A great employer brand produces broader results than faster talent acquisition cycles and better candidate quality; it also helps propel a company to new heights through tangible business outcomes.