Employer branding: the simple guide to improving yours

Employer branding is a key element of employee acquisition and retention. A strong employer brand makes the hiring process easier and more intuitive, improves the employee experience, and elevates a company profile.

Recruiters know this, but sometimes it can be difficult to get companies to focus on their employer brand. Often because they don’t understand the importance of it and haven’t the time to focus on it. Even some staffing and recruitment firms have their struggles with their employer brand.

But when you break it down, it’s a simple and intuitive process to build an amazing employer brand.

There are certain things that are always going to make a difference. These include offering competitive compensation and benefits packages, fostering a positive and inclusive company culture, and encouraging employee engagement and development opportunities.

Beyond that, here are nine strategies for improving a company’s employer brand. Recruiters can share these tips with their clients and improve their chances of hiring the best.

Take an audit of your existing brand

Take an audit of your existing employer brand. This means going through your online reviews, your social media channels, and your company website asking yourself what prospective talent sees when they look at your company. Have you created something that will make people go “OMG! I want to work there!”? Probably not, if we’re being honest. This is difficult to do and few companies really nail it.

Take a pulse

Conduct employee satisfaction surveys and find out how your existing employees are feeling. If there are concerns, address them. Improve the experience of the people already working for you so that they are more likely to stay and become ambassadors. Invest in employee retention.

Track & analyze your key performance indicators KPIs

To know what’s working, you need to measure and analyze your key performance indicators (KPIs). Only from there can you manage and improve them. In recruitment, some KPIs include:

Application rate
Retention rate
Source of hire
Quality of hire
First year attrition
Employee satisfaction

Where do these things stand? When you know, you can start figuring out ways to move the needle.

Look at your competitors

Take a good look at what competitors are doing, particularly those that are attracting the talent you want to attract. Go through their online reviews, their social media channels, and their company website asking yourself what prospective talent sees when they look at that company. How can you do better? Find your key differentiators and highlight them.

Define your employer value proposition (EVP)

An employer value proposition (EVP) is exactly what it sounds like: a promise of the unique value your company offers prospective employees. Figure out what your company offers that makes it attractive. It consists of the company’s core benefits and aligns with the overall company vision, mission, values, and strategy. It should be realistic and genuine. Never overpromise and underdeliver as this leads to disappointment and negative outcomes.

Focus on culture

Employers need to understand the importance of a specific workplace culture. It’s not enough to claim you’re a “fun” company or an “innovative” one. You can’t just toss out a bowl of snacks or a ping pong table and call it a day – and almost nobody wants to play paintball as a “team building” exercise. Don’t say you’re like a “family.” People have complex relationships with their families and this doesn’t have the appeal you think it does. Do you want to work with your parents and siblings? Companies need to find out what actually matters to their target talent – meaningful work, work-life balance, setting their own hours, corporate social responsibility….- and build a brand around that.

Focus on candidate experience

Talking is one thing. Doing is another. If a company is ghosting candidates, dragging out the hiring process, and generally creating a bad hiring experience, candidates are going to tell their friends and those friends are going to stay away. Word of mouth is a powerful thing. Create a great candidate experience so that even those who don’t make the cut have nothing negative to say. How can you improve your candidate experience?

Leverage your online presence

Once you have settled on an employer brand identity that feels authentic and compelling, start putting it out there. Create a career section on your website that showcases what you have to offer and update your social media profiles accordingly. There is a lot of incredible inspiration out there of companies with amazing employer brands. Go find them and use them for inspiration (without copying).

Turn your current employees into ambassadors

Your existing employees are your best ambassadors. If they love working for you they will want to bring their friends. Let people know you want them to do this. Create employee referral programs. Put your team on your social media, get them to share the on-the-job stories and experiences that mean something to them. Celebrate successes so that they know when they have something to talk about. And don’t ignore the impact of employee reviews! Encourage your team to give the company positive reviews online. This makes a big difference.

In order to have an effective employer brand, you have to be a great place to work. Start from the inside and the rest will naturally follow.

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