Cultivating an irresistible employer brand is essential for attracting and retaining quality talent. With the right employer brand strategy in place, your ability to attract workers that are both technically skilled but also – crucially – are a good fit for your organisational culture, will give you a competitive edge.
The importance of employer branding has grown exponentially in recent years. In countless markets and industries across the globe, workforce compositions continue to change as workers opt for more flexible and less traditional working styles. In some markets, skills shortages and open roles remain at record levels. And only the savviest organisations with a healthy culture and a talent-first mindset are landing the best workers.
There is no silver bullet when it comes to employer branding. Rather, employer branding requires a consistent management approach, factoring in both market influences and your internal cultural and business nuances.
Today, we’ve created the essential, must-follow steps to an irresistible employer brand. Use this as the foundation of your talent attraction strategy, so you can appeal to the best fit talent for your business.
STEP 1: Define your Employee Value Proposition (EVP)
Your Employee Value Proposition or your EVP is the essence of what your company stands for, as an employer. It’s your core values, your mission, vision, goals, culture, your operational standards and your beliefs as a business.
It’s your talent differentiator. Your competitive advantage.
CRUCIALLY… your EVP can’t just be a documented statement about ‘what you say you are’. Why? Because employees see through inauthenticity. The minute a new worker suspects they were attracted to a new employer by an EVP that doesn’t stack up, they will be disheartened and discouraged. They’ll be onto you.
So, you MUST walk the talk. It’s that simple.
Actually, it’s not all that simple, because if your EVP isn’t positive or even isn’t crafted and cultivated, cultural change will take time. And it will require subtle as well as radical shifts to how you operate as an employer.
So, when you’re developing your EVP, it’s critical to be authentic. Don’t tout value propositions to existing and prospective workers that aren’t real. A mismatch between your stated EVP and your real EVP will result in high attrition, poor reputation and low tenure.
If you want to hire the best talent – be they permanent or contingent – you need to become a place people want to work. A prerequisite for hiring the best talent, is by being a great employer, both reputationally and in reality.
From a recent study out of the US, we uncovered these very telling statistics:
- Only 61% of organisations have well-developed EVPs.
- 44% of all CEOs don’t even realise that their company uses EVPs.
- 55% of job applicants will abandon a job application if they read a negative review of the company, online.
- 76.5% of men and women (in the US) wouldn’t apply to work for a company with a bad reputation.
- Social media plays a significant role in EVP messaging. 68% of millennials will use a company’s social media channels, to determine if they’ll apply for a job.
STEP 2: Define your Employer Branding Goals and Objectives
You want your employer branding strategy to be a success, so it’s important to firstly carve out what success looks like.
There are no universal employer brand metrics, suitable for all companies. The metrics you track, will depend on the outcomes you aim for, in building an employer brand but must always match your hiring goals and talent strategy.
Here are the top four tangible employer branding metrics that may be valuable measures for your business:
|Employer Brand Success Metric||What it Means|
|Decrease cost-per-hire||The cost-per-hire includes several costly factors such as: AdvertisingPre-employment assessment screeningRecruitment agenciesInternal resources for interviews and shortlistingThe investment of time for hiring When talent from the market comes directly to the organisation organically – that is, they’re not responding to an ad or a recruiting campaign – this is the sign of a quality employer with a great reputation. People want to work for them. And the employer brand is pivotal in creating and propagating that reputation. In this way, the employer brand can help the organisation to reduce its cost-per-hire – in some cases, by up to 50%.|
|Offer acceptance rate||Offer acceptance rate helps the business track the success (or not) of its hiring efforts. By tracking a rise or fall in offer acceptance rates, including the reasons candidates make either decision, the business accesses data that can directly enhance the employer brand message: as long as the business has acted on the learnings acquired.|
|Employee referral rate||Employee referrals help organisations to reduce their cost-per-hire and typically increase retention rates. Talent coming into a business from a trusted source, can rely on the reputation, experience and offering of the organisation to its workers. The very nature of a high employee referral rate is evidence of a sound employer brand: your current workforce is endorsing you as an employer. So, as your employer brand campaign activity kicks in, a good measure of its success, is the level of employee referrals received.|
|Candidate quality||The goal with your employer branding efforts is to attract great candidates, and therefore great employees. So, it’s important to track quality of candidates attracted to the business, due to employer branding activity. The easiest way to collect data on the quality of candidates to your business, is via your recruitment software. The best functions to utilise for this purpose are: Source of candidateRate of interviews confirmed, from source (drop off rates by source)Time-to-hire In addition, engaging your line managers and tracking their feedback to candidate quality is also crucial.|
STEP 3: Define your Candidate Personas
Just like brand persona, a candidate persona is the conceptualisation and documentation of your company’s ideal candidate.
To define your candidate persona, the best place to start is with your current workforce. Looking at your workforce, or segments where your workforce plan indicates an imminent or future hiring need, consider the following:
- Their generation
- Their background and any demographic and psychographic data
- Their core values and how they need these to align to those of their employer (or not)
- What’s important to them and their careers
- Non monetary benefits
- Learning and development
- Flexible work arrangements
- CultureWork environment
- The opportunity to do interesting work
- Where they would search for job openings
- The content and intel they would find useful when exploring a new employer
- Whether they spend time on social media, looking at other employers
Upon gathering this data, it will be much easier to define your EVP and the type, frequency and distribution channels of employer brand content suited to your business and workforce objectives.|
STEP 4: Build Your Communications Strategy
Getting your EVP and employer brand to market is the final step to building a successful employer brand.
The channels will depend on your talent goals and workforce plan. But what’s common to all successful employer brand communications plans, is the following:
Consistent Visual Branding:
- Maintain a consistent visual identity, including logos, colours, and design elements, across all materials and platforms.
Optimise Your Careers Website:
- Make sure your careers page is user-friendly and informative.
- Highlight employee testimonials, success stories, and benefits.
- Showcase your company culture through photos and videos.
Leverage Social Media:
- Use social media platforms to share your company’s culture, values, and achievements.
- Engage with your audience by responding to comments and messages promptly.
Employee Advocacy Programs:
- Encourage employees to become brand ambassadors by sharing their positive experiences on social media.
- Provide training and resources to help employees represent the company effectively.
- Create valuable content that showcases your company’s expertise and culture.
- Share blog posts, whitepapers, videos, and webinars to attract potential candidates and build your reputation.
- Keep current employees informed about company updates, achievements, and opportunities for career development.
As employer branding becomes a strategic imperative for organisations across the white-collar global employment market, consideration of how to build credibility with prospective hires, is paramount. This includes:
- Making data-driven talent management decisions to better understand workforce needs, trends, gaps and future requirements. All these factors will contribute depth and relevancy to the employer brand.
- Rethink the ‘purpose’ of your business and engage workers in doing so through interviews and surveys. An agreed, refreshed purpose is the perfect foundation for building a successful employer brand.
- Consider your employment promise in the context of today’s talent market. Factors -such as flexibility, hybrid working, real work/life balance, on-the-job learning, prioritising worker wellbeing, mental health support, and the ability to move laterally in a business are important to workers in 2023.
- Providing intel and insight to the candidate marketplace about the experience of working for your organisation. The #1 obstacle candidates experience when searching for a job is not knowing what it’s like to work in a business.