Having a strong employer brand is an essential part of your organization’s strategy but can often be overlooked. LinkedIn recently published a survey on employer branding for small-to-medium sized businesses (SMBs) which found that only 55 percent of recruiting leaders worldwide have a proactive employer brand strategy.
This is due to the fact that employer branding is often confused with a company’s overall consumer branding. While the two should tell a cohesive story, there should be different messages for each audience.
So, what is employer branding anyway?
According to Universum, employer branding is the process of promoting a company, or an organization, as the employer of choice to a desired target group.A company needs employer branding if it wants to recruit and retain.
Externally, having a strong brand is important in convincing candidates that they should work for you. But, it’s also important for current employees as well. Current employees are some of the best advocates you have when it comes to recruiting new staff.
If you think about brand in marketing terms, a strong consumer brand presence helps sway the opinion of potential customers while also building goodwill with current customers. It’s not a hard sales tactic, but reputation and strong brand messaging influence the decision to buy.
It’s the same idea with your employer brand. It’s used to build goodwill with active candidates, passive and future job seekers and current staff.
Why is employer branding so important?
People are paying attention to brands more than ever. If your job feels more like marketing, you’re not alone. Many HR leaders and recruiters feel that they are spending more and more time on social media activities and content marketing in order to attract the best talent. This is where building a brand’s presence and reputation in order to attract talent comes in.
Having a strong brand presence is not only about bringing in better candidates, it’s also saving companies money in the hiring process and when it comes to retention.
According to Jobvibe, strong employer branding can reduce turnover by 28 percent. With the all of the costs associated with recruitment and hiring, that’s a huge amount to save by bringing in the right candidates from the onset.
Branding’s impact on reputation
As a company, the stories you share with the world can make or break you. In 2016, Harvard Business Review wrote about how much a bad reputation (caused by poor branding) costs a company – about 10 percent more per hire.
To illustrate this, the author, Wade Burgess, used GoDaddy’s advertising campaign from a few years ago. Remember their ads with Danica Patrick and Jillian Michaels? While these racy ads made for good TV, the cost to GoDaddy when it came to female candidates was huge.
Women didn’t want to a join a company that seemed to objectify women--regardless of whether or not this was an actual practice that the internal team subscribed to.
Realizing its problem, GoDaddy pivoted its brand and began to speak at women’s conferences and show that they were more than just their ads.
This is a great example of where consumer and employer brand intersect. When looking at its overall brand strategy, the company realized where consumer messages were competing with the messages they wanted to as an employer of choice.
Company branding speaks volumes to your audience–in what you say, how you say it and where you say it.
Reputation is becoming a huge recruitment differentiator, particularly with millennials. This generation of talent knows more about your company before they even set foot in the door for an interview thanks to sites like Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and more.
When it comes to employer branding, you need to speak directly to candidates and show, not just tell them, why you’re a great company to work for.
Where should you start?
Whether you are evaluating your current strategy or implementing a new one, it’s important to do so in collaboration with others. Sit down with your marketing and communications teams to understand what the consumer brand strategy is and what upcoming campaign plans are.
This will help you craft campaigns that can complement each other to ensure that your employer brand and consumer brand aren’t at odds with each other.
Once you have an idea on campaigns, think about the most appropriate channel and your audience for each message. What sites are you seeing the most referrals from? What other brands does your audience follow? How can you engage current employees?
This will help you develop strong, successful campaigns that can help you build a strong pipeline of candidates while reducing costs, which is a win-win for everyone.