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Employer Branding Guide: What HR Teams can do to Build a Robust Company Image

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In today’s highly competitive job market, a solid employer branding strategy isn’t just a good idea – it’s literally a necessity. After all, a robust employer brand has a myriad of benefits that not only help organizations attract the right talent, but can also reduce recruitment costs, boost employee engagement, and ultimately – drive bottom-line growth.

However, building a strong employer brand is not an easy task, and requires careful planning, execution, and measurement. To do it successfully, HR teams need to have a clear understanding of what employer branding is, why it’s important, and a roadmap to building it effectively. But before we talk about what that roadmap looks like, let’s gain a better understanding of what company branding is, and how it fits into the recruiting and talent acquisition ecosphere.

What is a company brand?

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos once said – “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” That’s not a bad way to look at it if you’re trying to get at the heart of what employer branding is. Because good or bad, an employer brand is all about how people (employees, potential employees, customers, competitors, the world!!) perceive your company. But it’s even more complex than that. A company brand is built around a variety of elements that make up who you are as an organization.

Elements of a company brand

Another way to iterate what a company brand is the sum of all the perceptions, experiences, and associations that people have with a company. It is the emotional connection that people have that goes beyond marketing and advertising. The essential elements of a company brand include:

Mission

A company’s mission is the reason for its existence. It outlines the company’s purpose, values, and goals. A well-defined mission can help attract employees who share the same values and beliefs and create a sense of purpose in the workplace.

Culture

Company culture refers to the values, beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes within a company and its employees. In other words, what does it really feel like working somewhere on a daily basis? Is it a relaxed workplace? Do employees feel valued, engaged, heard? If you didn’t think company culture was an important part of the equation, consider that 94% of entrepreneurs and 88% of job seekers[1] say that healthy work culture is vital for success. Let’s face it – if you had a choice, would you prefer to work somewhere that the perceived company culture is positive or negative?

Reputation

People aren’t the only ones with reputations. A company’s reputation is the perception that people have of it. It can be influenced by a company’s past and present actions, relationships with stakeholders, how it communicates with the public, and a whole host of other things. But in a nutshell, it encompasses everything that people think, feel, and say about working for that particular company. And protecting your company’s reputation is not just about consumers buying what you’re selling. It’s also about hiring and retaining top talent to do your selling, or manufacturing or whatever it is your company has to offer. 86% of job seekers[1] are said to avoid companies with a “bad reputation.”

Product/Service

What is it that your sells to consumers? Whether it’s a product or a service, it’s an important element of your company’s brand. For example, if you’re a food truck selling tacos, you’re employer brand will have different elements than a tax accountant. Both businesses need consumers to thrive, but they also need to gain the trust of their customers to do so.

You can see why building and protecting your company brand is critical on many levels. But how exactly does it fit into recruiting and talent acquisition?

The Importance of Employer Branding in Recruiting and Talent Acquisition

The process of developing a strong, positive perception and recognition of your company as an employer by building a positive company brand. is vital for organizations for so many reasons. But at its core, employer branding can be the thing that differentiates a company from the competition. That can also have the domino effect of ensuring that organizations attracts the most compatible, highly qualified candidates, not to mention retain existing employees. Here are some of the reasons why employer branding is important to recruiting and talent acquisition:

Attraction

The basic law of attraction. How do you achieve success in any business? Apple founder Steve Jobs once said: “A small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B and C players.” Having the best people in place is a key component to reaching your business goals. And to attract those A+ players, your employer brand needs to be A++! Attracting top talent to drive your organization’s growth means ensuring your company is perceived as a positive work environment with growth opportunities, and a sense of purpose. A strong employer brand must convey that to appeal to the right candidates.

Engagement

Just as important as talent engagement, having a solid employee engagement strategy is a foundational brick in the wall of employer branding. After all, who better to scream from the rooftops how wonderful it is to work at your company? But that means creating the company culture your employees want to scream about. (In all the right ways.) Employees who feel valued, have a sense of purpose, and believe in your company mission – are going to be your biggest and best sales force when it comes to delivering the message of your employer brand. Keep the team happy and engaged and the team will grow and engage others. (There’s that domino effect at work again.)

Retention

This ties directly to employee engagement in terms of important and they go hand in hand. While a powerful employer brand can help companies attract top talent, retaining them means creating a positive work environment they want to remain in. Offering competitive compensation, good benefits, and providing opportunities for career growth are steps in the right direction. But to seal the deal, promoting a positive company culture of inclusiveness where the team – feels like a team, is the best way to keep the talent you worked so hard to get.

Reputation

There is no advertisement as powerful as the news of a positive reputation traveling fast. This is a more complicated part of building your employer brand. Why? Because in the massive digital marketplace of today, it can be challenging to control every outcome and every perception out there. Warren Buffet famously quoted, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” Makes sense, right? And while it can be difficult to manage a reputation that is also affected by a global media presence, it comes down to always trying to do the right thing when it counts. The Golden Rule is the golden rule for a reason, and it applies to the business ecosphere too. Treat people fairly and respectfully and do the right thing as an organization. Sounds simple but in truth, but in large part, a company reputation is built on doing those simple things.

Benefits to Building a Strong Employer Brand

There’s much more to gained from a strong employer brand than just winning a popularity contest among your employees. There are many tangible benefits including:

Reduces employee turnover

According to LinkedIn, companies who invest in building a positive employer brand experience a 28% decrease in employee turnover[2].

Improves bottom line revenue by building credibility

There are a number of ways your employer brand can affect your organization’s financial success. But the bottom line is all about how your employer brand can actually affect your real bottom line. One study found that 63% of consumers polled[3] said they wouldn’t products and services from a company they don’t trust, with 80% of consumers[3] claiming they’d not only buy from companies they trust, they would recommend those companies to others.

Attract the right talent more easily

If you want the best talent out there, they have to want to work for you. With a solid, positive employer brand, you’re far more likely to attract and hire the talent most likely to excel in the job you’re filling.

Decrease recruiting costs

When your employer brand is doing the heavy lifting of drawing in candidates you want to hire, it’s going to be less costly sourcing candidates across the board. Plus, you’ll be saving time and hiring faster which also equates to money saved.

Increased visibility in a competitive market

With a robust employer brand in place, your visibility in your market is enhanced. And let’s face it, when it comes to branding of any kind, standing out from the competition – is everything.

There are many more nuances to why a strong employer brand is not just beneficial, it’s virtually a necessity. But let’s do a deeper dive into the steps it takes to build a strong, positive employer brand.

Roadmap to Building a Strong Employer Brand

You can’t order a strong employer brand on Amazon. It takes time, effort and a multi-faceted approach. And in most organizations, the roadmap to building a robust employer brand is on the shoulders of the human resource professionals and hiring teams. The first steps to getting it right start with identifying who you are as an organization, what your core mission is and what your employer value proposition (EVP) is.

Define Company Mission and EVP

Establishing your company’s mission and its unique values will help you communicate a consistent message when building your employer brand. You’ll also need to define what your EVP is. An EVP is the set of unique value propositions or benefits an organization offers to its employees. It includes compensation and benefits, work environment, culture, growth opportunities, and work-life balance. Establishing all of the and clearly conveying them to internal stakeholders, as well as potential employees is where building a robust employer brand begins.

Identify Your Audience

Once you’ve identified the values of your company, you need to determine who you’re targeting. What type of employee do you want to attract? Knowing who your target audience is will help you tailor your messaging and hire more effectively.

Develop a Branding Strategy

Think of yourself as a marketing team and develop a strategic plan that outlines how you will build your employer brand. Consider what content and channels you’ll use, the type of messaging you want to convey based on your target audience and put together an actionable plan. You should also make sure your employer branding strategy is aligned with your business goals. For instance, if your company is trying to attract more women in leadership roles, your employer branding strategy should reflect this goal.

Leverage Social Media

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past several decades, you are likely aware of the power of social media when it comes to branding in general. Part of your employer branding strategy should include promoting your employer brand on multiple platforms, including social media, job boards, and career sites. You should also share success stories from current employees, post videos from past events, and share job openings on these channels.

Conduct an Employer Brand Audit

An employer brand audit involves gathering feedback from current and former employees, analyzing social media and online reviews, and benchmarking against your competitors. This can be instrumental in helping identify areas of improvement and strengths that can be leveraged to enhance your employer brand. This also includes monitoring and responding to feedback on social media, job posting and site like Glass Door and Yelp. It may not always be positive reviews but that is precisely why responding is so critical to defuse any negative feedback and protect your brand.

Once you’ve done the hard work of building your employer brand, it’s important to be able to track and measure the results of your efforts. In doing so, you’ll be able to continually refine your branding strategy and achieve maximum ROI for your efforts.

Measuring the Success of Your Employer Branding Efforts

First, it’s important to track the number of applications received in response to job postings. This is a good indication of whether your employer brand is resonating with potential applicants. You should also look at the quality of applicants that are applying. Are they the top-quality candidates you’re looking for? This will give you an idea of how effective your employer brand messaging is when it comes to attracting the right people.

Another metric to consider is time-to-hire. This can help you determine if there are any bottlenecks in your hiring process or whether your employer branding is resulting in faster hiring times. You should also be keeping track of employee turnover. High turnover could indicate that you’re not doing enough to promote employee satisfaction and loyalty, which could indicate your employer branding needs work.

Finally, you should be tracking data related to your recruiting and hiring tools. What kind of results are you getting? Are they helping you reach the right candidates? Having the best technology tools in place can significantly improve your employer branding efforts by automating and simplifying recruiting and hiring workflows, freeing you up to focus on critical areas such as employee and talent engagement.

What Technology Tools Can Help Build Your Employer Brand

With technology advancing faster than ever, employers have more opportunities than ever to build a strong and unique employer brand. Artificial intelligence (AI) and other technology tools can play an important role in employer branding by helping you streamline recruitment processes, identify potential candidates, and build an attractive image of your company.

When looking for an AI tool that assists with employer branding, it’s important to choose one that fits your company’s unique needs and goals. For example, some tools may provide a comprehensive overview of candidates’ background and qualifications, while others may focus solely on keyword matching and resumes to identify potential candidates. The tool should also be able to provide real-time data and feedback on the effectiveness of your campaigns, so you can make informed decisions about which strategies work best for your organization. Finally, the tool should offer integration with other HR systems such as applicant tracking systems to ensure a seamless experience between different departments.

An example of a single platform solution that does all of the above is an AI powered tool like Arya. Arya combines advanced AI and Artificial Intuition – technology with a human touch that provides a deeper, multi-dimensional understanding of people, jobs, and what makes them compatible. The only AI-sourcing tool on the market that scores and ranks talent for compatibility, Arya empowers you to quickly source and rapidly engage the talent most likely to succeed in every open role, reducing sourcing time by 50% – saving you time and money. Arya’s powerful AI can play a pivotal role in building your employer brand by providing the tools that simplify recruiting and sourcing processes, helping you attract the right candidates and setting your organization up for success.

Final Thoughts

Who you think you are as an organization is important. But perhaps more important is who the rest of the world thinks you are. Perception is everything. That’s why building a robust employer image that inspires the stakeholders in your unique ecosystem to embrace your organization is one giant step towards achieving your business goals. If you’d like to learn more about how Arya can help you build your employer brand, book a demo today and see for yourself the power of AI in action.

FAQs

What is employer branding?

Employer branding is the process of creating and maintaining an attractive, unified image of a company as an employer. It’s a combination of tactics and strategies used to help employers attract and retain talent, as well as build a positive public perception about their company.

What are the elements of employer branding?

The elements of employer branding include creating a strong, unified identity for your company, highlighting the benefits of working for you, staying consistent with messaging and visuals, and creating meaningful content for your target audience.

How does employer branding fit into recruiting and talent acquisition?

Employer branding is essential for recruiting and talent acquisition because it helps create an attractive environment to potential candidates and allows companies to stand out from competitors. It also helps you stay top-of-mind with passive job seekers and creates trust in potential hires.

What are 7 steps you can take to build a robust employer brand?

The seven steps to build a robust employer brand are: 1) Set objectives and determine a budget; 2) Identify your target audience; 3) Develop a core employer brand strategy; 4) Create a consistent look and message; 5) Develop content that resonates with your target audience; 6) Utilize hiring tools to engage potential candidates; and 7) Monitor and evaluate your efforts.

How do you measure the success of your employer branding efforts?

Measuring the success of your employer branding efforts can be done by tracking key metrics such as website traffic, number of job applications, click-through rate on job postings, employee referrals, job offer acceptance rate, turnover rate, etc.

What technological tools can help you build your employer brand?

Technology tools that can help you build your employer brand include social media management tools, content management systems, recruitment software, employee advocacy platforms, video production tools, analytics software, and more.

What can a strong employer brand do for your company?

A strong employer brand can have a positive impact on your company’s bottom line by increasing job applications, employee referrals, and hire acceptance rate while decreasing turnover rate. It can also boost morale among existing employees, increase customer loyalty, and strengthen the company’s public perception overall.

References

[1] https://teamstage.io/company-culture-statistics/

[2] https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/benefits-building-winning-employer-brand-meiraj-hussain-/?trk=pulse-article

[3] https://www.zenogroup.com/insights/2020-zeno-strength-purpose

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