How to Build An Employer Brand that Employees will Love
Whether you’re a corner shop or a large multinational, whether you have significant talent turn over or your employees are very loyal, whether you are in Ouagadougou or Seattle, in mining or the design of woolly hats, each and every company has an employer brand. The difference between companies that are successful in attracting and retaining top talent is that some of them work hard on building their employer brand and others leave it to ‘nature’.
The good thing is that building an employer brand that rocks is not that difficult (and even better not that expensive – on average smaller companies spend less than $5,000 on employer brand activities). The most difficult part is to align all the different elements so they build and amplify each other and create a cohesive image that is appreciated and recognized by the talent you’re looking for.
I’ve done some research and paired it with my personal experience to identify 5 elements that you have to get right to create a strong employer brand.
1. Get Leadership Buy-In
CEO’s are beginning to take more responsibility for their company’s employer brand which is a strong indication that employer branding is expected to gain greater strategic importance. A survey from Universum – the future of employer branding – found that 60% of the CEOs took responsibility for their company’s employer brand. Brett Michington, the global thought leader on Employer branding identifies five questions all leaders need to know the answer to:
- Why would someone want to work for you?
- What percentage of your managers have received training in how to deliver the employer brand experience? (Brett’s research found only 46 percent have!)
- What is the perception employees and candidates have about your employer brand?
- What visibility do you have of your employees/talent pool?
- What percentage of your employees would recommend your company as a great place to work?
Do a brainstorming session with a few of your top leaders who could contribute valuable information and answer the questions above. They will give you direction on what to do next.
2. Define Your Culture and Live Your Values
Your employer brand should be an expression of your culture and values. You only want to recruit people that fit your culture and people that are aligned with your values. As the famous Alice in Wonderland saying goes:
“If you don’t know where you are going every road will take you there”
So you have to of course first know what culture and values will make your company succeed and then more importantly ensure that people are aware of them and live these value consistently.
The key is in the word consistently. How many of us have worked in companies where the values are plastered on walls and websites but the first interaction with the company through its receptionist shows a complete disregard of anything that is so beautifully articulated on the poster above him or her? You have to work on Creating the Right Culture for Success.
3. Apply it Across the Employee Life Cycle
The devil in the famous recruitment joke got it more right than wrong when he says “yesterday we were recruiting you, but now you’re on the staff”. Most employer brands are paper thin and only relate to the glossy’s on the walls and how the recruitment team goes out in the market. And in today’s digital age, people see through it and will ‘unmask’ you faster than you can share your company brand.
In order to ensure that your employer brand is seen consistently outside the organisation you have to first ensure that your employees experiences are aligned with your employer brand. That means you have to align all your processes and employee interactions across the Employee Life Cycle and it doesn’t matter if someone is hired or fired – they experience the same values that you communicate as part of your employer brand.
4. Use Your Best Ambassadors
The 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer found that talent is far more likely to trust a company based on what its employees have to say as compared to its recruitment advertising. This means that talent attraction relies far more heavily on employee engagement and advocacy then anything else.
If you’ve ensured your employer brand is felt throughout the organisation and across the employee life cycle then of course the best people to convince others that you’re a great company to work for are own employees. They can convey what you expect from people who join you best. Use them as much as you can, whether it’s through peer-2-peer contact, references, or social media profiles.
5. Use Social Media
Social media has made it incredibly easy to market brands and in this case, promote you employer brand. 98% of companies now use social media for their recruitment activities. There are many ways to use social media to drive your employer brand by sharing company events on Instagram, to becoming thought leaders through company blogs to sharing behind the scenes videos and providing information on LinkedIn’s career page.
Use social media to make employees your brand ambassadors. By providing them the right policies, content, motivation and guidance they are your number one voice for sharing what your company brand is really about. Make sure you monitor what’s going on especially at the beginning – it often takes time to have everyone speaking on the same page. But it’s well worth the effort.
It seems like a lot of work but I guarantee that if you take one step at a time, prioritize and dedicate yourself to it, you’ll find success. Join the Keijzer community and I’ll email you more tips on Employer Branding. Hope you’ve had a productive week!