Becoming an employer of choice main

Becoming an employer of choice

How to improve your employer branding

For many organisations, the emphasis in all their communication material is about their company as a sales entity, a service or product provider and a profit generator. Of course, these qualities are crucial, but what is often missed is your employer branding, or in other words the impression that people have of your organisation as an employer.

Let’s take an example. Yours is a successful organisation and is experiencing growth. However, you just can’t seem to attract the right people to continue to drive your ongoing success. Sure, you attract a lot of candidate interest, however few applicants demonstrate that unique fit with your organisation’s values and way of doing business that will see them – and in turn your organisation – thrive.

In most cases, the reason for this comes down to the lack of an accurate or strong employer brand. An effective employer brand should promote your organisation as a preferred place to work. It communicates what makes your organisation unique. In doing so, it will attract like-minded candidates who are aligned with your way of doing business and believe that they could thrive in your workplace.

Whether candidates are in short supply or you are inundated with applications, regularly and consistently promoting your employer brand is what will allow you to attract the right candidates for your organisation. After all, there’s no point receiving 100 applications if none of these candidates are aligned with your values and way of doing business.

A strong and clearly defined employer brand is also pivotal in your efforts to retain your existing talent. Internally, your employer brand can serve to motivate and engage your employees to have pride in their workplace and give it their all.

In the end, today’s jobseekers and employees want to feel that sense of synergy between what they stand for and what your organisation represents. Developing a clear employer brand is central to that process.

How to build your employer brand

So, how does your organisation build and communicate a brand that will attract and retain the right talent?

Identify your EVP, then bring it to life

Firstly, identify your business values and define a strong Employee Value Proposition, or EVP. Your EVP is crucial to your employer brand as it defines the value employees receive, your purpose and culture, and the unique experience of what it’s like to work at your organisation. From a forward-thinking mindset to opportunities for career progression, it communicates what employees get from working for you and why they should stay with your organisation.

Many people often mistake an EVP for an employer brand, but in fact they refer to two very different things. While your EVP defines the employment experience, your employer brand brings it to life through marketing to build an enticing and accurate reputation of your organisation as an employer.

Given this, your EVP should not be used word-for-word in your employer branding communications. Think of it as the foundation of truths that you must creatively bring alive to create a realistic perception of what your organisation is like to work for.

You can communicate your employer brand in a huge variety of ways, such as on your website, social media, at events and through word of mouth, but your messages must always remain true to the core principles established in your EVP.

In this way, your employer brand will always feel authentic. This is essential if it is to help jobseekers make a judgement about whether they will be right for your organisation.

To help bring your EVP to life through your employer brand, start by listening to what your existing employees have to say about your organisation. In many ways, your current workforce is your secret weapon in developing an effective employer brand. Take the time to put yourself in your employees’ shoes, whether this is done through focus groups, surveys, meetings, staff conferences or a series of informal conversations with individual staff members. By going through this process, you will find that narratives and themes begin to become apparent, and these can be shaped into a creative, coherent and authentic employer brand story.

Importantly, grounding your employer brand in both your EVP and the ideas and stories provided by your existing workforce will give it an unimpeachable authenticity. It will not be based on what you think candidates would like to hear – it will be real. In the long run, this will prove to be the most powerful way of attracting the right candidate to your organisation.

Shout it from the rooftops

Next, it’s time to communicate your employer brand externally in all your touch points with potential employees. This will allow jobseekers to gain a clear idea of your culture and how well they could fit within your team.

Start by channelling your employer brand throughout every stage of the hiring process. From your career website and job descriptions to your interview and induction processes, think about how you could help your audience get a feel for day-to-day life at your organisation. Make sure each interaction contributes to the narrative of what sets your organisation apart, so that suitable candidates come to see your company as an appealing place to work.

Embed your brand in your talent management strategy

No doubt over the years you’ve proudly watched the people you’ve hired grow as professionals and rise through the ranks. You have every faith that your organisation is a great place to progress your career. But does your employer brand make this apparent to an external jobseeker?

Whether it’s the mentoring schemes you offer or promotional plans in place, make sure you include the opportunities for learning and career progression in your employer brand narrative. For instance, at Hays we have run campaigns such as #MyHaysStory, where our employees share their career journey within our company.

Employees should also be encouraged to share their successes on LinkedIn, whether that’s undertaking professional training or earning a promotion. You should also encourage them to write about their positive experiences on review sites such as Glassdoor.

Learn more about developing your talent management strategy in our Talent Management report

Create employee advocacy

In fact, encouraging your existing employees to share relevant content with their LinkedIn or other social media networks is one of the strongest ways to communicate your employer branding concept. For example, our internal employees promote our Hays brand daily, keeping our followers and candidates engaged in our events, services and upcoming job opportunities.

When your brand is shared like this amongst your own employee network, the message becomes more authentic and personal, leading to strong organisational identification which, in turn, attracts the interest of people who can see themselves potentially working successfully in your team.

Go directly to where your potential employees are

A strong and well communicated employer brand should also be promoted via the online platforms and mediums that your target audience engage with. Whether it’s on your website, social media, review sites, networking events or at university or careers fairs, you should always aim to effectively and consistently communicate your employer brand to the potential employees you engage with.

Don’t forget to also let your customers know that you value your staff. They are potential marketers for you and it can only help if they have a positive view of you as an employer.

To conclude, when planned well and promoted effectively, your employer brand will create a competitive advantage by helping you attract and retain people who are a natural fit with your organisation and its way of doing business. It will project an accurate image of your organisation as a place to work and what makes it unique in your industry.

With jobseekers increasingly looking carefully at an organisation’s reputation before they apply for a job, a strong employer brand helps the right candidates see that they can thrive in your organisation. It helps to ensure suitable candidates will think of your organisation first when they next job search, which is a key advantage in today’s recruitment market.

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