All You Need To Know About Employer Branding Strategy
In today’s hyper-visible digital world, brands and businesses might find it hard to evade the spotlight. Through Google searches, LinkedIn profiles, or reviews on websites like Glassdoor and Indeed, brands are more visible than ever. Just as your brand spends time and resources constructing compelling and incentivising brand stories, so should it invest time and resources cultivating a robust employer brand. It is imperative that you stand out from the crowd - for the right reasons - to compete for and attract top talent.
And to attract a talented workforce – and retain them – brands are becoming more aware of the importance – and potential – of employer branding. Strong employer brands are of the utmost importance, which is where an employer branding strategy comes in. With a successful branding strategy, you will be able to positively influence the public perception of your company, making it easier to recruit and retain employees.
Although the reality is that your business won’t be the only one seeking to boost employment and employee retention – your competitors will be looking to do the same. This is why presenting a powerful and compelling employer proposition is more crucial – and more challenging – than ever before.
This guide discusses what employer branding is, what good employer branding looks like, and how to implement your own branding strategy that will rise above the rest. Not only will you discover what employer branding is, but this article will help you develop a branding strategy that celebrates your brand, engages employees, and reduces recruitment costs while improving hiring quality.
What is an employer branding strategy?
Employer branding is about shaping those all-important brand perceptions. Essentially, your employer brand is a product of your reputation as an employer among your employees, your competitors, and your target customers.
A company’s employer brand is how it markets itself to job seekers, current employees, stakeholders, and brand ambassadors. The stronger your employer branding is – and the more it represents your company values – the more likely you are to attract and retain the best talent.
In other words, it is an all-encompassing package of everything your company offers as a workplace to benefit your most precious resource – your employees. To craft a gripping and convincing brand strategy, you need to provide your employees with an understanding of your company’s culture, values, mission, and purpose.
Creating a branding strategy that authentically communicates why you are a great company to work for is crucial to talent acquisition – and this will help you to improve the attractiveness of your employer to talented individuals, as well as keep your current employees engaged.
However, it goes beyond storytelling – you need to prove to your employees and ideal candidates that you are a great place to work by talking the talk and walking the walk.
What are the 4 P’s of employer branding?
Purpose: This is all about what your organisation stands for – your mission, values, and your reason for being. Having a clear and convincing purpose can draw in job seekers who believe in the same things and are inspired by what you’re all about.
People: The heart of any organisation is its people, and this ‘P’ focuses on your employees. It’s about creating a workplace where everyone feels positive and included, regardless of their background. It’s also about ensuring that employees are not just content but deeply connected to your company values and goals and have a positive employee experience. Happy and engaged employees tend to speak highly of their employer, which only bolsters their reputation and encourages potential candidates to buy-in to their organisational values.
Place: Place has to do with the physical and virtual workspaces you provide. It covers things like the office layout, options for remote work, the technology and tools given to employees – basically, everything that affects where and how work gets done. A comfortable and efficient work environment can vastly improve your company image, as it shows just how much you care about your employees’ well-being and productivity.
Promotion: Promotion means getting the word out about what a great place your company is to work. This involves marketing your employer brand to external audiences, especially potential job applicants. It could be done through various channels like social media, job adverts, career sites, and even through employees sharing their positive experiences. Effective promotion helps in attracting and keeping top-notch talent.
Together, these four elements help organisations define and strengthen their image as an employer, making them more attractive to potential employees and helping to keep their current staff engaged.
10 components of an employer branding strategy
Your employer brand should transparently and consistently promote your brand and should:
- Positively distinguish you from the competition
- Demonstrate why someone would work for your business
- Illustrate how your brand is strengthening over time
There are several components all great brand employment strategies have – addressing these elements will help you develop a strategy that is fit for purpose and rises above the rest.
Developing an employer brand strategy can be the deciding factor in an ideal candidate’s decision to join your organisation over competitors. Using these best practices will give you greater control of the messages you project and will increase your ability to influence their perceptions of your brand.
1. Conduct an employer brand audit
An employer brand audit can determine your company’s reputation and brand perception among prospective employees and existing team members.
Learn how your company is currently perceived by conducting internal surveys, gathering testimonials, searching social media channels, reading comments on sites like Glassdoor, or hiring a company that specialises in reputation monitoring.
Using this company research, you can identify the strengths and weaknesses of your work culture, as well as identify any areas for improvement to ensure employee engagement and strong employer branding. This will allow you to develop a list of your company’s values and benefits and move on to the next step: a value proposition for employers.
2. Review your existing recruitment process
Your recruitment and selection process has a huge impact on your employer brand – this includes your careers page, job ads, the application process, interview stages, the final offer, onboarding, and referrals.
It is important that your brand shines throughout this process and your company culture is apparent. Is it clear enough how working for your company will benefit them and why they should consider it? Does the administrative process work well? Does it run smoothly, on time, and efficiently? How do you ensure that the talent you are attracting aligns with the values of your organisation? Before their first day, are candidates provided with everything they need? Last but not least, are they excited to begin working?
By identifying recruitment challenges early, you’ll have a better chance of overcoming them. It’s important to find long-term solutions, whether you need to fill a position quickly or find applicants with the right qualifications and experience.
3. Define your Employer Value Proposition
Creating your Employer Value Proposition begins with knowing what makes your company unique. In short, it’s your organisation’s values, mission, and culture.
You should describe what you bring to the table and what makes you unique from your competitors in your employer brand proposition. What do you consider to be your company’s unique selling points? Whatever makes your company unique, this is your chance to capitalise on it and spread the word. The key to successful employer branding is to emphasise individuality and to differentiate your company from the competition.
It’s crucial to capture your message, purpose, work culture, and promise authentically in your employer value proposition to advertise to job applicants and job candidates effectively.
4. Craft a compelling EVP- Employee Value Proposition
Although they sound similar, your EVP (employee value proposition) differs greatly from your employer value proposition. Essentially, this is a summary of the financial, personal, and cultural benefits that an employee receives in exchange for the time, energy, skills, and commitment they make.
A compelling employee value proposition helps employees understand what makes the company unique and motivates them to work there.
Employee value propositions are employee-centric and focus on how an organisation offers value, engages, and retains employees.
Ideally, your employer brand and employer value proposition should be closely aligned so your current employees and future employees perceive them as the same, or very similar.
5. Build your candidate persona
How would you describe your ideal candidate? Before you start your hiring process, it’s important to know who your ideal candidate is – you cannot develop an employer branding strategy that targets a person with the right personality, aspirations, and skills to seamlessly join your team without knowing the answer to this question.
Spend time identifying the qualities of your target audience:
- Who are they? What are their main characteristics?
- What motivates them daily?
- Where do they search for information?
- What types of roles and responsibilities would they like?
- What influences their decisions?
Clarifying your ideal candidate will help them transition smoothly into your organisation and grow within it.
6. Create your brand guidelines and review your existing ones
You probably already have brand guidelines, assets, and logos for your company, but what about your employer brand?
The success of your employer brand strategy depends on assets that make it stand out, as well as resources that can be used to create compelling employer branding designs and campaigns.
From country-specific guidelines to culturally appropriate and accessible imagery, ready-made templates, colour palettes, logo variations, audience breakdowns by country, and dos and don’ts, your guidelines should cover it all.
7. Make use of social media and digital marketing channels to showcase your story
Establish your primary marketing channels and use them effectively. What is the best way to recruit new employees or engage your current employees?
It is important to identify the channels that will best reach the target audience when developing your audience persona. As part of your employer branding initiatives, define all platforms you intend to use and make sure they convey the same message.
Using the right channels, such as a careers page on your website, paid media campaigns, and social media, you can tailor and target your employer branding far more effectively. Consider finding out how employees first heard about your brand from the most popular platforms and forums in your industry – and use them to effect.
Online professional networks, social media, and your company’s website are three of the best platforms to extend your employer brand in today’s digital world. Ensure you share videos on all channels possible to maximise engagement and brand awareness. Additionally, make the most of your internal communication channels to promote the advantages your brand provides. Remember, reinforcing the appeal of your brand among current employees is just as crucial as reaching out to new audiences.
8. Cultivate an onboarding process
As a new hire’s first experience, onboarding is imperative for making a good first impression.
A positive company brand image requires an effective onboarding process. To boost employee engagement, it is imperative that employees are excited about their roles and their teams from the very beginning. You can ensure lower turnover rates, smooth transitions, and more productive workplaces if you provide new employees with the guidance and tools they need to succeed in their roles.
9. Create opportunities for feedback, learning and development
Provide your employees with opportunities to voice their ideas for improving your company culture, as well as to tell you what’s working well, so you can make improvements.
Employees can be your greatest brand advocates and employee advocacy programs provide employees with a platform to speak out through social media in addition to allowing them to share their experiences and perspectives.
In addition, your HR team can refine your Employee Value Proposition by learning what your employees love most about your company.
A lack of career development and learning opportunities is one of the major reasons for low employee retention, so make sure to invest in your team’s development. Your team will feel valued if you invest in their training and development, and by enhancing the skills, motivation, and engagement of your workforce, you also increase their gratitude and appreciation for your organisation.
As well as reducing workplace boredom and increasing motivation, employees who are more connected with a brand are more likely to become brand ambassadors, telling friends and family about the positive work environment and inviting others to apply for positions when they are available.
Recruits and customers will be more inclined to trust and engage with you when you have strong employee branding.
10. Measure: Establish metrics and make adjustments as you go
After you’ve defined your goals, select relevant metrics to track and decide how you’ll measure them. Set yourself SMART targets – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-specific goals.
Maintaining your competitive edge requires constant assessment, fine-tuning, and adaptation as your business and industry landscape changes. Employer branding initiatives should be measured against your predefined KPIs, such as:
- Recruiting time
- Recruiting costs
- Applicant numbers for each vacancy
- Improved brand reputation
If you find yourself falling short in any of these areas, it’s best to reevaluate, correct your course, and tweak your approach until you see results. Employer branding strategies should be flexible – they should evolve to reflect new trends, patterns, or requirements as your business strategy evolves.
How important is an employer branding strategy?
Combined with company ethos and reputation, positive employee testimonials can help tell the world what a company is all about. According to Glassdoor, 75% of active job seekers are likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand. Moreover, 57% of people trust those in similar roles to themselves, according to the Edelman Barometer 2021.
A positive branding strategy is crucial to attracting staff when you consider that 55% of job hunters will discard their applications after reading a negative review. It’s also possible to be detrimental by having no presence at all – applicants may decide to apply elsewhere if they can’t find the information they’re looking for. Your company’s credibility will be boosted by including positive testimonials that testify to your healthy working environment and candidate experiences from current employees in your content.
A savvy candidate will check out review sites like Glassdoor to see what current and former employees have to say about the company. High staff turnover can raise red flags for prospective employees when they’re job hunting. They need to hear from happy, fulfilled employees who are passionate about their jobs and have room to grow.
In today’s internet-savvy job market, it is vital that you develop a brand that will appeal to and connect with job candidates. A strong brand can result in numerous benefits, such as:
- Increased employer appeal to talented individuals in your industry
- A greater sense of belonging and alignment among your existing employees
- Significant reductions in the costs associated with hiring new talent and retaining them
- An engaged workforce who actively promotes your brand, extending your reach to other candidates and clients
- A clear, unified vision for the future of your organisation, pushed forward by everyone in your organisation
Five brands who have nailed their employer branding
Glassdoor ranks Netflix as one of the best employers. The company encourages its employees to maintain a work-life balance – and the company pioneered the concept that workers should take whatever vacation time they need in 2014, and many companies have followed suit since then.
In 2015, the company offered groundbreaking parental leave policies, allowing parents to take as many days off as they need during the first year of a child’s life. Moreover, Netflix maintains an open-minded, friendly organisational culture that is employee-centred.
Team members respect each other’s individual needs while seeing the team as one. In place of building a traditional organisation with big cheeses giving orders, they paved the way for a new way of working.
One of the best examples of employer branding is found at Google. This successful, global company receives over 3 million resumes each year – they have no problems sourcing new top talent.
In its EVP pyramid, Google emphasises emotional well-being and fulfilment. Google’s ethos and employer brand have become synonymous with fostering a supportive and positive workplace culture.
Google invests a lot of money in research on the impact of culture on workplace performance. According to its research, businesses need to create an emotionally safe workplace in which employees feel valued and can trust one another to deliver high-quality work – and Google provides as much.
Google has incorporated this philosophy into its working practice; besides providing excellent job content and providing great career development opportunities, looking after its employees and promoting personal fulfilment have become essential elements of its employer brand.
As one of the World’s Best Workplaces for years in a row, Salesforce refers to its team members and clients as “Ohana,” which is Hawaiian for family. Interestingly, this word has become synonymous with Disney’s Lilo & Stitch, and fans will recall that ‘Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.’
This sentiment is at the core of Salesforce’s work culture. Over the years, Salesforce has earned the title of #1 World’s Best Workplace by building a strong community around the company.
It’s easy to understand why Salesforce’s employees are so fond of the enterprise software company, which has its headquarters in San Francisco. Continuous learning opportunities. A supportive management team. The opportunity to try out different roles. A culture of openness, friendliness, and trust. An environment that emphasizes balance and flexibility.
Starbucks cultivates a strong sense of community among its employees. By referring to current employees as partners, they instil pride in them. To interact with job seekers and promote their employer brand, Starbucks created Instagram and Twitter accounts specifically for @StarbucksJobs.
By creating social media accounts to express appreciation for current employees and inspire potential hires, Starbucks demonstrates that it’s more than just a product.
Their social media accounts are used less to promote drinks and more to share the company’s mission, congratulate college graduates, and share employee stories. Moreover, the platforms are used to demonstrate the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Hubspot’s nomination for Best Places to Work in 2018 drew attention to the company’s commitment to listening to its employees and incorporating their feedback and suggestions.
Known for its support, inclusiveness, cohesiveness, and autonomy, it has a great reputation. In addition to offering an array of perks that are closely linked to its values, it articulates clearly what it stands for. A strong emphasis is placed on self-improvement, and there are extensive development opportunities available.
Hubspot is proud to promote its great work environment. As an added bonus, the company’s employees are enthusiastic brand ambassadors and more than happy to promote the company as an incredible workplace.
Hubspot has regularly encouraged followers to post comments on their social media pages that can serve as jumping-off points for future content. With flexible work hours and tuition reimbursement, it also champions its fun company culture.
We’d love to help craft an effective employer branding strategy for your brand
We can’t emphasise the importance of employer branding enough. Creating a strong brand strategy means celebrating brand stories and connecting your brand globally – and by developing your own employer brand strategy – you can become an employer of choice for talent, reduce recruitment costs, and improve hiring quality.
Our team can help you craft an employer brand that is consistent and promoted to the right people on an international scale so that you achieve success.
To learn more about how our team will help you create a research-powered employer brand and messaging that resonates with top talent, please get in touch – we’d love to help.