Job hunting has come a long way from the days of newspaper ads and job boards, as job seekers of today take to the internet to first understand the climate of the job market, and then to assess their options before they start applying.
The power of choice and initial decision-making is in the hands of the top candidates of today, as they can whittle through potential employers and find out the ins and outs of what it’s like to work for them before they’ve even considered filling out an application.
With this change in process, Employer Branding has become a priority for just about every organization, and many of the most employee-driven organizations have adopted social media as a means of showcasing their company culture and establishing themselves as great places to work.
Here we’ll discuss what Employer Branding is, and why it’s becoming more important in today’s workplaces.
What is Employer Branding?
In its purest form, your employer brand is your reputation among both current and prospective employees as an employer. Put differently; your employer brand is how you market your organization as a place to work.
Glassdoor states that four key company characteristics can define an employer brand. These are; Company Culture, Employee Opinions, Candidate Opinions, and Corporate Brand.
Let’s dissect these.
Positive Company Culture is arguably the most vital aspect of building a strong employer brand, as it makes up the company’s values, mission, beliefs, behaviors, and all of the above.
Company culture is taught by the best organizations from the offset, recognizing that a mission-aligned team with shared beliefs and values is what will ultimately bind the workforce and drive future success.
Your employees’ stories and opinions of your company are the most reputable accounts a prospective candidate could ask for. Especially when these accounts are amplified using company review sites and social media, as it’s harder than ever to keep opinions (whether positive or negative) behind closed doors.
More importantly, your employees’ accounts matter because they can go a long way in amplifying positive stories and reaching quality candidates.
A study from Nielsen found that people are 92% more likely to trust recommendations from others over any form of branded content. Also, according to Undercover Recruiter, in 2019, employee referrals made up only 7% of all applicants, but 40% of all hires.
It’s clear that whether past or present, your employees can have a huge impact on your company’s reputation as an employer.
People say first impressions matter, and to a prospective employee, this couldn’t be more true. The employee’s journey starts with an application, and their perception of your employer brand will form from the offset.
From their experience with human resources to the interview and onboarding, a candidate is getting a feel for life at your company. Using the same means as a disgruntled employee, you risk them sharing this potentially negative experience with other prospective employees.
Consumer brand and employer brand are wildly different, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t mutually beneficial. Your consumer brand can be drastically affected by things like controversies and bad ethics, which in turn showcase poor values and might discourage a quality candidate from considering you.
86% of the respondents to a 2018 study said that they would not consider working for an organization that has a bad reputation with the general public.
Why is Employer Branding Important?
Whether you’re actively working on it or not, your organization has an employer brand, and without recognition or management of this, you are powerless in controlling the workforce’s perception of you as an employer.
All too often, Employer Branding is neglected, and companies allocate the majority of their efforts to establishing and maintaining their consumer-facing brand. Which, as mentioned above, is hugely important, but holds little relevance other than familiarity when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent.
Your employer brand matters because it helps to attract the best candidates to your company, but perhaps more importantly, shows that you are looking after current employees who are detrimental to the success and growth of your business.
The Role of Employee Advocates
Whether it be through incentives, empowerment, initiatives, or all of the above, ensuring that your current employees are happy and feel valued is the first step to establishing a positive employer brand.
Why? They are your most reputable advocates! Employee Advocacy plays a vital role in establishing your employer brand, as it not only empowers your employees by allowing them to speak on behalf of the company, but it allows them to tell their stories to your superstar employees of the future!
Not only this, but a positive employer brand can reduce staff turnover rates by 28%.
Employee Content Creators
Giving your employees a voice is one thing, but allowing them to create the content that is publicly available to your audience is a huge employer branding leg-up!
When these quality candidates look to your company’s social media, what will they see? Will they see staged stock photography, or will they get a genuine feel of what life at your company is really like?
Reduced Cost to Hire
Anyone that works in HR, or just about any line of recruitment, will know that the hiring process is never cheap or straightforward. In fact, a recent report from Glassdoor stated that 76% of hiring decision-makers say attracting quality candidates is their biggest challenge.
Focusing your attention on your employer brand and creating an environment and workplace that people want to be a part of means that quality candidates will seek you out. 75% of job seekers are more likely to apply to work for a firm that actively manages its employer brand.
According to LinkedIn, 59% of recruiting leaders worldwide are investing more in their employer brand. No doubt there’s a correlation here, but the same report stated that those that invest in employer branding cut their cost-per-hire by 50%.
Your employer brand is your business’ identity as a workplace, and it’s what will get the attention of those who are taking to job review sites, social media, and friends, to find out what it’s like to work for you.
Top firms are turning their attention to their employer brand as a means of attracting the best people for the roles, but in 2020, it’s not just the employer’s who will be turning their attention to this.
Post-pandemic, there will inevitably be considerable uncertainty and distrust among employers who let go of large numbers of employees, and those who didn’t will be asked how they supported their employees during this time of crisis.
Now is the time to truly hone in on your employer brand, and the way to communicate your message is through your employees. After all, people trust people!
Senior Marketing Manager and Employee Advocacy Program Manager at DSMN8. Lewis specialises in content strategy, growing brand visibility and generating inbound leads. His background in Sales lends itself well to demand generation in the B2B niche.