8 secrets of developing a great employer brand

8 secrets of developing a great employer brand

We all know the hiring landscape is now a candidate-driven and highly competitive environment. The top candidates are very picky and have high standards. As a result, if your company brand as a potential employer is not top-notch, you won't even get a look in!

What is an employer brand?

An employer brand refers to a company’s image, identity, perception and reputation (call it what you will) as viewed by the potential employee. The goal is to represent your company as dynamic, successful, future thinking etc so you attract and retain the highest-quality employees.

Why is employer branding so important?

Today’s candidates have access to more information than ever regarding open positions and the companies that are hiring. The savvy candidate will spend time researching the employers (especially online) to identify which roles and companies are the most appealing.

8 steps to improve your employer brand

1. Put company culture first

It all starts from within, you need to walk the talk. A strong employer brand starts from the leadership team. In other words — if you want candidates to perceive your company as a great place to work, it must actually be a great place to work.

A few years ago, a shiny website and career page and a few glowing testimonials could make any company look like a dream employer. But in today’s hyper-connected world of social media and review sites, word-of-mouth travels fast. If your branding efforts promise an experience you don’t actually offer, candidates will soon find out.

The best way to gauge the strength of your company culture is to speak directly with your employees. Whether through anonymous surveys or face-to-face meetings, find out what they love most about working at your company — and what they’d like to be different:

Listening to your employees will not only help you identify weaknesses your company can improve upon — but, you’ll also identify which strengths you must showcase as part of your employer brand.

2. Promote your values

Here’s one thing that modern recruiting and marketing strategies have in common — content is more important than ever. To build a strong employer brand, you must devote time to creating and promoting content that both engages with your target audience and represents your values.

Here are some key tips to develop great content:

Use stories. The goal of your content is to engage candidates on an emotional level. Storytelling adds a personal element that differentiates your employer brand from similar companies.

Through written and visual stories, talk about the journey of your company and include specific employees. These stories will resonate with candidates and show your company as a collection of real human beings rather than faceless employees.

Emphasize your company values. Modern job-seekers want to work for employers who mirror their own values. Respect, honesty, and mutuality might be important, so ensure they are represented in your content.

3. Put employees first

Finding and retaining top talent isn’t easy or cheap so it is more important than ever that treating your people with respect and valuing their contributions is crucial if you want a strong and authentic employer brand.

Employees want to feel like they’re trusted to manage themselves to a certain extent. Give them a sense of control by offering options for how, where and when they work.

When your people are happy, they are more invested in your organisation’s success. This engagement is invaluable.

4. Your employees are your best advocates

Even if your team members do not have externally facing roles, they will have contacts in similar industries and be members of groups and trade associations. As such, they are an integral part of the employer brand building process.

Your team should be encouraged to share content, and experiences within the company, and promote and share information. We recommend that you offer incentives to employees who recommend new hires as these are a great source of low risk, high-quality talent.

Remember — employees who feel valued and appreciated will be more willing to advocate for your brand and company. Recognize and reward your employees’ efforts and they’ll become valuable brand ambassadors.

5. Leverage social media

Social media has quickly become an essential marketing channel — and it’s equally as important for recruiting. So it’s critical to build your employer brand on social media if you want your ideal candidates to find you.

Most recruiters leverage platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to post job listings — but that doesn’t contribute much to brand building. Instead, use social media to engage with candidates and share content that adds value.

6. Realise that fun is good for business

We spend so much time at work, so it makes sense to inject a bit of fun into our working lives where possible. And that fun doesn’t simply result in smiles and laughs – it brings a tangible increase in workplace happiness and productivity. A more enjoyable workplace makes individuals perform better in almost every aspect of their lives and contributes to better wellbeing.

Having fun at work also gives employees something positive to talk about and share on social media, thus increasing your employer brand. These light-hearted stories are a great addition to both your marketing efforts, appealing to prospective staff and customers alike.

7. Ask for (and act on) feedback

There are various ways to ask for feedback from your workforce, including at regular departmental or company-wide meetings, and through anonymous employee feedback surveys.

Staff need to feel that they are free to offer their advice and feedback without reprisal. If there is no trust between workers and leaders then honest feedback won’t be forthcoming.

Remember, inviting and asking for feedback is only the first step in the process: following up on the comments and suggestions from employees must be something that, as an employer, you’re seen to be doing consistently.

By providing employees with regular constructive feedback about their own performance, you can help and encourage them to continually improve. Your support will make them feel valued and appreciated, further strengthening engagement and improving staff retention rates.

8. Test and measure

Improving your employer brand is an ongoing process and may seem hard to quantify. But hiring managers should test and measure their strategies.

Metrics could include:

Reviews and ratings – Your ratings on review sites like Glassdoor and Google reviews are extremely important—as it’s the first place many candidates go to learn about the quality of your employer brand. Look at the feedback and ensure you address any negatives.

Retention rate – Employee turnover is fluid and unpredictable—but retention rates can be a key indicator of the quality of your employer brand. If you notice a high staff ‘churn’ you need to act swiftly.

Employee satisfaction – A positive employer brand requires a healthy culture and happy employees, which will be reflected by you measuring employee satisfaction across all teams. Anonymous surveys are a great way to let employees provide honest feedback about their experience without fear of repercussions.