When LinkedIn published its top 100 most in demand employers in 2014, it was no surprise to see well-known companies such as Google, Apple and Unilever placed in the top three. When people describe Google’s branding and products and services, they may often use words such as “inventive”, “stimulating” and “global”, and the same could be said for the company culture and people’s perceptions on what it might be like to work for the company.
FOUR REASONS WHY COMPANIES SHOULD FOCUS ON EMPLOYER BRANDING
Building a work culture like Google or Apple is generally not possible for many companies. However, when assessing an employer brand, there are a number of factors every employer should consider:
Consumer Brand – Consumer brand and employer brand are nearly always connected, with one potentially having a positive, or negative, effect on the other. Top candidates always want to work for top companies and ensuring best suited applicant is hired, helps companies do more within the budget they have. Companies who don’t necessarily operate in the consumer market, still need to leverage their employer brand within the business-to-business sector.
Reputation in the Community – Corporate social responsibility is an important part of community engagement strategy within a company and is a phrase regularly used when businesses define their values. While it is essential to define the strategy, it is even more significant for companies to go beyond this and actually turn words into actions, as prospective candidates like to work for a company that care about the community. As well as this, positive stories about internal branding and corporate social responsibility can help to foster a good overall impression of your product or service amongst the general public.
Current Employees and Alumni – Ensuring current and past employees speak positively about a company is fundamental for a business. As previously discussed, there are a variety of factors that affect job satisfaction, and so understanding what motivates employees is essential. Sustaining a strong and successful workplace environment will not only attract the best employees, it will also assist in retaining them, which in turn will reduce employee turnover and improve a company’s bottom line. When an employee does decide to leave a company, ensuring they leave in a way that is positive and respectful is important too, as word of mouth is a powerful thing.
Potential Candidate Relations – Often the recruitment process is a prospective employee’s first introduction to a business and can set the tone for the employment relationship. In a previous article I discussed the importance of having a detailed job description, and this plays a big factor in employer branding also. Communication throughout the employment process is critical in building trust, and when a candidate is selected, having an honest discussion about the role is another way to further the relationship.
FOUR STRATEGIES FOR BUILDING A BETTER AND STRONGER BRAND
Maura McElhone, a content writer for Dublin based recruitment marketing specialists Clinch, has come up with some really interesting pointers for building a better and stronger brand. We've abbreviated the piece here but you can read their full article here.
Realise the Difference between Employer Brand and Consumer Brand
Companies must differentiate between a consumer brand which is the reputation a business has as a maker and distributor of a product or service, and an employer brand, the reputation they have as an employer. SMEs have a disadvantage compared to more established companies when it comes to hiring, as well known corporations can rely on brand awareness to generate interest in their jobs, and so smaller businesses need to depend on a strong employer brand to level the playing field.
Assign Ownership of the Employer Brand
Due to its role in recruitment, employer branding tends to be seen as a job for the HR and marketing departments. Whilst this is true in the utilisation of the strategy, employer branding actually falls to every employee in the company. From the Managing Director to an intern, the actions and attitudes of each individual define and communicate the company employer brand, and so it is the role of the employer to educate and emphasise the importance of the employer brand to the team.
Talk to Employees
Since the quality and consistency of an employer brand depends largely on employees being engaged, it is essential to ensure managers know how employees feel towards the company at all times. Speaking to employees, distributing employee surveys and conducting exit interviews give insight into attitudes towards the company. All of this will offer an insight into the real state of the workplace when it comes to employee engagement, and as a consequence, will inform and allow the organisation to take measures to improve and strengthen their employer brand.
Make Employer Branding an Ongoing Activity
Employer branding shouldn't only start when the hiring process begins and it definitely should not end once a candidate has been selected. Communicating, observing and refining an employer brand is a full-time job, the importance of which should not be underestimated. If a company does not knowingly form their employer brand image, they risk the possibility of the public forming their own conclusions, whether they are good or bad. In the war for talent, it is imperative for businesses to outshine their rivals and brand their company as the place to work.
The contents of this article are necessarily expressed in broad terms and limited to general information rather than detailed analyses or legal advice. Specialist professional advice should always be obtained to address legal and other issues arising in specific contexts.