Employer brand has grown into much more than how customers and employees view an organization; it has become a business imperative that directly impacts the bottom line. In fact, 83% of nearly 4,000 corporate HR leaders across the globe believe employer brand has a significant impact on their ability to hire quality talent.

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A strong employer brand is comprised of many components—such as company culture, candidate perception/experience and employee engagement, to name a few—and can include efforts seemingly as simply as supporting a worthy public cause. In fact, research shows 72% of consumers would recommend or buy from a brand that supports a good cause over one that does not.

For example, January is National Blood Donor Month (NBDM), designated to encourage individuals to donate during the winter months when blood is often in short supply due to holidays, travel, common illness and severe weather. Dunkin’ Donuts has partnered with American Red Cross to promote NBDM, highlighting one way organizations can strengthen brand awareness while simultaneously supporting a quality cause.

This week’s edition of Talent Acquisition Fast Facts, highlighting employer branding’s impact on the bottom line, and how organizations are best building and measuring brand reputation:

In 2006, Bernard Hodes Global Network conducted a global employer branding study; at the time, only 13% of surveyed employers believed their brand was “calibrated to overall company performance.” This has changed drastically, as (noted in the intro) 83% of corporate HR leaders today believe strong employer brand is vital to hiring the best talent.

  • The same surveyed leaders believe competitors investing in employer brand is their organizations’ top competitive threat in 2014.

A recent LinkedIn study of 2,250 corporate recruiters in the U.S. found that cost-per-hire is more than two times lower for companies with strong employer brands; according to the same study, organizations with strong employer brand have 28% lower turnover rates as opposed to weak employer brands.

However, according to a 2013 Gallup study of American workplaces, just 41% of employees feel they understand what their company stands for, or what makes their employer’s brand different or unique from competition.

According to Talent Management Headquarters, 61% of job seekers and professionals have a better impression of an organization’s brand if they’ve had a positive mobile experience; interestingly, 62% of recruiters believe mobile recruiting is the top recruiting trend for 2014.

There is ample content about the importance of building a strong employer brand, but how are organizations measuring the often self-described “strength” of their employer brand?

According to the aforementioned Bernard Hodes Global Networks study, which features responses from more than 400 HR, Marketing and Communications professionals, the most-cited metrics for measuring the strength of employer brand include:

  • Employee engagement (56% of responding organizations indicate leveraging this metric)

  • Customer satisfaction / customer retention (41%)

  • Employee retention rates (40%)

  • Brand awareness studies (36%)

  • New-hire surveys and studies (36%)

Also according to this study, the metrics/areas that have improved the most due to effective employer branding strategies include:

  • Employee engagement (35% of responding organizations have experienced improvements)

  • Brand awareness / perception (32%)

  • Number of applicants / resumes received (30%)

  • Customer satisfaction / retention (27%)

  • Traffic to corporate careers website (21)%

  • Exposure to recruitment messages (21%)

Lastly, these same organizations, with self-described “strong employer brands,” are achieving the most success communicating employer brand messages and raising brand awareness via the following platforms:

  • Career website (78% of responding organizations indicate using these to communicate brand)

  • Job boards and job descriptions (76%)

  • Recruiters and staffing specialists (66%)

  • Social media channels (65%)

  • Employee referral programs (64%)

  • Campus events and programs (64%)

How do you assess the effectiveness of your employer brand—growth/expansion of business or the workforce, increases in the number of applicants, website traffic or any of the others listed above? Do you believe building and promoting employer brand should start internally with current employees or externally with job seekers, applicants and the customer based?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on all things employer brand!