Employer brand is an organization’s reputation, both internally and externally. Employer brand answers the question of “Why”—why is a job seeker the right fit for your company, how does what you have to offer fit into their professional and personal goals, does your business represent who you are or simply what you do? It also answers the question of why current employees should promote your organization as a high-quality, great place to work.
Search “Employer Brand” via any online engine, and you will find countless editorials, blogs and the like explaining how to maximize employer brand. Stop! The only non-jargon-filled answer you need, and the single most effective way to maximize employer brand hinges on one commitment:
Run an organization your employees want to be a part of, a place they appreciate, trust and respect.
Employer branding strategies can be helpful in building reputation, but it is all for naught unless your company is built on the foundation of, “This is a place I want to work.”
As leaders in HR and talent acquisition, part of your job involves recruitment marketing. Not only do you have to identify top, available talent, but you need to show them the benefits of becoming an employee. You can highlight all the awards your organization has won, the financial successes, competitive salary and benefits—but you cannot hide company culture.
For example, hiring managers often know within 90 seconds of an interview whether they want to hire the candidate sitting across the table. It’s no different for a newly-hired employee; company culture becomes apparent instantaneously. A strong employer brand hinges on the cultivation of a culture built around trust, respect, honesty and engagement, and it will be exemplified through your very own employees as much, if not more than marketing campaigns. They will feel encouraged to spread the word, promote via social media and in daily conversations, encourage job seekers (active and passive) to apply, and they will stay with your company far longer.
Jason Seiden, CEO of Ajax Workforce Marketing, recently introduced a concept called Workforce Marketing. This is an approach to employee engagement that is more authentic, inclusive and just all-around better at maximizing employer brand. It also discusses how, for employees, promoting their employer is actually great for their careers.
For instance, online professional networks are the fastest growing channel for promoting employer brand—in fact, LinkedIn usage for building employer brand increased 10% from 2012-2013. Many organizations standardize employees’ LinkedIn bios as a strategy to build brand awareness. This can be useful in some cases, but it also breeds monotony and boring external perception. Each team has a different voice, mission and goals—let employees voice that! Don’t wash away personality for a rehearsed elevator pitch.
Engagement and brand-building strategies are always useful, but contrived ploys will only build resentment if they are merely a response to growing dissatisfaction. Market share and competitiveness in the war for talent are directly linked to employer brand, and employer brand is directly tied to engagement and culture. It starts from within, and a place employees want to be a part of will drastically impact all of the above.
For some useful insight into how a truly strategic talent partner can maximize employer brand, check out 9 Out of 10 Dentists Agree – Choose Recruitment Process Outsourcing! And for those still wavering on the importance of employer brand, take a gander at the following statistics:
- In a survey of 3,379 corporate HR leaders across the globe, 83% believe employer brand has a significant impact on ability to hire great talent; the same leaders believe competitors investing in employer brand is their organizations’ top competitive threat (LinkedIn Talent Solutions, 2013 Global Recruiting Trends).
- 2013 research indicates trust in senior leaders has the greatest impact on organizations’ overall level of engagement, suggesting that employer brand is first built internally, from the top down (Quantum Workplace, 2013 Employee Engagement Trends Report).
- Of the more than 100 million people in the U.S. who hold full-time jobs, only 30% are engaged and inspired at work; roughly 20% are actively disengaged (Gallup, State of the American Workplace: Employer Engagement Insights for U.S. Business Leaders).