What you promise to your employees ought to fall in line with your company’s core beliefs. Your company’s employer brand should align strongly with your corporate brand.
Job seekers of today are increasingly aware of companies with a bad reputation or negative comments from former employees. While many organizations have unfortunately experienced lay-offs, restructuring, and downsized HR departments, we’re finally seeing a ramp-up of hiring efforts. The problem is: with fewer HR resources and more applicants than ever in the workplace, how do you find the right candidate in line with what you’re looking for?
Beyond recruiting, employer brand is fundamental to creating a strong company culture, and even reduces marketing costs. Employees who work in stronger, clearer brands are generally more enthusiastic and motivated.
So, what exactly is employer brand?
Employer brand answers the questions, “why should I work here instead of at another company?” and “what’s in it for me?”. It’s your reputation as an employer both outside and inside the organization. Your employer brand sets the stage for attracting, hiring, and retaining top talent. It inspires your team members to become raving fans and ambassadors for your company. Or the opposite—employees spreading grudges may lead to negative press coverage and PR nightmares.
You might not know this, but your employer brand is fundamental to achieving significant business objectives. It’s there for you to let fall by the wayside or to manage proactively.
Why it matters now, more than ever
The world of work continues to change, and your company culture has likely evolved in the past several months.
Your employer brand starts with how you treat your team and their day to day experiences at your company. We’ve learned through COVID-19 that how you take care of your existing team—supporting their mental health and wellness—has greater importance than ever.
Most organizations have had to figure out specific approaches to work-life integration, particularly arrangements for team members juggling work and parenting. What boundaries, if any, have you encouraged your team to set? Have you changed how performance is measured? Does communication flow differently in your workplace?
Right now is a great time to revisit your employer brand, both for your existing and future team. More job seekers in the market mean more eyeballs and attention on your employer brand. Whether you’re actively hiring or not, this is an opportunity to build your talent community and keep your existing team members engaged, productive, and loyal.
Top tips on activating your employer brand
Clear values, especially on your career site
When exploring new career opportunities, candidates are actively researching your company. It’s crucial to establish your values, mission, and vision as well as what makes working at your company unique. This attracts aligned individuals, also repelling those who don’t identify with your company.
More importantly, check to see if your existing employees align with your values. After all, they’re the ones who create and live the culture within. Right now is a great time to revisit your job ad templates and other places where future talent might congregate online.
Constant, regular, and transparent communication from leadership
Does your employer brand reflect how your team members perceive your company? They should understand where the company is going and their individual contributions to get it there. Conduct regular surveys to get a pulse on the value the organization provides them or how communication and transparency can be improved.
Look for opportunities to repeat yourself and reinforce those core ideas! The more you can weave your mission, vision, values, and objectives into your employees’ daily lives, the better. In turn, this gives your team members the clarity and confidence they need to share key messaging externally with friends, family, prospective employees, and even customers.
Positive, consistent candidate experience and onboarding
Every communication touchpoint with your employees and potential candidates affects the aggregate reputation of your employer brand. Whether they get a job offer from you or not, you want every single person who goes through your recruitment process to become a raving fan.
While it may sound counterintuitive, you want fewer, high quality, right-fit candidates to make it through to your final stages. This saves your team time, energy, and money in the case of hiring unaligned team members who, perhaps six months in, decide that this isn’t the place for them. Use every touchpoint throughout the recruitment and onboarding process as an opportunity to reinforce what your company stands for.
Your company’s credibility is on the line. The influx of employer review websites like Glassdoor and Indeed means that when candidates are treated poorly in the interview process, they’re able to write publicly about these situations.
Many companies drastically underestimate the impact of formal onboarding systems to integrate and kickstart employee success. When done correctly, onboarding can create more productive and less stressful new employees, reducing employee turnover.
Timely revisits of HR policies
Is it time to review your HR policies? These rules need to reflect the changing workforce trends, respect conditions unique to your employees, and evolve with organizational goals. Keep a lookout for any outdated policies, and make sure to check in with the leadership team at regular intervals. These may include sick leave, anti-discrimination training, maternity leave, and bonus structure policies.
Who’s activating their employer brand well?
Your employer brand only works well if it’s authentic. Activating employer brand starts with the lived experiences of your employees on a day-to-day basis. Let’s take a look at some great examples:
Thinkific has an army of brand ambassadors who regularly share their passion for the work they’re doing on external platforms. Visit their employees’ personal LinkedIn profiles to see their enthusiasm around recent funding rounds, their onboarding process, or how much they love the job. You can see those individual employees are invested in the company’s interest, celebrating milestones and achievements, or promoting their new vacant positions.
Many employers are using webinars, podcasts, and virtual community events to activate their employer brands in this time of rapid change and uncertainty. These initiatives help build transparency and trust while leveraging awareness and recognition. Salesforce and Hubspot are doing this well—check out their upcoming events pages for ideas for your own!
Conduct a quick audit of your employer brand
For some additional ideas and an easy temperature check, this comprehensive checklist might be helpful:
- Does your organization have an employee referral program?
- Do your team members have key messaging and brand guidelines around how to communicate their passion externally?
- Have you recently conducted an employee engagement survey? Do you know what lights your team up?
- Is your team encouraged to share reviews and compelling stories on sites like Glassdoor and on social?
- Can you reward or gamify your employee ambassador program?
- Do you have a blog or employee spotlight program where team members can talk about their authentic experiences working at your company? Focus on human elements and on the impact they get to have.
- Check-in with your leadership team to see how they’re amplifying stories, both internally and externally.
When you develop your employer brand strategy, you won’t know exactly what will resonate with your team members or show the greatest ROI. Establish benchmarks early on (cost of hire, time to hire, turnover rate, etc.) to measure your results, then be prepared to respond to findings in an agile manner.
Reaching employer of choice status will help you attract, hire, and retain the very best talent. You’ll feel a deep sense of unified pride across the organization, get better organizational results, and have more fun celebrating your achievements along the way.
Nicole is CEO & Founder of Beacon HR, where she leads a team of recruitment and retention strategists who help businesses find and nurture world-class, high-performing teams. She is the Recruitment Chair of the Entrepreneurs Organization Accelerator Program, mentor through Forum for Women Entrepreneurs, and VP, People for Women In Mining BC. Outside of work, she’s a West Coaster through and through. You’ll find her skiing in the Winter, on the water in the Summer, and spending lots of time outside!
About Beacon HR
Beacon HR helps businesses thrive in challenging climates through smart, modern HR practices. Their dedicated team of recruitment and retention strategists is able to scale up or down as needed, plugging into existing company infrastructure seamlessly.