In an increasingly competitive global marketplace, attracting and retaining the right kind of talent is central to a company’s ability to grow.
A strong employer brand can be a powerful business tool that can connect an organisation’s values, people strategy and HR policies to the corporate brand. If in previous years, employer brand development was synonymous with recruitment advertising, today over 59% of employers say that employer branding represents one of the key components of the organisation’s overall HR strategy.
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There are many definitions for employer branding but they all essentially seek to explain a company’s ability to differentiate itself from competitors through a unique Employee Value Proposition (EVP). A strong EVP will communicate the company values in a way that highlights what makes that workplace unique and attractive to individuals sharing the same values. As employer brands are based on intangible factors such as image, identity, and perception, being able to discover what it is about a brand that creates an emotional inclination and a sense of identification with the company, can prove invaluable to employers.
The best place to start exploring what motivates people to join a particular organisation, why they stay and why they leave is internal feedback. Existing data from employee feedback, employee engagement and culture surveys, focus groups, employee forums, new hire surveys or exit interviews can often paint a good picture of the prospective and existing employees’ experiences.
According to one industry report, the number of companies measuring, analysing and developing strategies based on ‘brand attractiveness’ is on the rise; as many as 39% of businesses are expected to increase investment in employment branding strategy this year.
Nigel Wright has previously teamed up with researchers from Durham Business School to find out what attracted talented managerial and professional employees to particular organisations, and what elements of an employer brand are important to them. To read the full report, please click here.
Current trends and best practice
Candidate equals customer
In order to attract the right people, employers today need to create a positive ‘customer’ experience for candidates throughout the recruitment process. If candidates are treated in a way that makes them feel valued, the employer will benefit in a number of ways. For instance, candidates often spread the word about their experience to their peer group, and the quality of their experience and the opinion they form of an employer will determine whether or not they will recommend a company further.
Building a talent community
Often, candidates who apply for certain roles and are unsuccessful might prove suitable for future positions, which is why it is crucial for employers to build and maintain a talent community. By creating a good impression and maintaining relationships following the recruitment process, businesses can keep a talent bench active, which can only constitute an advantage.
Social and visual revolution
Social media has had a profound effect on employer branding, revolutionising the way we search and apply for jobs, assess our prospective employers, and communicate in the workplace.
If in the past, companies’ claims would rarely get publicly contested, social media now offers a platform for current and prospective employees to voice their own views and paint a more realistic picture of the workplace. Channels such as Facebook, Glassdoor, and Payscale in particular are now useful tools for candidates to research and assess an employer’s offering, and organisations must therefore ensure that recruitment messages align with employee perceptions.
For employers, social media has made it possible to build and maintain a large talent pool faster than ever before. LinkedIn remains recruiters’ preferred social channel for finding, contacting and keeping track of candidates (94%), while Facebook (65%) and Twitter (55%) are used by businesses to showcase the employer brand. However, platforms such as YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram are gaining increased popularity with employers, who now use them to share easily consumable video and infographics and create engagement with candidates. From global giants such as Apple, Google and Intel, to smaller companies such as Innocent and Hubspot, videos are becoming increasingly powerful tools for communicating companies’ organisational culture and the main things they look for in prospective employees.
Furthermore, although social media also has the potential to facilitate internal brand communication, the emphasis on this aspect (building employee engagement, searching for brand ambassadors on social media) is still fairly limited amongst employers.
According to PiB and CRFi, almost a third of employers are now planning to work less with recruitment companies and focus more on social media recruitment. However, although it is important to build a strong digital presence, it is impossible to build an entire employer brand online as undoubtedly, the quality of individual relationships and the value of specialist industry knowledge are still key factors in attracting the best talent. To read our report on social media recruitment, please click here.
Planning for change
Having an adaptable employer branding strategy is becoming increasingly important in today’s competitive landscape. Changing employment trends mean that companies need to stay agile and more aware of the social environment than ever before. As the number of temporary workers has increased dramatically over the past decade, HR teams face the challenge of building a common culture across companies, creating a sense of belonging for all employees.
Furthermore, rapidly evolving technology is constantly reinventing the world of recruitment. With 20% of all recruitment searches now made using a mobile device, investment in responsive design and mobile marketing has increased considerably.