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5 months ago by Mark Scully

Why Investing in Employer Branding is Now More Important Than Ever

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Imagine if top talent found its way to you? Rather than you having to go and find it.

This needn’t be the stuff of daydream... if you build your employer brand.

Think of all the time and money you would save if you had a steady stream of enquiries from highly qualified individuals who wanted to work at your company. The interest these individuals would show in your organisation would make them ideal candidates and definitely the type of people you want working for you.

What is an employer brand?

Your employer brand would work similarly to the way your corporate brand does.

The role of your corporate brand is to offer a unique value proposition to your customers. You are probably not the only business offering your product or service, but your brand differentiates you. It tells your customers something about your values and culture as an organisation which is uniquely you.

In the same way, your employer brand (which is sometimes also called your talent brand or your people brand) is about creating a promise for your potential employees. This promise (or value proposition) includes what working for your company would be like, what your company stands for and the experience you offer to your team members that isn’t replicated by any other organisation.

Brands play a huge role in our daily lives. In 2018, David Fowler wrote about the importance of brands on the Ogilvy blog. He says, “Brands are an essential reference point of our world. They’re not just beer and cars. They’re the markers we use to make sense of life.”

Anyone who has participated in the Irish tea debate over Barry’s or Lyons will know immediately what he means.

Your employer brand is how you differentiate

Economies move through different cycles.

As a country, we’re currently dealing with higher unemployment figures than we have for years due to the lockdown restrictions. Some estimates put Ireland’s unemployment rate at 26% for May (that’s the last month we have available data for).

However, that doesn’t mean that companies who are employing simply have their pick of candidates. We recently shared details on why the demand for talent is as strong as ever during Covid-19.

Even in the present economic climate, you’re most likely not the only company in your industry that is hiring.

Job-seekers are pragmatic. They understand that the exchange they make with employers is that they provide their talents and time for a salary and benefits.

However, the world of work has undergone significant changes in the last few years and the transformation is by no means over.

People are paying more attention to the culture an organisation has, how they treat their staff and customers and their environmental credentials than just the salary on offer.

Your employer brand will convey these important points to potential job-seekers.

Showcasing why your organisation is a great place to work will help you attract top talent. The high quality candidates that every company wants on their own team are aware of the importance of aligning their work with their values. It’s the key to a healthier life, both physically and mentally.

If your employer brand highlights that your company truly places people first, you’ll add a powerful boost to your recruitment efforts. Your hiring budget will work harder for you. And you’ll do wonders for your employee retention rate too.

How to build your employer brand in five steps

Firstly, you need to understand that a perception exists about your company in the minds of job-seekers whether you’re actively building an employer brand or not.

Conducting an audit to figure out what this perception is ensures that you start building your employer brand from a place of knowledge. A few ideas of how you can run this audit include interviewing current and past employees, creating a survey online and using social listening tools.

Once you have this information, follow these steps:

  1. Identify your company’s values - this task can take longer than you think it will. You and your team need to think deeply about what your company stands for. Your company’s values are not the same as the few sentences you have written down for your mission statement. Your values represent what you’re prepared to fight for even when things become really uncomfortable. This interview with Rand Fishkin, former founder of Moz and now of Sparktoro, about TAGFEE provides a revealing and in-depth look at what committing to your company’s values and building a workplace culture really means. (If you’re confused about what TAGFEE means, rest assured that all will be revealed in the interview.)
     
  2. Define your employer brand proposition - your corporate brand messaging statement could come in handy here. Your employer brand proposition will include aspects of what makes your company great alongside why your organisation is such a good place to work. There should be complete alignment between your corporate brand and your employer brand proposition to communicate effectively with your potential candidates.
     
  3. Use marketing tactics to recruit - this means knowing who your employee persona is and communicating effectively with them. The content marketers and copywriters on your team will be extremely helpful to you in this regard. Begin by answering the questions your candidate pool could have of working for your company and you’ll already be well on your way to building an attractive employee brand.
     
  4. Invite your current employees to be part of the message - you have great employee advocates at your fingertips in the form of your current team members. People already working for your company have a high credibility factor when speaking about what makes your organisation different. Ask your current employees to speak to their friends and networks about job opportunities at your organisation. Invite them to post regularly on their LinkedIn profile about positive developments within your company.
     
  5. Stay consistent with your messaging - brands, of any kind, are not built by one marketing campaign or one event. Instead, they are built over time. While your HR team will take the lead on managing your company’s employer brand, the responsibility for building this brand is on every team member’s shoulders. Regularly update your team on the content calendar that is in place to promote your brand. Create content and supply photos and videos that your team members can use on their own profiles to support your HR team’s efforts.


Play the long game with your employee brand

It’s never too early or too late to build a strong employee brand.

However, it’s worth keeping in mind that it’ll take time for your employee brand to cut through the noise that your potential candidates are confronted with daily.

It’s helpful to view your employee brand strategy as a medium to long-term one. It’ll take time to get it off of the ground. That said, once you do you’ll have a brand out in the marketplace that does a big job for you without you having to constantly run marketing campaigns.

The type of candidates that help grow companies will naturally gravitate towards your organisation. The process of identifying which candidates will be ideal hires will be more streamlined too, since potential employees will already have an idea of what your company is all about and how they could fit into your team.

The result will be happy employees and a happy workplace? That sounds like a win/win scenario for everyone!

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