This post is written by our Senior Recruitment Marketing Specialist, Shane Keane.
We’ve touched on it before but it’s always useful to not get lost in the conversation and to remind ourselves what we mean when we talk about employer branding.
Employer branding is the way you go about cutting through the noise of your competition and connecting powerfully and meaningfully with the very best candidates. At its essence employer branding is all about positioning your organisation as a great place to work for the right people, for the right reasons.
There’s a difference between recruitment marketing and regular marketing.
Recently in a webinar of ours, I compared and contrasted recruitment marketing, which is a subset of employer branding, and regular marketing. The reason I did this was to acknowledge that yes, they are similar concepts using similar tools but at their foundations, they have different goals. Traditional marketing has the goal of continuously increasing the number of consumers for an organisation, that’s a success for marketing. If recruitment marketing and employer branding continuously increase the number of candidates, that’s a massive failure.
Firstly, more candidates does not mean more good candidates, and secondly, more candidates just make it a harder and more time-consuming process to get to your new hire. This means that while consumer marketing and recruitment marketing may use similar tools to achieve their aims, the way they use these tools have to be fundamentally different because their respective goals are hugely different.
Your Employer Brand is how your current and future people think and feel about you as an organisation. As you can imagine this is made up of every interaction that these individuals have had with you and your brand and while you can’t control it, you can certainly shape and influence it. But the way you go about shaping and influencing the sentiment that makes up your employer brand shouldn’t be to position yourself as an organisation that appeals to all people; it should be to position yourself so that you are the most appealing organisation to the sort of people who are most likely going to drive your organisation forward.
You might consider the phrase “driving your organisation forward” to be a bit hyperbolic but there is truth to it. This is because your employer brand really does determine the quality of your workforce. A strong employer brand is directly linked to and encourages the levels of engagement, motivation, and retention found within your workforce.
Each of these factors is also strongly linked to higher revenues, profit margins, and overall return on investment in people operations. Furthermore, recruiters who build a strong employer brand are twice as likely to receive responses from the candidates they contact while companies with a strong employer brand can reduce their cost-per-hire by 50%.
Of course, knowing how a strong employer brand can benefit you isn’t enough because the big question is, how do you make employer branding work for you. At Scout Talent when we work with our clients to develop, refine, and activate their employer branding. We do this by using the following 5 Steps to successful employer branding:
- Understand your audience and your brand
- Articulate your unique authentic brand
- Amplify your message to the right people
- Live your EVP and practice what you pitch
- Measure your results and grow your impact
1. Understand your audience and your brand
To understand your audience and your brand it is critical that you begin by identifying what your target audience values most in their job, career, and even their life. Ask yourself how do each of these facets interact with your talent offering. The best way to do this is to carry out a thorough and robust research process to determine how your employees see you. Try to be as objective as possible or better still, work with an external group who can offer an unbiased viewpoint.
Once you’ve carried out this research project use the insights you’ve gained to develop your employer branding themes and the key elements that you can authentically sell your organisation on in order to attract talent.
2. Articulate your unique authentic brand
Having unpacked your employer brand, the next step in the process is all about crafting your core proposition and articulating your unique and authentic proposition.
At this point, it’s common to establish and realise your employer value proposition statement. However, you should also try to establish your key messaging which quickly and powerfully communicates your “why work for us.”
This is a unique and single-line message that you can weave into your talent efforts. If we look at Nike as an example their traditional marketing tagline is “Just do it” while when you enter their careers site the three words that instead greet you in large bold writing are “Move the world”. That’s who they are, that’s what they want for the people who join their organisation and that’s what you’ve got to strive towards when developing and unpacking your employer brand – something that is authentically you and appeals to the individuals who are going to be best suited to grow your organisation.
3. Amplify your message to the right people
Armed with research and a robust employer value proposition it’s now time to amplify your message to the right people. In today’s digital world employer branding is no longer a simple matter of booking advertising space with your local media outlet; it takes a little bit more effort and thought to get your message in front of the right people.
The best place to start is with a solid and actionable plan. Be focused on what you’re going to do, when you’re going to do it, and how you’re going to measure it. This plan could look like developing a robust library of careers based content and directing it at people considering a career with you either by targeting online places that appeal to those individuals or by weaving this content and collateral into your careers page and job descriptions. Broadcasting your employee value proposition is also critical to building a powerful talent pool from which to draw worthy candidates as positions arise, which can be a really effective way of reducing your time to hire.
4. Live your EVP and practice what you pitch
It’s now time to live your employee value proposition and practice what you preach. Organisations that pretend they’re something they’re not or who let aspiration overtake reality will quickly be found out and shown up. A message like this is the last sort of thing you want to appear on sites like Glassdoor.
Employer branding is not a “set and forget” sort of project it has to be nurtured and brought to life with meaningful internal activities that are focused on employee engagement and experience. Otherwise, your culture will shift and naturally become something different then it was when you began all of this work to establish who your organisation is and what it needed most in terms of talent.
5. Measure your results and grow your impact
Finally, as with any project or piece of work, it’s important to measure your results and grow your impact. This stage is crucial to the employer branding journey and will confirm which areas are on track to reflect your employee value proposition or where further efforts may be needed. The best way of doing this is before you begin developing your employer brand and EVP, recording metrics such as:
- The average number of applications received for each type of role.
- Number of quality shortlisted candidates
- Perception of your brand from new starters
- Perception of your brand from departing employees
- Average time to hire
While you can’t change your employer brand over-night, tracking these metrics over time will help you identify how your employer brand is helping you attract and retain quality people to your organisation.
A lot of the information within this podcast was supplied by the incredible Employer Branding Specialists who work within our organisation to help our clients establish and develop their employer brand in order to reach and achieve their talent goals.
If you’d like to see how Scout Talent can support you with your employer brand, reach out to us via email at email@example.com or on 1300 366 573.