Employer Branding For Dummies Cheat Sheet
Employer branding can be boiled down to two steps: First, make your company a great place to work, and second, make sure everyone knows your company is a great place to work. Of course, it involves more than that. You need to know what employer branding is, why it matters, how to develop your employer value proposition, and some best practices.
What Is Employer Branding?
Employer branding is the process of promoting an organization as a great place to work to the kind of talent required by the organization to meet its business goals and objectives. Employer branding focuses on three key areas:
- Recruitment: Attracting the talent the company needs to achieve its business objectives
- Engagement: Ensuring that employees become dedicated brand advocates and highly motivated performers
- Retention: Encouraging talented individuals to continue working at the company and discouraging them from working for the competition
Employer branding operates on two interrelated fronts:
- Reality: First and foremost, employer branding strives to make the company a great place to work. Achieving this goal requires more than competitive salaries and great benefits. Leading employers create a strong sense of purpose, promote diversity and collaboration, empower people, encourage their creativity, and provide opportunities for learning and career development. The strongest employer brands are built on a consistently positive employment experience.
- Reputation: An exceptional workplace attracts the top talent only if those talented individuals know about it. Marketing is essential to increase awareness, consideration, and preference for your employer brand. Advertising remains important in driving applications, but social media marketing has also become essential in ensuring people engage with and understand what you stand for and offer as an employer.
Making the Case for Employer Branding
Building a strong employer brand can be costly in terms of time and money, so you need to make a solid business case for investing in it. Here are some of the leading reasons for making the investment:
- A stronger employer brand will make it easier for your company to attract the many different kinds of talent it needs to succeed.
- Your employer brand helps you compete more effectively for some of the increasingly hard-to-hire talent groups, such as IT professionals and engineers.
- Successful employer branding enables you to reduce the amount you spend on paid media advertising, because you get more bang for your buck every time you advertise, and you receive more direct applications and referrals.
- A strong employer brand enables you to attract the best talent without necessarily offering the highest salaries or most expensive benefits.
- Employer branding improves retention rates, reducing the cost of re-recruitment, induction, training, and the time required for new employees to become productive.
- A strong employer brand reinforces employee engagement and the associated benefits of higher productivity and customer satisfaction.
How to Develop Your Employer Value Proposition
An employer value proposition (EVP) defines the key qualities you want to be associated with as an employer. The EVP consists of a core positioning statement supported by three to five pillars, which provide a consistent focal point for all your brand-building activities:
- Core positioning: The one key quality you most want to be associated with you as an employer
- Pillars: The three to five qualities that further define the key components of your employment offer
Here are a few suggestions for developing an effective EVP, including the support you need to make it stick:
- Establish your employer brand objectives. Decide what you’re trying to achieve and your relative priorities (for example, external attraction versus internal engagement and retention).
- Do your homework. Find out what current employees and potential candidates think about your company as an employer, to what degree this matches their needs and aspirations, and how you measure up against your leading talent competitors.
- Gather the right people. Invite representatives from key stakeholder groups to participate in the development process, including representatives from HR, talent management and resourcing, marketing and communications, and where possible, line management.
- Conduct an EVP workshop. Run a brainstorming session to explore research findings, gather further insights, and generate a potential list of ingredients for your core positioning statement and pillars.
- Clarify the give and get of the employment deal. What does the company need from employees and what is it willing to offer employees in return? Think beyond financial compensation.
- Balance strength and stretch. An effective EVP reflects current strengths but also incorporates realistic future aspirations.
- Differentiate your company from its competition. Far too many companies take a “me too” approach to employer branding, ending up looking and sounding the same as many other employers. Be distinctive by offering your employees a unique experience and then marketing that experience in a creative way.
Delivering a reliably good employer brand is seldom sufficient to win the war for talent. To become an employer brand leader, you need to progress from being reliably good in most areas to distinctively great in those areas you choose to focus on to distinguish your brand from all others.
Employer Branding Best Practices
As you set out to build a strong employer brand, adhere to the following employer branding best practices:
- Get your leadership team’s understanding and support. Effective employer branding starts at the top. The executive team needs to communicate in words and actions that delivering a positive employment experience and building a strong employer brand reputation are critically important to the success of the business.
- Bridge the gap between HR and marketing. Employer branding requires the expertise and commitment of both HR/recruitment and marketing to succeed. The best employer brands tend to have built the strongest bridges between these functions.
- Conduct a talent needs assessment. Gather input from your organization’s leaders and line managers on the type of talent your business needs to succeed, and always make sure you have this target talent in mind when building your employer brand.
- Balance the give and get of your employment deal. Your employer value proposition (EVP) is a statement that should not only communicate what you offer as an employer but also what you expect from employees in return.
- Deliver on your promises. When you’re in charge of employer branding, part of your job is to ensure that your company delivers on your employer brand promises.
- Build flexibility into the framework. Consistency improves the impact of the employer brand, but there must also be enough flexibility within your brand framework to adapt to different target groups. Flexibility is especially important in global organizations where catering for diversity is of major importance.
- Get current employees onboard first. Before ramping up your external marketing efforts to promote your employer brand, make sure you win the support of your current employees first. Without employee advocacy and support, your marketing efforts are unlikely to succeed.
- Make the most of social media. Work on building a strong social media presence across a range of the most popular channels. And don’t just post content; engage with prospects by responding to their comments and playing an active role in relevant communities.
- Keep an eye on your competition. Find out what other companies are doing to reach out to the same talented prospects you’re trying to attract, but avoid the temptation to simply copy what they’re doing. Look for more creative ways to stand out from the crowd and focus on the qualities that make you special.
- Invest in metrics. Because you have so many ways to promote your employer brand, you need to measure what’s working most and least effectively, so you can optimize the reach and impact of your activities and improve over time.