Keep Pace with Talent Market Trends for Successful Employer Branding
Tracking the success of your own recruitment marketing activities and employer brand equity and performance is important, but keeping your employer brand strong over the longer term also requires that you keep an eye on the wider talent market to ensure you keep pace with emerging trends.
Companies tend to take a good look at their immediate talent competitors when they develop their EVP, but they often fail to take a similarly systematic approach to monitoring the competitive environment on an ongoing basis. Given the current pace of change, companies are updating their EVPs, careers sites, and communication strategies on a far more regular basis.
Here are four ways you can maintain a competitive edge in the talent market:
- Monitor the top employers. Universum and several other organizations produce free annual rankings of the most attractive employers in many markets, based on surveys conducted among students and professionals. This provides the opportunity for you to monitor your standing relative to the key talent competitors in your industry and more generally (because for many positions, the industry is less relevant than the overall status and appeal of the employer).
Pay particular attention to the employers who’ve significantly increased their position in the rankings and those that have dropped in the rankings. Then take a look at what they may have done or failed to do to achieve a higher ranking.
- Keep an eye out for evolving best practices. Bersin by Deloitte, ERE Media, LinkedIn, PotentialPark, and Universum all produce regular reports on the latest state of best practice in talent management and employer branding. You should also consider attending some of the conferences held on these subjects, during which leading employers make presentations on some of the new tools and techniques they’ve been introducing. Three of the leading conferences in this space are LinkedIn’s annual Talent Connect conference, Glassdoor’s annual Employer Brand Summit, and HR Tech. All three pull in big-name employers and delegates from around the world to focus on the latest trends. If your budget can’t extend to attending in person, you can watch many of these events live from the comfort of your own office or home.
- Set up competitor activity alerts. Although you’re probably already overwhelmed by the amount of email you receive, consider setting up Google Alerts to keep you posted whenever one of your key talent competitors does something new or different as part of its recruitment and employer branding strategy. Use the name of each talent competitor and each company you’ve identified as leading talent innovator along with key phrases, such as employer brand or career site, to have Google notify you whenever these companies change what they’re doing to attract talent or strengthen their employer brand.
- Update your EVP and employer brand strategy. Companies used to stick with the same EVP for at least five years, and sometimes as long as ten years, supported by very similar advertising campaigns. Now companies typically update and refresh their EVPs every two to three years. This doesn’t necessarily require a complete overhaul. The more typical pattern is to retain a number of core EVP pillars as anchor points for the employer brand over the long term — pillars that reflect the EVP attributes closely aligned with key cultural characteristics or organizational values. These long-term attributes can then be supplemented with more short- to medium-term attributes based on changes in market conditions and talent strategy (for example, shifting from a buy to build approach to talent acquisition based on increasingly limited and, therefore, expensive-to-hire talent pools).
In terms of communication strategy, there is a very definite shift away from uniform, long-term, advertising-concept-led approaches to more agile, data-led content marketing. This newer type of marketing requires the implementation of the kind of short- and long-term metrics.
Given the increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world of talent, employer branding is becoming more like a jazz band than a marching band. The dynamic nature of talent acquisition has made it much more challenging, but it also makes employer branding a wonderfully diverse, creative, and stimulating occupation to pursue. Enjoy!