"How do I pick where I’d like to work?"
"I’m unhappy with my current situation, but is it worth all the hassle of switching?"
"What if I switch and find out I like the next job even less?"
These are questions every job applicant faces when they’re thinking about finding something new. When searching for a new job, the number one problem people face is not knowing what it will be like to work at a prospective organization.
Searching for the ideal candidate to fit a team’s unique needs can be tricky, and often requires a lot of man-hours of sifting through qualified applicants to narrow options based on their resumes alone. When a few applicants with all the right qualifications present themselves, how do you know which will be a good fit for your overall company, as well as more intimate team cultures? It’s an intense process for both the applicant and the hiring body, requiring some guesswork and a lot of trust on both ends.
So how can a company minimize the guesswork and attract the right applicants for the job?
A strong employer brand.
What is Employer Branding?
It’s important to note the delineation between consumer branding and employer branding. Consumer branding is what is marketed towards the client or customer base about the product or service, while employer branding is the reputation of the work environment, or in other words, what is marketed towards potential candidates! While the two need to be aligned, they are not the same.
Another important aspect to understand about an employer brand is that it is not a mask your company wears... it's a truth that needs to be uncovered. Your employer brand must be an accurate representation of your organization, not a fairytale version.
Establishing an employer brand allows the company to reach its ideal audience by giving a behind-the-scenes look at what an employee might do or experience on a daily basis, should they get a job with that company.
Why is Employer Branding important?
Every company has an employer brand whether they’re aware of it or not. Reviews by current or previous employees, company social media presence, and word-of-mouth recommendations all play into the existing employer brand. Taking control of the narrative allows the company to show the positive aspects of working with them and shine a light on what is important to them. Why does all of this matter? Recent studies have shown employer branding has a major impact on overall company numbers including retention, cost-per-hire, and more. Let’s dive into some of the biggest areas of impact by looking at the data:
Better applicantsWith the ‘Great Resignation’ still being a very present force in a post-Covid world, the shifting sands of the workforce have been a stage for new and exciting work-reform movement. People are actively seeking out employment where they find meaning and have a better situation for themselves as well as their families. A staggering 86 % of job seekers seek out the employer brand or employee reviews on places like LinkedIn, and Indeed before considering applying. Job candidates trust employees 3x more than the company itself to provide honest information about what the work environment is really like. Once reviews are seen, 76% of job-seekers are more likely to apply to a company that actively manages their employer brand.
Faster hiring, and more of it!Studies show that a strong employer brand saves time by attracting 50% more qualified candidates, which in turn leads to a 1-2x faster hiring time. Additionally, companies with a strong employer brand have been shown to grow at a rate of 20% higher than their counterparts, and have a reduced employee turnover by up to 28%. These metrics culminate in a powerful 50% reduction in cost-per-hire.
Find employees who align with company valuesHighlighting the company mission and values is a major part of employer branding. This transparency of meaning allows candidates to see what the organization is about and whether that translates to somewhere they would be happy spending their time. Studies show 30% of employees have left a job within the first 90 days of employment. The respondents indicated reasoning for early departure often fit into one of three categories with 43% saying their job duties were not as they anticipated, 34% having a bad experience at the company, and 32% stating a misalignment of values with the company. With salaries, training cost, and onboarding manhours coming into play, early turnover can be avoided by simply being transparent with potential new hires about what to expect from their position and the company as a whole.
How is an employer brand established?
Once it’s decided that taking control of the company’s employer brand is necessary, what are the steps that need to be taken? As previously mentioned, an employer brand is different than a consumer brand, and while they need to be complementary to each other and align with major views, there should be two completely independent brands at work. It’s easy to uncover your employer brand with these steps:
1. Competitor Analysis
Look to the competition. By looking at what others are saying about their own employer brand and the industry at large, it’s easy to see what points, assets, or ideas may want to emulate or change within your own presentation. Make a list of what features or value propositions you may have that give you a competitive edge over the competition.
2. Qualitative Data
This equates to holding up a mirror to see what’s going on with your employer brand. The preexisting employer brand is there, it just needs to be uncovered. Checking what reviews might exist of your company online, hosting focus groups with current employees, or even taking surveys are all great ways of finding out what your existing employer brand might be. Sometimes taking a close look at what is lacking can be a hard pill to swallow, but change can only be made once the reality is acknowledged and accepted.
It’s extremely valuable at this point to have a third-party entity to do this data collection because oftentimes people don’t feel fully comfortable divulging their true thoughts about a company they’re currently working for, especially if those thoughts aren’t fully positive. Having an outside source collect this data helps glean a more accurate result from the research and gives the company more for their investment.
3. Quantitative Data
How and where will the new employer brand be presented? What metrics for success will be used? Taking a close look at the plan for how the company needs to present its new identity allows for a thorough preparation for the launch. Most importantly, telling current employees about the direction you’re headed while encouraging open and honest feedback allows the current workforce to feel included and valued in the new endeavor, which helps create a more positive employee experience!
4. Creative Execution
Once all the necessary data is collected and the plan is drawn out, creative execution can be developed. This includes any marketing materials, schedules, and additional assets you may want to create specifically for your employer brand! Humanizing the workplace by showing pictures of current employees, what day-to-day activities look like, and what new employees can look forward to, all help cultivate a clear picture to the prospective employees for what they can expect. Highlighting your mission and values helps to pinpoint your audience to those who align with the company values as well.
Remembering to define the employer brand and execute with purpose ensures that the right message is out there for job hunters. For a closer look at the steps to uncover the employer brand, check out this additional blog post and download our free Employer Branding guide.