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Candidates have long been aware that potential new employers will look at their social media profiles and examine their online lives prior to a job interview, but employers should be aware that the reverse is also true. Before the advent of the internet and social media it wasn’t always straightforward to scope out a new employer, but now the opportunities abound, and candidates are making the most of them.
Job applicants expect to get a feeling for a company’s true culture (not just what is projected in corporate values and mission statements), chances for career progression and collegial atmosphere. Websites like Glassdoor also give candidates an opportunity to hear the honest truth about working for your company from current and former employees. Awareness of this phenomenon has led many companies to adopt an employer branding strategy in order to compete better in the employment market and to increase employee retention and engagement.
But what is your employer brand? Essentially, your employer brand is the perception of your company held by past, current and potential future employees. So whether you consciously work on it or not, all companies have an employer brand. When thinking about the brand you want to present to job applicants, you’ll obviously want to portray your company in the best possible light. Just as you will have spent time creating a compelling brand story about your products or services, the idea here is to develop a strong employer brand to attract and retain talented employees.
So hopefully we’ve convinced you as to why you should implement an employer branding strategy. Now we’d like to share some helpful advice as to how to go about that. Before we begin, you should be aware that whilst there are actions you can take to enhance your employer brand, there will always be certain aspects which are out of your control, as they concern employees’ and potential future employees’ perceptions of your company. The good news is that these perceptions will ultimately be impacted by the work you do to cultivate your employer brand.
The first logical step in implementing an employer branding strategy is to take the time to understand your existing employer brand through research. This can involve interviewing employees to understand their attitudes and behaviour – you could use a staff attitude survey or conduct focus groups. You should also conduct research externally by looking at your social media profiles and internet presence, and you could consider working with firms that conduct reputation monitoring.
Your EVP describes what you stand for, require, and offer as an employer. This should clearly convey to potential candidates why they would want to become a member of your team. Your EVP should be present at every step during the hiring process, but it needs to be especially well communicated on your website, as this is where candidates come to research your brand.
Establishing what makes your company stand out from the competition should form an important part of your brand story. Here you’ll want to reference your organisation’s mission statement, values, social responsibilities and culture. Determining your company’s unique offering feeds into your employer branding strategy by outlining why a team member would choose to join or stay with your company over a competitor.
This is a long-term goal rather than a short-term fix, but your company culture will always influence your employer brand. You should therefore make sure your hiring strategy fosters a diverse and inclusive company culture. However, it doesn’t stop there, as new hires need to feel welcomed and that their viewpoints are respected, so your diversity and inclusivity strategy needs to be an ongoing process, rather than simply a tick box exercise.
Research has shown that people consistently value peer recommendations over direct communications from businesses. You can use this to your advantage by encouraging current employees to become ambassadors for your company, both offline and online. If you can incite employees to share their own experiences of working for your company in writing, photographs or videos, it can have a significantly positive impact on your employer brand.
Are you wondering about the role of employer branding in your hiring strategy? Please feel free to reach out to me directly to talk about how this could assist with your recruitment needs.