Employer Brand Strategy: Getting Started and How to Avoid Mistakes
All serious companies understand the importance of branding. When it comes to selling products, smart branding wins the game. When it comes to headhunting and recruiting, a proper employer brand strategy will make the difference between a successful recruiting campaign and a mediocre one.
Fortunately, your competitors might not leverage an effective employer brand strategy that draws enough attention. If that is the case, you need to step up and outshine your direct competition using various intelligent company branding strategies that will boost your brand’s awareness, reputation, and value.
What is an Employer Brand Strategy?
Employer branding is an organization’s ability to promote the main benefits of the workplace, making it tempting and interesting for potential job candidates. Employer branding is also about shaping your employees’ perception of you as a leader.
As the founder of RushEssay.com words it, “An employer branding strategy is the process of marketing your company’s job opportunities to both your employees and future job candidates in the right way while using the right techniques.”
The Benefits of an Employer Brand Strategy
Before we move on to the practical tips, let’s quickly define the benefits of an employer branding strategy. As you will figure out, your employer brand generates multiple effects in every area of your business: from retention and performance to recruiting and profitability.
If you don’t believe me, pay attention to the following statistics:
- Over 95% of job seekers perceive reputation to be the most important factor whenever they seek for a job
- There’s a 28% reduction on employee turnover for companies who have managed to create a solid employer brand reputation
- A solid employer brand strategy reduces your costs of hiring by up to 50%
- More than 60 percent of candidates report an unsatisfying experience during interviews, and more than 72 percent of them feel the need to let other candidates know of their experience.
Now the question is: would it be wise to neglect your employer branding strategy and leave it to chance? If the answer is negative, let’s move on to the practical advice.
1. Establish Specific Goal
Before creating an employer branding strategy, you need to know the exact reason why you’re doing it. Therefore, you need to establish specific and realistic goals. Here are some examples of common employer branding goals:
- Increase your employer brand awareness
- Get more job candidates
- Improve the quality of your job candidates
- Develop or optimize online engagement
- Increase the candidate engagement
- Develop trust among your current candidates
- Improve the traffic of your career site
Once you know what you’re seeking, you should let your managers and employees know what to focus on. Either way, make sure you stay focused on a specific objective.
If the entire team is working on improving the brand’s reputation and value proposition, you’ll be able to achieve your goals twice faster.
2. Define Your Candidate Persona
The candidate persona is very similar to the well-known “buyer persona”. Instead of analyzing the prospective customer, start defining your prospective employee.
What are you looking for in a candidate? You need to figure that out before you start recruiting. Here’s a useful cheat sheet that should help you get started.
If you need different employees for different jobs, you should create two or more customer personas. Either way, ensure that your communication is very personalized. You want your candidates to feel that you’ve taken the time to “do your homework” before addressing them. Be a professional!
3. Define Your Main Value Proposition
Simply put, why would an employee choose you instead of your biggest competitor? Your main value proposition should be a simple yet obvious representation of the benefits that prospective employees can reap if they decide to work with you. Start with three questions:
- Why did your current employees choose your company in the first place?
- Why do they keep working for you?
- What do they enjoy most about your company and about you as an employer?
Generally, there are 5 big benefits categories:
- Salary: compensation system, satisfaction, promotion opportunities, raise opportunities, fairness.
- Benefits: insurance, holidays, time off, education, family, flexibility, retirement.
- Career and growth: the right environment to advance in a career, training at work, consultation, feedback.
- Work environment: personal achievements, recognition, autonomy, work-life balance, responsibilities, challenges.
- Culture: the company’s goals and plans, leaders and managers, colleagues, collaboration, team spirit, support, trust.
Now figure out what you can provide and make it well known in your employer branding strategy.
4. Choose the Right Channels to Promote Your Brand
There are numerous ways to promote your EBS. However, there are a few recommended channels when it comes to attracting employees:
- Social media marketing (organic and paid campaigns)
- Your company’s website
- Word-of-mouth marketing (leverage your employees)
- Workshops and lectures
- Inbound recruiting
- The application itself
You should focus on a few channels until you get enough results to call it worthwhile or worthless. Keep testing your marketing channels until you figure out the best way to promote your campaigns. When you figure it out, start investing 80% of your money in the 20% of your best traffic sources.
5. Measure Your Progress
Start taking advantage of professional business software that helps you track your most important metrics. It’s a bit of investing, yes, but the benefits are definitely worth your money. By leveraging a recruiting tool, you’ll be able to track and measure real-time data and discover the real effectiveness of your marketing channels and recruiting effectiveness. There are plenty of HR solutions nowadays, so just start seeking them!
Moreover, you also need to have a measurement plan. The software’s going to help you get the data, but what are you going to do with it?
The purpose of a measurement plan is to allow you to collect and measure only the data you need to make smart decisions. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself in order to create this plan:
- What is the most relevant data that we can track? These will be your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
- In what way will we collect this data?
- How are we going to measure it, and how frequently will we do it?
- How will we analyze the KPIs in order to seize opportunities and insights?
- How are we going to let our stakeholders know of our findings?
Once again, strategy is key, but you’ll need the right tools. Start seeking the following software:
- A reputable Applicant Tracking Software
- A reputable web analytics tool like Google Analytics that’ll help you track your career website’s performance
- The right business metrics. Whenever you find yourself in doubt, operations and finance shall give you all the business-related data you need.
6. Conduct Audits
Are you fully aware of your company’s reputation among job seekers? What about your employees? How do they feel about working with you?
These are critical details that can make the difference between a mediocre and a successful employer brand reputation. One of the best strategies to acquire these insights is to conduct employer brand audits. There are more ways to do that:
- Start with your employees. Ask them to complete a short survey that addresses relevant questions. Have them rate the experience they’re having at work from one to ten, give them the possibility to add comments, and encourage them to provide solid feedback. To motivate them properly, reward the employees who are responding well to your surveys.
- Use a brand mentioning tool to immediately know when your brand gets mentioned. Every time you get a notification, have a look at what your fans are saying about you.
- Conduct your research on social media channels. Ask around in groups and fan pages about your company’s reputation and act like you’re an employee who is considering a job at your company.
- Read reviews about your company on platforms like Glassdoor.
- Hire a reputation management company.
Employer Branding Mistakes to Avoid
Some of the decisions you make will negatively impact your brand’s reputation. Here are a few mistakes that you should pay attention to:
- Always develop long-term strategies instead of short-term ones. Your brand identity can only be shaped in time, with consistency and perseverance.
- Don’t forget about your brand’s logo and what it represents. Many brands forget to stick with the initial purpose of their brand and with the tag line of their logo.
- Don’t neglect your budgeting. It’s easy to get caught up in various “interesting” strategies that require more funds than you can afford.
- Don’t forget to plan and anticipate your future challenges and setbacks. Brainstorm and prevent bad things from happening.
- Don’t ignore your competitors. They are an incredibly valuable asset to you because you can borrow their working strategies while gaining important clues about what they’re doing wrong.
Branding your company’s culture and your employer’s value proposition is probably the best investment you can make to create something way bigger than yourself. Great companies understand that people are the most important and valuable resource and asset. Show your future employees what they have to gain by joining you, do it wisely, and you’ll manage to reach every objective you set!