Employer Branding 101
So you’ve heard of employer branding. Maybe you’re a CEO of a growing startup, or a recruiter, or maybe you’re a talent acquisition manager coming from a more established company. Whatever the circumstances, you are most likely part of the war for talent. You’ve probably heard that some companies are investing a lot in employer branding – and that’s true. But what on earth is it? And why should you care?
We are living in a time where demand for top talent is higher than the supply. According to the Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2018, frequent job changes are the norm for software developers with over 50% taking a new job in the past 2 years. In the technology sector, many developers will receive interview invitations from recruiters 2 or even 3 times a week! This means that candidates are becoming more picky when it comes to their employment. With candidates having so many opportunities in front of them, how can you compete? The answer lies within employer branding.
In essence, employer branding is the process of presenting your company as a desirable place to work. In this article I’ll outline the various elements of employer branding. These vary from company to company, depending on their size, location, industry, existing reputation etc. But it should give you a good feel for what employer branding is.
Employer Branding can be roughly broken down into the following steps:
1. Know Thyself: Define your EVP
The first step in employer branding is knowing who you are. You may have a good idea of this already but you need to get this down on paper to get clarity. If you aren’t clear on what your offerings are, potential candidates will certainly not be able to understand it either. Define your Employer Value Proposition, get your company mission, vision and values down on paper, and get a good understanding of your culture.
2. Know how you are being perceived
Through research you will come to understand how you are being perceived, both internally and externally. Internal surveys and interviews will help you understand how your current employees perceive you as an employer. Your employees are the number one gatekeepers of your employer brand so their views are incredibly important. If they perceive your offering as an employer differently to you, you may have some work to do to ensure there is consistency.
You should also aim to understand how you are being perceived externally – again surveys and interviews will help with this, along collecting data from employer review sites like Glassdoor or Kununu.
3. Know the Market
Define who your biggest competitors are for each different job function, and benchmark yourself against them in terms of what they are offering, how successful they are with hiring and how they are promoting themselves. Identify areas where you have competitive advantage, and where you could improve and exceed their offerings.
4. Define your Targets
You can now define your ideal candidates. What type of person are you looking to hire? What are their interests? What are they looking for in an employer? What issues or concerns do they have, and how can your company address these? You can create multiple candidate personas for various markets, divided by job function, or location, or seniority etc.
5. Craft your story
By now you should have a pretty clear understanding of your employer brand positioning, your offerings and what makes you different (your unique selling point). Using all of this information, you can now start to develop your employer branding messages. These should be, first and foremost, honest. There’s no benefit to claiming to be something you’re not. They should accurately reflect who you are as an employer, whilst also inspiring and exciting current and potential employees. You can tailor your messaging depending on who your target audience are – some information will be much more interesting to certain groups than others. Use your candidate personas to guide this.
6. Choose your channels
Once you have created your messages, it’s time to choose your media mix. Some messaging will work better in a video or photograph (for example, messages around company culture), whilst other messages will function better as text. You will then need to decide which channels to use for which messages. Bear in mind that candidates from different industries will be found in different places, for example, you will find a lot of tech talent on Stackoverflow, but not many accountants. Do your homework to figure out which messages you should be posting where. Don’t forget about offline channels. Events are particularly useful for employer branding.
And finally ensure that you employer branding messages are being communicated loudly and clearly inside your company, so that your employees are well informed too about what’s happening in your company, and have the vocabulary to communicate it.
7. Measure results
Measuring a brand is not the easiest task, and employer brands are no different. But depending on your goals you can measure certain elements. Before you start communicating your brand messages, set out the KPIs you wish to measure, and the frequency of measurement. Then review regularly so you can track your progress.
8. Adjust as necessary
Then it’s lather, rinse and repeat. You are now in a position to either keep certain elements of what you’re doing, invest more in other elements and forget other parts completely. Like anything, it’s a learning process and requires multiple iterations if you want to keep improving and growing.
If you are interested in developing your employer brand, please feel free to reach out to me for a consultation on firstname.lastname@example.org