What Is Employer Branding and Is It Hurting Your Company?

“Would you recommend this company to a friend?”

Employer branding is the key to attracting today’s top talent. Between social media and online profiles, today’s job seekers research company reviews and the brand’s digital footprint before accepting an offer, and sometimes even before accepting an interview. Having a solid employer brand will alleviate any hesitancy or pushback from potential candidates. However, employer branding goes beyond the scope of social media updates and the ‘team page’ of a website. If your employer branding is weak, your company could suffer and be less likely to attract top-tier talent. Here is why you should be focused on employer branding to help push your company forward.

What is Employer Branding?

Employer branding, also referred to as HR branding, refers to the company’s reputation as an employer and consists of strategies that promote your company to potential employees. Your brand represents how your company is perceived both internally and externally. It serves as a marketing tool for new recruits.

Employer branding is about your ability to separate yourself from the competition through a unique Employee Value Proposition (EVP). A strong EVP communicates to potential employees your company’s unique values and showcases your culture to individuals who share the same values as you. Strong employer brands promote a positive image and a clear identity, leading them to be perceived well. Those who share your values should be able to form an emotional connection and identify with your brand.

Why is Employer Branding Important?

Employer branding defines how your company is perceived throughout the world. Your reputation impacts your recruitment efforts, client prospects, business partnerships, vendor selections, and potential acquisitions. It can also affect your ability to attract top talent; attracting high-caliber employees can drive innovation, efficiency, and increase profits. In this article we will focus on how employer branding can benefit (or harm) your internal hiring and recruitment efforts.

If a company is well-respected by its employees and known for its good business traits, then it is likely that the company will have a strong employer brand. Just take it from Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon.com, a company that has succeeded in part due to smart marketing and employer branding.

“Your brand is what people say about you when you leave the room.”

Bezos, and many other employers, know that it is inevitable for employees to talk about their fearless leader. However, what they are saying matters. If they continually gossip about poor leadership, lackluster morals and finger pointing, it is likely that word will get around about your employer, and the company will be tainted as a result. This negative perception can largely influence recruiting efforts and lower the number of talented candidates interested in your company. According to LinkedIn’s 2015 Global Recruiting Trends Report, more than half of applicants can be lost by negative employer branding.

Now that you know the answer to “what is employer branding?” you’re ready to craft your own. So, where to start?

Employer Branding Best Practices

“More than half of applicants can be lost by negative employer branding.”

Monitor Company Reviews

You’ve got a “rep” to protect.

Reviews are the foundation of an employer brand. Unhappy employees equal bad reviews, resulting in a negative perception. Happy employees post positive reviews, resulting in a positive perception. It’s as simple as that. According to Glassdoor, 69% of candidates will decline an offer if the company has a bad reputation, “even if they were unemployed.” Glassdoor is the number one website for monitoring this activity, in addition to Indeed.com, LinkedIn, and Monster.com. Keep an eye on the conversations surrounding your company. Address the bad by responding with a plan of action to remedy the problem, and respond with gratitude to positive reinforcement.

Quick tip: The average Glassdoor company rating is a 3.2%. Where does your company stand?

According to Glassdoor, 69% of candidates will decline an offer if the company has a bad reputation,  even if they were unemployed. To ensure your employer brand continues to stay fresh, conduct internal surveys within the company to learn what employees think could use improvement. Listening and following through with requests will  speak volumes to your organization.

People want to work for a fun-loving, successful company. Employees are motivated by impactful jobs, friendly coworkers, great benefits, and perks. Companies with killer employer branding strategies know the importance of being transparent with current and prospective employees. As you recruit candidates, use your “About Us” section as a “tell-all” into your company. Not only explain what your company does, but explain your story, your mission, and your cause. The better the story, the more likely candidates will want to work for your company.

Market the Benefits

In addition to your mission and goals, share the good stuff; your company perks. Fun, engaging benefits and perks are a sure fire way to boost a positive employer brand, and it is important they be shared on every platform possible, even within your job descriptions. To name a few, here are some trending perks:

  • PTO time and Flex schedules.
  • Education reimbursement.
  • Paid gym memberships.
  • Summer Fridays.
  • Casual dress.
  • Friday Lunches.

Also, share, share, and share some more about your company culture. Company culture continues to rank as the highest motivating factor for employees, even higher than pay. Some ideas include:

  • Photos from holiday parties, summer barbecues, happy hours, and other company events.
  • Create fun, engaging videos of employees collaborating on projects, helping others and working hard.
  • Share company involvement in philanthropy. For example, Profiles supports the American Heart Association.
  • Discuss major projects that your company is working on and its subsequent successes, such as the acquisition of a new, high-profile client.

Share these highlights at a frequent cadence.

Gather Employee Testimonials

When candidates are looking at a company, they want to know why it is so great. Once hired, essentially, employees are large representations of a company’s employer brand. Employee testimonials can go a long way. Candidates want to hear from current employees to find out if this company is the right fit for them. In these testimonials, several questions should be answered, including:

  • What makes the company so exciting?
  • What drives employees to work hard every day?
  • How does the company beat out the competition?
  • Does this company have a work hard, play hard attitude? How so?
  • How do employees interact with each other to make the company stronger?

While some of these testimonials can be written, it is a great idea to get video of employees stating what they love about the company. It makes these testimonials realistic and credible, and candidates can get an idea of how these employees act, what they wear and how they interact with one another. Post these videos on your company website, but also add them to social media sites every couple of weeks to help curious candidates find them.

Knowing what employer branding is and how to build your employer brand will help you optimize the ROI on your employees. Attracting and hiring employees that connect with your brand and culture is the key to an engaging and efficient workplace.

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