5 Essentials of Employer Branding
Recruitment is a two-way process. The person in the best position to know whether your company is the right fit is the candidate themself. As a recruiter, you need to be attracting the best possible talent, but also giving the candidates plenty of insight into what it’s going to be like working for you so that they can decide if it’s the place for them.
Many new hires don’t last because the culture of the organisation doesn’t fit with what a person needs or is looking for. It doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with the company. Or with the new hire. It’s just that different people are, well, different!
Your Employer Branding Strategy, supported by an Employer Value Proposition, is key to getting not just the best candidates, but the right candidates. You need to give a good and honest account of who you are, what your values are, what your culture is, and what the working environment is like.
By taking time to do this, you will immediately make yourself stand out as many companies values lack authenticity. Candidates will see straight through it!
5 Essentials of Employer Branding
1. Your Values
What are the core things that drive the business? Is it:
- Being profitable, successful and letting staff share in this;
- Delivering the highest quality and giving your clients high levels of service;
- Creating an exceptional, supportive working environment;
- Nurturing staff and giving development opportunities;
- Providing interesting, challenging work;
- Working locally and being involved in community projects;
- Caring for the environment?
All of these are valid – some complimentary, some not so. Being honest about this will ensure that you attract the right type of candidate who will come in with the right motivations.
2. Your Culture
This has some overlap with your values. A company focusing on high-achievement and growth will likely have a different culture than a nurturing company involved with local projects.
But culture is much more about how the working day feels.
Is your office relaxed or formal? Jeans, smart casual or suited and booted? Fixed or flexible working hours? And how flexible? Home working? Is there an overtime culture? Are people pushed to achieve? How much autonomy are people truly given? Do people see each other socially outside of work? Are there company socials?
It will also cover how professional development happens. How are objectives managed? Is there a mentoring programme? How big are the teams, and the team dynamics?
If you take a sociable, chatty person on and sit them in an office where people have their head in their monitors from the moment they sit down in the morning, they’re unlikely to last.
3. Your Reputation
Employer Branding is closely related to Digital Marketing, Reputation Management, Influencer Marketing – in fact everything that you do to represent your company to the outside world. A good candidate will do their homework. They’ll look your business up on socials, read Google Reviews, check out LinkedIn, read your blogs. They’ll do a general Google of your business and find press releases and videos. They may call friends who work for you or are clients of yours.
Recruitment is a 2-way process, and the values that you put in your vacancy marketing material must be aligned with how you present online, and even more importantly, how other people talk about you online.
Online reputation needs to be earned over a long time. Your recruitment strategy needs to be tied in with your marketing strategy, which all starts from being clear about how you want to represent your company’s values.
4. Vacancy Marketing
The Vacancy Marketing must pull together all of the unique things that make your company Outstanding. It’s not about being all things to all people. You’re looking to attract the right candidates who will thrive in your environment.
Be clear about the company’s values, what makes you unique, and what somebody can expect from working with you. Outline any benefits that other companies may not offer.
Your Vacancy Marketing needs to tie in with what candidates will find out about you online, and this needs to be followed through into the interview process.
5. Recruitment Process
The first real interaction with your company is when they apply for a job or following a direct approach. This first impression will make a big impact.
Reply quickly to direct responses, and with the right tone of voice. Any questions that candidates ask need to be referred to the correct people and answered thoughtfully. The process should be slick and professional, from the scheduling of interviews to their welcome pack and onboarding experience.
This is all relatively simple to achieve, but needs proper thought and planning. It’s surprising how many companies disengage by poor management and communication throughout the screening and the interview process.
4 Steps to Create a High Quality Employer Brand
1. Audit your current statements.
Gather together anything that you currently say about your company. This will help you to baseline how you present to the outside world.
- Mission Statement
- Company Vision
- Business Plan
- Corporate Brochures
- Online statements
- Website Home/About Us pages
- Company LinkedIn Page
- Other Socials
2. Carry out an Employer Branding Audit
Survey your staff and clients to find out how you really come across.
Ask new recruits what their impression was before they came for interview, after interview and after they had worked with you for a few weeks. Does this match with your employer brand as you see it? Did we manage their expectations?
Ask your clients how you are perceived in the industry, and how this relates to their actual experience of working with you.
Find any online reviews or mentions of your company, and see how this aligns.
As well as building these findings into improving your employer value proposition, you should put an action plan together to correct any aspects of your public persona that are out of line.
3. Write an Employer Value Proposition
An Employer Value Proposition is a clear statement of how people will benefit from working at your company. It is this that then feeds into your Employee Branding activities. It’s not about money and benefits. It’s about why working at your organisation is better than working elsewhere: employee recognition, community service, development training, communications, working environment. It describes in its entirety all of the reasons that people choose to stay and work hard.
4. Implement and Audit
Once you have a clear Employer Value Proposition, you now feed this back into the system. Review your website and Socials to make sure that they reflect your value proposition. Make sure that your Marketing and HR departments are on board and are reinforcing key messages in their communications. Present it to your staff and ask them to comment on whether this feels accurate, and authentic. Ask your employees what changes can we implement to align with the proposition and values.
This isn’t a ‘do it once and forget’ exercise. It needs regular review – both of the Employer Brand itself, and of how its being presented.
Finally, Be Honest – Our Motto is “Manage Expectations”
There’s nothing that will guarantee failure in recruitment more than promising a whole set of things that you then fail to deliver on. This is all about finding the right employee, not just the best; somebody who will fit into your team and thrive in your environment. It’s much better to be brutally honest with candidates about where your company is at and the challenges that you face, rather than painting everything in a wonderful light. Your new recruit will find out soon enough, and if they have been oversold, they will at best be dissatisfied, and at worst, leave – with you having to start the recruitment process all over again.