Job seekers now use all the digital and social tools at their disposal to research potential employers. They still look for jobs but increasingly are trying to find out what it’s like to work for the company that are advertising or one that they may be targeting. They want to find out the good and the bad of the employee experience, not just what employers say they are like to work for but also what employees and other job seekers say about their experiences. Which means that any recruiter needs to be very aware of their employer brand.
When we talk about personal and corporate brand we often say that it’s what people say about you when you’re not there, and employer brand is no different. It’s not about a logo, a canteen or a bonus scheme, but about a company’s reputation as a place to work. The modern in-house recruiter needs to know exactly what their brand is, as the best brands will attract the best talent whilst those with ill-defined or poor brands could struggle to hire the people they need.
So what makes an employer brand? Strictly speaking there are four integral parts to it – a compelling employee value proposition (EVP), culture, employee opinions, candidate perceptions – and each one is a vital and interlocking component.
Employee Value Proposition – Why should someone work for you? Why do your people join and stay? Many businesses make assumptions about these questions but never find out the reasons. It may be the compensation package, rewards and wellbeing programme, opportunity to develop new skills, potential for promotion, alignment with corporate vision and values, caliber of colleagues or belief in the products or service. In all likelihood it’s a mix of those things and more. Good recruitment starts with knowing what you have to offer, and there’s no better way to find out than asking your existing employees what it is that matters most and motivates them.
Culture – An integral part of the EVP will be the culture, often described as the glue that binds an organisation together. It’s a mix of collective behaviours and assumptions that influence the way people think and feel about the business and is influenced by many different factors – communication, rewards and values being three of the most important. It is often rewards that drive behaviours (think of a heavily targeted sales environment) whilst open and clear communication is vital for people to understand what they are a part of, where the business is heading and helps encourage them make incremental effort.
Employees – Most potential job seekers will gain an insight into your employer brand through your employees. Recent research showed that almost 90% of employees use at least one social network and half of them talk about work on them. It’s vital to have to have your employees act as ambassadors and brand advocates as they will attract new people in to the organisation – most job seekers will be swayed by what they hear from people already working there. You need to enable and encourage them to share your story.
Candidates – One of the many benefits of giving a good candidate experience is that it creates a positive message in the marketplace. People who have applied but been unsuccessful have a key role to play in spreading the employer brand, as they talk online of their experiences. Poorly prepared interviewers, disorganised hiring managers or lack of meaningful feedback can all lead to negative impressions of what your business could be like as en employer.
Why does an employer brand matter so much? Well, in addition to helping attract the best people there are three other benefits to be gained from having a strong brand, all key in a tight and competitive labour market – reduced hiring costs, differentiation from the competition and better employee retention.
If you’re an in-house recruiter looking to get maximum value from your brand then help is at hand. At January’s In-House Recruitment Expo you’ll be able to hear US recruitment and branding thought leader Lars Schmidt deliver a keynote session on how to develop and execute a winning employer brand. He’ll be exploring how employer brand has become integrated into corporate recruiting and is now a fundamental component of how organisations recruit. He will also talk about current trends and metrics, and share tools and tips for how in-house recruitment teams can integrate branding into their organisations and their own workflow.
With skill shortages and tightening budgets on the rise no business can afford bad hires. Lars’ session will help reduce the prospect of unsuitable recruits by showing how you can get an authentic brand working for you.