Over the last few years, talent acquisition has undergone a fundamental shift in the way that organisations source and engage with talent. No longer relying on the “Posting and praying” method, forward-thinking organisations now look to proactively attract the best candidates, even those who aren’t looking for new roles. How? Through investing in employer branding. While previously dismissed as a marketing tactic, many organisations now accept that a company can't simply opt-out of having an employer brand. They can only opt-out of managing their employer brand actively and effectively but to their detriment. Because organisations that have been able to effectively demonstrate the value they provide current and prospective employees are in a better position to attract interested candidates.
Employer branding is defined broadly as the reputation of a company/employer or more specifically, the image that an organisation conjures up in the minds of current employees and key stakeholders within the external market. This could be a positive image like a 'great place to work' or a negative image, like 'a toxic workplace culture'.
Did You Know?
When deciding on where to apply for a job, 84% of job seekers say the reputation of a company as an employer is important (TalentNow)
9 out of 10 candidates would apply for a job when it’s from an employer brand that’s actively maintained (Workable)
50% of candidates say they wouldn’t work for a company with a bad reputation – even for a pay increase (TalentNow)
78% of job candidates say the overall candidate experience they get is an indicator of how a company values its people. (Talent Adore)
The impact the pandemic has had on Australia's job market (hiring freezes, an onslaught of projects backed by the federal government to restimulate the economy and quarantine and border restrictions) have created significant skill shortages. A recent analysis of 800 jobs by the National Skills Commission, revealed that one in five occupations in Australia is currently suffering from skill shortages (The National Skills Commission, 2021). This bottleneck of sorts is creating an increasingly competitive job market, which puts job seekers squarely in the driver's seat. Consequently, for organisations looking to secure new talent, being able to effectively promote your organisation's employer brand is critical to cut through the noise and resonate with the right candidates. Which is why, according to the Harvard Business Review, CEOs and HR leaders are expected to make an increased investment into their employer brand over the coming years. By 2020, it’s likely to be a key part of most recruiting teams’ long-term strategy (Komm et, al. 2021).
Even if not actively hiring, organisations still need to effectively demonstrate and communicate their key employer values. Especially during this uncertain time, when both employees and businesses have been hard hit by the pandemic, an organisation that's able to show how much they support their employees speaks volumes to potential candidates. These positive actions will also help to strengthen an organisation's employer brand overall for whenever they do decide to hire next, as future employees and clients will carry forward perceptions of how the company acted during this time.
What You Can Do To Strengthen Your Employer Branding?
1. Start From The Top Down
Firstly, the leadership team needs to establish the organisation's employee value proposition (EVP). They need to ask themselves what is required from the branding strategy; how to align this with the organisation's mission, values and culture; and how to demonstrate the appropriate behaviours that need to be applied across the business?
2. Determine How You Want Your Employer Brand to Improve
Before you can determine your progress, you need to be able to assess where your employer brand currently sits in the eyes of your stakeholders, so you can set effective KPIs and effectively monitor your progress as you put these KPIs into action. This will involve quantitative research and focus groups involving staff and job candidates so that you can effectively look at what attracts people to your organisation, what deters them and what could be improved.
Having asked job candidates what they think about the organisation before they join, it is then equally important to follow these same candidates up once they get the job, to determine if the reality of the job, the company culture etc. met with their initial expectations.
Exit interview data from your departing employees can also provide valuable insights into what they think are the strengths and weaknesses of a company's employer brand. And employers aren't the only ones that can provide useful insights; suppliers, brand partners, sponsors etc. can also provide additional external perceptions of what it's like to work at the organisation.
With this baseline in place, an organisation can then determine what they want to be renowned for, i.e. the qualities that will be at the heart of marketing the organisation to the candidates they want to attract. For example, a local council looking to hire someone passionate about their local community will try and emphasise the initiatives they do for the local community, including pictures of the local fauna and flora on their social pages or company website etc. in order to attract like-minded candidates. Keep in mind that these qualities should align with the overall values and mission statement of the organisation in order for employer brand perceptions to be effective.
4. Identify and Establish an Employer Brand Strategy
Once an organisation has established the current perceptions stakeholders have of its employer brand, strategies can be put in place to improve or strengthen the brand/reputation. An easy first step is to encourage all employees to voice their opinions and suggested actions, where possible, so it's easier to harness their active support in making the necessary changes. Some of the required improvements that are identified will be easy to implement, like celebrating employees individual birthdays. Others will become projects in their own right that need the backing of clear plans, measurable milestones and executive sponsorship, like implementing better workplace flexibility processes.
5. Launch Your Employer Brand
Finally, after a significant amount of preparation and planning, an organisation can appoint brand ambassadors and encourage all employees to spread the word through their online and social media profiles, as well as company review and job sites like Glassdoor or SEEK company reviews.
To judge progress, an organisation should develop reliable metrics that measure return on investment from their strategy. These metrics may relate to cost per hire, fulfilment of vacancies, and satisfaction with line managers and demonstrated values, but they will vary depending on the organisation.
Interested in hearing more about what you can do to strengthen your employer branding? Our consultants are on hand to offer support and advice on what active candidates are looking for. Contact us today for more information – email@example.com