By Twine on

The days in which you can rely on the “good word” about your company getting out there on its own are over. In an age of social media, and a period of intense competition for the best talent, building the right brand is just as important for attracting the best talent as it is for attracting and retaining the customers, themselves. No firm can rest on its laurels anymore; you must actively work to differentiate your company from competitive employers, and you must do so on the basis of more than just compensation.

This is the area of employer branding. In today’s article we’ll show you what it is, why it matters, and how to start, establish, and strengthen your organization's employer brand.

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What Is Employer Branding?

The idea of a consumer brand is familiar to all companies. It’s an ongoing challenge in business: how do you stand out from the competition and convince people to buy from you?

Employer branding is based on the same principle, except that it focuses on the way that potential employees perceive your company. This ranges from your company’s general reputation, to your company culture, to what people say about you on sites like Glassdoor.

Employer branding is the process of building (and working to improve) the perception people have of your company’s work environment and culture. And it matters more than you might think.

Why Employer Branding Is Important

According to a study from CareerArc, 75% of job seekers consider a firm’s employer brand before applying for a job. This shows the overwhelming power of employer branding to influence a prospect’s decision. Even if prospects don’t use the term “employer brand”, it’s what they’re evaluating.

Furthermore, Glassdoor reports that 76% of jobseekers surveyed want details on why a company is a desirable place to work and “69% are [more] likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand.”

The data is clear: if you want to win the competition for the most talented prospects, you need to make the cultivation and maintenance of your employer brand a priority.

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How to Create an Employer Brand Strategy

Creating a strong employer brand isn’t something you can do overnight, but the sooner you start, the better. The following activities are key to building and managing the way that prospects view your company:

1. Define Your Employer Value Proposition (EVP)

Your employer value proposition (also known as employee value proposition) is the statement that differentiates you from other potential employers. Similar to a unique value proposition for your customers, the employer value proposition is the succinct statement of what makes your company the place to work amidst the sea of competitors.

To craft your EVP, start by looking at what already makes your company an outstanding place to work. Examine employee engagement surveys (you are regularly surveying employees, right?) to see what your people like about working at your company. From there, you can understand the value you provide your employees, from their perspective, and start to write the proposition.

Once you’ve created your employee value proposition, you need to make sure it is communicated in all your talent acquisition materials. This includes job postings, interviews, and job offers. You want prospective and current employees to associate this proposition with your company in the same way that your customers associate your consumer value proposition with your market-facing brand.

2. Educate Employees on the Importance of Your Brand

With the increased transparency that comes from social media and sites like Glassdoor, your carefully controlled communication of your company brand is increasingly diluted. Prospective talent is going to put a lot more trust in what real employees are saying than any recruiting materials you produce. So, the first step to successful branding is to make your employees feel like their experience working for you truly reflects your employer brand.

This process starts by creating an outstanding place to work. If you lecture employees on the importance of promoting a particular employer value proposition that doesn’t match the actual experience of working at your company, no one is going to buy-in. When your company is such an excellent place to work that your employees are recruiting for you, the incremental effort required on your part is far less, and the value proposition you present in your recruiting materials looks much more credible.

That being said, it’s still important that you overtly educate employees on the brand you want to promote. The employer brand should be such an ingrained part of your company culture that your employees can express it without any effort. Work with human resources to ensure it's in your onboarding, ongoing training, performance reviews, and employee surveys.

3. Promote Your Employer Brand on Social Media

The importance of social media for building a customer brand is clear, but it’s just as important for attracting the employees you want. As CareerArc reports, “62% of job seekers visit social media channels to evaluate employer brand.” If you’re not out there managing your employer brand, then you’re missing an enormous opportunity.

How do you use social media to promote your employer brand? One key tactic is to share what life is like inside your company. Show pictures of your office, of your people doing their work, and having fun in the office too. Win an award related to employee satisfaction? Put the word out there. Put forth the image you want prospective employees to have (in an honest way, of course).

Additionally, make sure that your employer value proposition comes across in your social media messaging. This doesn’t mean you should constantly Tweet the verbatim text of the proposition, but it can give you a starting point for posts, and guide some of the language you may want to work in to your posts. But the best, and most credible, communication strategy is always to show, not tell. For example, if you want to show that you’re an innovative company, post pictures of your engineers creating innovative solutions to client problems.

4. Respond to Reviews of Your Company

Much as customer service interactions are the chance to turn an unpleasant experience into an inspiring one, so are responses to reviews that employees leave of your company. The importance of Glassdoor and sites like it in constructing your employer brand is immense.

While your first priority should be to create such an outstanding culture that all your feedback from current employees is positive, in reality you’re not going to be able to please everyone. Negative reviews are unavoidable. What will set your company apart is how you respond to them.

The very act of responding at all shows you care about the experience your employees have; how you respond says even more. To start, don’t retaliate or become too defensive in your responses to reviews, no matter how inaccurate or unpleasant the review might be. Recognize that the person leaving the review may be exposing a legitimate problem with your company culture. Show that you’re listening to what they have to say and make it clear that you’ll work to resolve the situation as much as you can.

Taking the time to respond to these concerns says a lot to potential employees about how much you value your current employees; don’t miss that opportunity.

A Strong Employer Brand Starts Within

If you want your employees to say positive things about working at your company, you need to ensure they know that they are valued, appreciated, and taken care of. They can only feel this way if they feel that your firm provides them a future of professional growth and opportunity. When employees move on to another company after just a couple years, this communicates to prospective employees that yours isn’t a company that provides a promising professional future.

Twine Labs will help you provide your employees a future with your firm. Our internal network matches existing employees with open roles, ensuring an enduring company culture. Schedule a demo call today to get started.