<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=353110511707231&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Become an Employer of Choice by Improving Your Employer Branding

June 20, 2018

If you had a dollar for every time you heard about the tight labor market, would you be able to buy yourself lunch or an all-inclusive paid vacation to a resort in Mexico? Alright, a vacation to Mexico might be a stretch, but the labor market is a hot topic these days for a reason.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently listed the national unemployment rate at 3.8%, the lowest it’s been since 2000. The lack of available talent means that job seekers have plenty of employment options, forcing you to compete for available job seekers or try to pry candidates away from other employers. No doubt, those other employers are trying to steal your employees, too! To retain your top talent and attract the best candidates, you need to be seen as an employer of choice. To do that, you need to have a strong employer brand.

Employer branding is the process of promoting an organization as a desired workplace with the goal of attracting potential candidates and retaining top employees. Your employer brand, not to be mistaken with the overall company brand, is the market’s perception of what it’s like to work for your organization and includes perceptions on the culture, work environment, employee benefits provided, and the employee value proposition (EVP).

Where You Should Start

There are plenty of tactics to help you promote your employer brand. Before you go down that path, though, take a step back and perform an internal and external audit of where you are now to identify your strengths as an employer and areas that need some improvement.

Start with an internal audit by talking to your employees to understand what their perceptions are about working for your organization. After all, they are the ones that know best what it’s like to work for you. Ask them questions like:

  • What they like or dislike about working for your organization?

  • How would they describe the culture?

  • Why they wanted to work for you, and why they’ve stayed?

  • What would they like to see changed or improved?

You can develop a survey to send to employees or set up focus groups to get their feedback. When reviewing the responses, look for common trends to determine what’s great about working for you and any areas you’ll want to focus on improving.

The next step you’ll want to take is an external audit to determine what level of engagement candidates are having with your organization and what they are seeing and hearing about what it’s like to work for you. Here’s a few places to start:

  • Look at sites like Glassdoor and other employer review sites. Do you have current and former employees advocating to work for you? Do you have detractors? Is the review area blank? The fact is, these days, people would prefer to hear from their peers about the culture and work environment more than the organization itself. This makes the feedback from your employees all the more important.

  • Look at your social media channels. How often is your organization being mentioned? What’s being said? What type of engagement are you getting when promoting job openings, events, or your culture? Your biggest advocates for attracting candidates are your employees – are they liking, sharing, or retweeting your posts?

  • Also, take a look at your career or jobs website. What does your traffic look like? Is it increasing, decreasing, or flat? What type of engagement are you seeing with your applications? Are candidates applying for the positions after reviewing the job descriptions?

Once you’ve conducted your audits, review what you’ve found. Trends in the data will reveal what’s great about you as an employer and those areas of focus for improvement. The positive feedback will help form your EVP, which is the key set of benefits, programs, rewards, and policies offered by the organization as an employer. When you’re ready, your EVP will be what your employee branding efforts are built around.

Getting Leadership Buy-In

The next step in the process is presenting your findings and your branding strategy to your leadership team. We’ll cover some of the tactics to include in your strategy in more detail in a later blog, but they could include:

  • Revamping your career site

  • Reviewing your application process and the candidate experience

  • Building a social media strategy to promote your employer brand

  • Building promotional content using employee advocacy

  • How to measure the success of your efforts

Related: 4 Tactics to Include in Your Employer Branding Strategy

It’s important to get leadership buy-in, especially from the CEO, because he/she is responsible for laying out the mission and vision of the organization, defining the values and behaviors that are needed to succeed, and building and maintaining a positive, productive culture. If he/she doesn’t buy in to the importance of improving your EVP, your branding efforts won’t go very far.

Fortunately, senior leaders are starting to get it. A Universum report surveyed 2,000 CEOs and heads of HR, recruiting, employer branding, and marketing in 18 countries about their employer branding activities. Here are some of the findings:

  • 60% of the CEOs that were surveyed stated that CEOs are primarily responsible for employee branding efforts (40% of marketing leaders agreed)

  • 40% of respondents said they wanted it to secure long-term hiring needs

  • 31% said it would become more important for building a global reputation

  • 61% said they had developed an EVP to underpin their efforts

  • 74% claimed to have a moderate employer brand presence on social media

  • 69% said they would do more to measure the impact of their social media activities

So, they get it, and see the value in what these efforts provide. Employers of choice attract and retain the best talent because they work really hard at building and maintaining a strong culture. Building this reputation doesn’t happen overnight, but in taking the time to identify your strengths and areas of improvement to build a strong EVP, your branding efforts become a lot easier. When you’re a great company to work for, it’s a lot less about marketing and a lot more about telling your unique story.

New Call-to-action

Shawn Wilhelm Shawn Wilhelm is the Healthcare and Leadership Marketing Coordinator at PSI.