Five Ways to Build Your Employer Brand
Talent competition is fierce in today’s market, and you may wonder how to stand out. Many HR professionals think like marketers and become conscious of how candidates perceive their company and the employer brand experience.
Your employer brand is your company’s reputation as an employer. Your employer brand strategy is everything you do to let people know how they will benefit by joining your company.
With 75 percent of job seekers considering an employer’s brand before applying for a job, it can directly impact hiring. Creating a memorable employer brand is an opportunity to stand out to potential hires and solidify your advantages.
The volume of vacancies in the post-pandemic job market can be intimidating. It’s easy to focus solely on getting candidates in the door quickly. However, how people work and look for work has forever changed, and what people want differs from before. It’s worth checking in on your brand strategy to align with today’s candidate expectations and desires.
Employer Brand Strategies Redefined in 2022
Strong employer brands tell their culture and story from the inside out, with their people being the best storytellers. The recent experience of employees living and working in unexpected circumstances created a demand for authenticity. Employer brand messages must be rooted in the genuine experiences of your people.
It’s more than your logo, taglines, and other aspects of candidate experience that you provide. Employer branding strategies have evolved to include opportunities for career growth, training, meals, team building, and challenging projects.
The public is watching. Social media makes how you treat people more visible than ever before. Do your values and decisions align? When unprecedented events arise, the test of everything you say you are gets tossed in the crucible.
How You Care Matters
In April 2020, 20.5 million people lost jobs due to the pandemic. The pandemic was a litmus test for many employers who spoke about caring for employees amidst job cuts. When faced with hard choices, remaining true to your mission and values can be challenging. Dealing with adversity can cement people to your employer brand or build a wall.
One of the hard-hit industries during the lockdown was the hospitality industry. Hilton Hotels and Resorts, one of the largest hotel chains in the world, broke through glass ceilings by staying true to their efforts of putting people first. Instead of laying people off, Hilton decided to furlough more than 200,000 workers worldwide.
Hilton connected displaced employees to short-term jobs created by the pandemic through direct access to an online resource center and expedited hiring processes at major companies. In addition, furloughed employees continued receiving health benefits while also being eligible to apply for unemployment benefits. Hilton supported both their people and communities. As a result, the company landed in the top 3 World’s Best Workplaces in 2020 – during what was, for most, a devastating year to be in the hospitality industry.
Hilton’s response to the pandemic showcased their culture to the entire world and set them up to thrive on the other side of challenging times.
How to Create a People Strategy That Goes Above and Beyond
An employer brand is more than just a positive image. It’s a recruitment engine that can attract and retain the right people who share your vision. Making an employer brand irresistibly magnetic is putting your employees’ well-being above all else. Caring about people matters, and it requires thinking through decisions and aligning actions with their best interests in mind. Here are five things to consider:
Create a Powerful Message by Being Real.
Your employer brand is not separate from the company. It’s hard for employees to embody your principles and values if the brand you present to the world is inconsistent with how you operate internally. When your actions align with your principles and values, it becomes easy for employees to be an extension of the brand in their interactions with clients and business partners. Clients and customers can perceive when employees feel valued and set up for success—or not.
Build a bridge between HR and marketing so that from the inside out, people get a clear and cohesive picture of your organization, what makes you different, and why people love working with you.
The story you tell must be 100% authentic: it must represent what your employer value proposition (EVP) genuinely provides. Revisit your mission, vision, and core values. Do the words reflect the truth of who you are and aspire to be? Do your employees, customers, and partners echo that message? Remember that social media provides transparency into how you do business.
Your employer brand is a perception shaped by experience, person by person. You will never be all things to all people. Listen to your stakeholders and learn what they love and value most about you.
Empower Brand Advocacy.
When your advocates tell your story, it means more. Transparency brings strength and authenticity to your organization’s messaging, especially through different voices and channels. Some things to love about your organization can only resonate with your audience once they hear them from your employees. Themes to explore include examples of people living out your core values, what you’re doing to support employee well-being, how you’re contributing to the industry, community, and planet sustainability through employee involvement, and progress towards diversity and inclusion initiatives. Bring these stories to life with photos and video.
Create Culture with Intention.
By default, every company has a culture, which will grow depending on what you feed it. The opportunity is yours to create a workplace that people love and want to be part of. If your culture isn’t winning the hearts of job candidates, consider what might be missing.
Need to revitalize your culture? Here are a few evergreen themes to explore:
- Recognition and gratitude. Everyone likes to feel appreciated, so why not establish an environment where people are encouraged to recognize their mentors, peers, team members, and supporters? Expressing thanks is mood-elevating and keeps the momentum moving forward.
- Creativity and exploring a new approach. How can you change things up to see a different view? Is it time for new learning experiences?
- How can you expand accountability and free people from perceived limitations? Is there a better way to share responsibility?
- Pursuit of Excellence. Maybe this involves mentorships? Being allowed to fail and share, so everyone learns from it? Healthy competition? Setting goals? Raising standards?
- Imagine new ways of bringing people together to get things done, solve problems, respond to challenges, and celebrate success.
Culture pertains to “how we do things here” and the experience someone has as part of the team, the business unit, and the company. It plays a role in the employer brand and, for some, can be the difference in whether they join, stay, or depart.
Being relevant means being where your talent pool is and connecting to what’s important to them.
Your recruitment and branding efforts should be “on the ground” in communities, schools, and industry spheres as well as digital, including the social media platforms where your potential employees hang out. Be sure to consider the needs and expectations of different generations. You’ll want to ensure your messages speak to the needs and desires of various demographics.
One of the biggest challenges to an employer branding strategy is understanding how to be “on brand” or have continuity. How can your brand be consistent while staying relevant? Can you be true to yourself and evolve? Here’s a technique:
- Put Brand Guidelines in Place.
- Set Goals and Objectives.
- Test Everything.
- Measure Success.
- Iterate and Repeat.
Once you’ve got your brand guidelines for your look and feel, including your tone, you’re ready to tackle some initiatives. Set goals that help you identify your measures of brand success.
You’ll notice that success is a journey, a repeated cycle of effort followed by measures that might include digital performance, industry benchmarks, employee satisfaction, and retention rates. As you measure your progress, you’ll see how to adjust and how to improve. Over time, it will become clear what you’re doing wrong and what you’re getting right: measure, analyze, improve, and repeat.
The Momentum of Success.
You’ll notice that as people grow, so does your brand. As they rise to new heights, so does your culture, candidate experience, and story. As your company becomes the collective embodiment of your people, they represent your brand as much as your brand represents them.
Equiliem (www.equiliem.com) believes in empowering success. It’s our job to cultivate relationships that connect people and employers in a way that is inclusive, intelligent, and allows both to thrive.
Across the U.S., leading companies in healthcare, government, light industrial manufacturing, professional services, and energy rely on us for their workforce solutions. Our recruiting and HR services include contract and direct hire staffing, Payrolling/EOR, Independent Contractor Compliance, and Managed Services.
Since 1995, we’ve helped shape our industry. Today, we continue to research, ask questions, and continuously enhance the candidate journey and client experience.