5 Characteristics of a Strong Employer Brand

March 14, 2018

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Today’s business leaders understand that their organization’s ability to attract and retain top talent is key to company success and growth. That’s why employer branding has increasingly become a key area of focus for organizations.

Here are some stats that highlight the growing importance of having a strong employer brand:

  • 94 percent of candidates are likely to apply to a job if a company actively manages its employer brand.
  • A strong employer brand can lead to a 28 percent increase in retention and a 50 percent decrease in cost per hire.
  • Companies with positive employer branding get twice as many applications as companies with negative brands, and they spend less money on employees.
  • When making a decision on where to apply for a job, 84 percent of job seekers say the reputation of a company as an employer is important. And 93 percent say it’s important to be thoughtful and informed about all aspects of a company prior to accepting a job offer.
  • 26 percent of executives said that employer branding was the most important recruiting advantage for global organizations.

What are the characteristics of a strong employer brand? And what does it take to differentiate your company (among competitors) in the eyes of right talent — and succeed in building a strong employer brand reputation?

5 Characteristics of Strong Employer Branding

Understanding of Value Proposition

If you’re just getting started with your employer branding efforts, it’s important to first ask yourself what exactly you, as an employer, can bring to the table for employees and candidates. Be honest when you conduct that self-assessment. What are the things that make you a great place to work?

Unless you’re planning to pay every employee and candidate the most money (among competitors) every single time, which wouldn’t be a viable strategy in the long-term anyway, recognize that you must build your employer brand based on things other than solely compensation.

Your value proposition as an employer could be your workplace culture, flexible hours, innovative technology, workplace diversity, remote work opportunities, or your package of office perks and benefits. Whatever it is, make sure it resonates with everyone in your organization, and that it is something that is truly of value to them. This is what will help you define what your employer branding message is going to be.

Holistic Approach

Successful employer branding requires a holistic approach that treats every employee, from the C-suite to the frontline, as potential employer brand ambassadors.

Don’t just leave it to the leadership team to create your value proposition and develop your company’s own unique narrative; involve everyone in the organization and engage with your stakeholders in order to create an authentic message and tone of voice for your employer brand.

Strong Social Media Presence and Activity

Social media is a great tool for companies looking to strengthen their employer branding. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn (among many others) aren’t merely platforms for publishing branded product- or service-related communications.

They are also venues for growing your network, and for sharing inside stories that at once show off your strengths as an employer and drive engagement with the kind of talent you’re hoping to attract.

Ability to Listen to Employee Feedback

The world’s top employer brands listen to authentic, candid feedback from their employees in order to achieve a greater understanding of the employee experience.

Are people happy with your benefits package? Do they feel like they are being compensated fairly? What do employees really think of your PTO policy?

Employee feedback serves as your key to answering these questions. Whether it comes from survey forms, online reviews posted by employees, one-on-one consultations with the leadership team, interviews, regular performance reviews, or pieces of paper dropped in your office’s suggestion box, employee feedback can contain the kind of information and insights you need to build a strong employer brand.

Consistent Monitoring of Online Reviews

Companies that embrace — instead of fear — public-facing feedback, i.e., online reviews left by employees on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed, are more likely to have stronger employer branding than those that don’t.

By monitoring employee reviews, you can determine whether or not your company is seen as a great place to work. And you can more accurately understand the perceptions that current and potential employees have of your organization.

Responding to reviews, meanwhile, serves as another engagement driver that can support your efforts to improve the overall employee experience. Your responsiveness should also affect your hiring and recruitment strategy. You can provide candidates with an extra measure of reassurance once they see that you, as an employer, are active on employee review sites.

Final Thoughts

Remember: it takes more than posting job openings on LinkedIn or designing a fancy Careers page to create a brand that resonates with job seekers.

In the evolving landscape of recruitment and HR, companies with a strong employer brand stand out in the eyes of top candidates. Strategically manage your employer brand, monitor employee reviews, and foster an organizational culture that promotes shared values, so you can boost your employer brand and attract just the kind of talent you’re looking for.

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