November 23, 2021

The Complete Guide to Employer Branding

a series of hands holding puzzle pieces to showcase employer branding

Employer branding might not be at the forefront of most companies, but it is another essential factor in gauging long-term success. While the process of creating an effective employer branding strategy may take time, it can help companies not only attract top talent, but keep them around for a long time.

Creating an employer branding strategy for some might be daunting. Questions arise like: why should I invest in employer branding? Where should I start my employer branding efforts? How do I maintain my employer branding strategy months or even years after we start it? To answer these questions, and provide a solid blueprint for any company and industry, we created this comprehensive guide to ensure that all brands start on the right track from the very beginning.

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Why is Employer Branding Important?

Simply put, it’s because today’s employees conduct plenty of research online about a company before applying, and what they find can make or break their decision on applying with you. Don’t believe us? Here are some employer brand stats to drive the point home:

Having these and other valuable statistics readily available is important when pitching the idea of creating an employer branding strategy to key decision makers in the company, especially when a major focus for any brand is to attract and retain customers. With solid numbers to back up the need for an employer branding plan, you can easily convince stakeholders that creating and maintaining an employee-facing online reputation can pay dividends for healthy company growth.

What Does Employer Reputation Management Mean for Employer Branding?

Optimizing your employer branding isn’t just about attracting new talent; it’s also about ensuring that your current employees stay with you for as long as possible. The best type of employer reputation management is one that involves getting honest feedback from current employees and using that to improve the current culture while also gaining insight into how you can improve the recruiting and onboarding process for new hires.

Another result from effective employer reputation management is free brand promotions from staff. If they see the company actively engaging with feedback and finding ways to improve culture, then they can easily become ambassadors for the brand. This type of social proof is the information that job seekers need to determine whether or not to apply with the company.

a group of people working together for employer branding

What Does Strong Employer Branding Look Like?

There are many factors that go into a strong employer brand, and it isn’t enough to just have a listing online where you can post current career openings. As an employer, you need to be proactive when it comes to addressing feedback and constantly engage with prospects and employees alike.

This means doing more than just creating a company listing on Glassdoor (more on that later). You’ll need to constantly manage the information displayed on the site to accurately set expectations. In addition, you have to engage on other platforms such as social media feeds and LinkedIn where potential employees might conduct additional research about the company before applying. Meeting people halfway across multiple platforms send a signal: you’re not like most brands; you care about the company perception from a customer and employee perspective, and that could be the difference between a few applications and a flood of inquiries about open positions.

Conducting an Employer Branding Audit

A full employer branding audit is also warranted when creating your employer brand strategy. This means taking internal stock of current statuses among various channels including:

  • Current value proposition
  • Social media presence
  • Employee reviews

To get an even more accurate picture of the current state of the employer brand you can also send out an employee survey. When doing so, provide more than the usual yes/no questions. Give people space to adequately provide feedback on areas of company perception and internal culture. It might be a lengthy response, but it provides more context and insight than a multiple choice question can give. When you have enough responses and data, then your employer branding strategy can begin.

Glassdoor for Employers: A Powerful Employer Branding Tool

A great first step to get the ball rolling on your employer brand is to get an online listing on Glassdoor via the Glassdoor for Employers portal. When creating a Glassdoor profile for your company you need to only provide the following:

  • First and last name
  • Company name
  • Official title
  • Total number of open jobs
  • Work email address
  • Password

From there you can spend some time filling in the pertinent information about your company on its Glassdoor listing. Some helpful information can include:

  • Basic information (location, total number of employees, revenue, competitors, etc.)
  • Salary and compensation details
  • Explanation of benefits
  • A summary of appealing factors that make people want to work at your company
  • Stated company missions, vision, and values

Keep in mind that the Glassdoor listing isn’t a “set it and forget it” type of profile. Taking charge of employer branding means that you’ll need to constantly maintain the listing with new information, such as new job listings, updated location data, and even the reviews left by current or former employees (more on this later).

How Asking Employees for Feedback Helps Employer Branding

Similar to customer reviews, employee reviews and feedback are immensely beneficial to any company. From an external perspective, it provides much needed social proof for those looking for a job. The words of current and past employees can easily sway the decision to fill out an application.Even when you’re not looking for new staff, employee reviews can give a current sense of the company culture.

The process of asking for reviews from your employees doesn’t have to be difficult or awkward. Provide a link to the company Glassdoor page accompanied with a brief message telling them the importance of the review from a new hire and internal standpoint. Providing adequate context and making the feedback process as easy as possible can help the company get more high quality reviews.

a person with a bullhorn coming out of a smartphone

Employer Branding Power Tip: Using Feedback for Company Improvement

We previously touched on the idea that employee feedback can be used to get a current assessment on the internal company culture, but it can also provide direction on new ways to improve and optimize internal perception. When looking at each review, you need to be on the lookout for specific topics and keywords that can point to potentially rising issues or positive trends.

Of course, manually reading each review and gaining these insights can take time, but you can also use reputation management software with new technologies, such as natural language processing, to easily find notable keywords and trends.

Showing the pattern in specific keywords and phrases is more than enough evidence to go with specific strategies that can improve employer branding. Similar to the Voice of the Customer, the Voice of the Employee is a valuable commodity when it comes to proposing new and highly effective strategies.

Managing Feedback: An Important Employer Branding Skill

After scouring each review for valuable insights, you shouldn’t just move onto the next piece of feedback. It’s important to interact with each review through a response. If you’re working with a team, you can delegate this part of the process, but it’s important to have some best practices in mind to ensure a uniform “brand voice” online.

That “voice” can come across as professional or informal, depending on the intended brand look, but it’s important that it be used consistently to give applicants and consumers an idea of how the brand is portrayed across all platforms.

A simple “thank you” can go a long way in a review because it shows that you are actively reading and engaging with feedback. If you’d like to add more detail to the response you can mention specific parts of their review to further show that their feedback is being heard.

Improve Employer Branding by Responding to Negative Glassdoor Reviews

Not every piece of feedback will be positive so it’s important to learn how to respond to negative reviews. More specifically, you should know how to effectively use Glassdoor and how to respond to negative reviews on the platform.

Once again, a simple “thank you” is effective here, but you’ll need to do more than that to resolve any problems brought up in the review. If possible, provide solutions to the issues brought up. If there are more serious matters in the review, try to take the conversation offline to save face and solve the matter privately.

When responding to negative feedback, make sure to do so in a quick manner. Don’t let negative reviews go unattended for more than a day or so. No company is perfect and responding in a timely and professional manner shows that the brand is always looking for ways to improve.

a list of employee reviews above a computer

How an Employer Retention Strategy Helps Employer Branding

Keeping employees is another major part of any employer branding strategy, especially when people are adjusting to new ways of working as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To craft an employee retention strategy that fits with the changing times, you’ll need to show that your company is flexible in terms of a physical workplace. More brands are willing to allow remote staff than ever before, and you need to make that front and center when talking to current employees.

When the team eventually becomes fully remote, your employer branding strategy will have to change slightly, but the process of looking internally, gathering employee feedback, engaging with prospects across multiple digital platforms should stay the same.

Creating a Powerful Employer Branding Strategy

Adapting to changes in the workplace as previously mentioned is all part of the unique and effective employer branding strategy for your company, but it always starts with looking at the brand’s current employer branding state. Getting that valuable benchmark provides insight on how much work is needed to meet specific goals.

From there, you’ll need to establish the company on well known employer sites like Glassdoor and display updated information. At the same time, you should start gathering feedback from current employees about the current company culture, the onboarding & hiring experience, and areas of improvement. Depending on the way it was deployed the feedback could go up as a review or internal data. Either way, they provide additional insights when it comes to improving employer branding.

There isn’t a single company that has perfected employer branding, which makes this strategy a constantly evolving process. However, leveraging feedback from current, past, and future employees as well as staying engaged online can help you acquire and hopefully retain employees who will gladly sing the company’s praises for a long time.