Employer Branding – What It Means for Recruiting and Retaining Employees
Are you seeking to hire a superstar?
An industry-wide study conducted by MRINetwork recently demonstrated that employer brand strength has become a critical determinant of whether companies can attract top talent within industries that are primarily candidate-driven.
Is your professional services business growing and depends on highly skilled workers to help achieve your vision? Maybe you are seeking an operations executive who is in hot demand. You want your company to stand out to attract the best candidates. You want a strong employer brand.
The 2018 MRINetwork Reputation Management Study was based on a web-based survey conducted between March – April 2018 with a total of 400 candidates and nearly 200 employers responding. It focused on the executive, professional, and managerial space.
Sixty-nine percent of candidates and 71 percent of employers rank employer brand strength as essential when a candidate is evaluating a job offer.
That is why companies like Amazon, Google, and Facebook do not have trouble attracting employees. Universities like Harvard, Yale, and Stanford routinely have many more applicants for admission than they can admit. It’s their reputations that account for this.
Improving Your Employer Brand Strength
How can you, as an employer, convey your brand strength?
- Keep your website up-to-date with attractive, useful information about your company and about the incentives you offer employees
- Project a professional image, from your collateral materials about your business to your scheduling of interviews with candidates, to the meeting itself
- Make sure the interview process conveys clearly what the candidate’s job responsibilities will be
- Cover both compensation and advancement opportunities in job interviews
- Referrals from employees are a critical way of evaluating employer brands
- Make sure your company has an excellent reputation on review sites like Glassdoor and Monster.com
Creating a mission statement can also help improve your brand strength. Jeff Bezos’s mission statement that “Your margin in my opportunity” helps to guide Amazon in delivering quality products at competitive prices.
Twitter’s mission statement is “to give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.” One of the company’s executives explained that the mission statement puts its users first, and defines the company’s purpose—to give everyone the ability to be heard and share experiences as they happen.
Ensure that your company culture is positively portrayed in the job interview.
Positive Factors Impacting Employer Branding
It may not be surprising to employers that compensation is one of the decisive factors affecting employer branding, followed by advancement opportunities. Make sure your company is outstanding in the following ways:
- Competitive compensation packages
- Advancement opportunities
- Support and guidance for career paths and choices
- Training and continuing education
- Emphasis on work-life balance
- Access to up-to-date technology
- A sense of camaraderie in the company
- Collaborative environment
- Fun, engaging company culture
You want to help your company’s employees to achieve their goals. Again, a powerful value statement can summarize the purpose of your business. Facebook’s corporate values include: Focus on impact. Move fast. Be bold. Be open. Build social value.
If you were an employee at Facebook, these core values would leave no doubt in your mind what qualities you should bring to the job.
NEGATIVE FACTORS AFFECTING EMPLOYER BRAND
On the other hand, what are some of the negative factors that might affect your employer brand?
According to the MRINetwork study, the following conveyed an unfavorable view of the employer:
- Excessive turnover across the company
- No growth in the workforce
- Inability to respond to market trends
- Poor ratings on company review sites
- Too much turnover among top management
- Poor work-life balance
- Lack of access to up-to-date technology
Data has shown that a bad employer brand can cost a company millions. In a LinkedIn article, Chris Brown wrote that if a company has a poor reputation among its industry peers, this can affect its brand strength and the ability to attract the best talent. By the same token, if the company has poor leadership, this will affect its brand strength.
Brown calculated that the cost of a bad reputation for a company with 10,000 employees could be as much as $4,080,000 per year, or $5.3 million dollars.
If you believe that your company’s brand could be strengthened to attract top-level talent and improve employee retention, there are steps you should take:
- Create new employee communications and emphasize the points above. Offer employees incentives when they make a referral that results in a job interview (e.g., one paid day off).
- Help your employees feel a sense of connection to the company
- Update your website to highlight your company’s advancement opportunities, citing real-life employee stories of career progress
- Include examples of a work-life balance in your company on your website - use quotes from employees who are happy with the balance
- Cite examples of your up-to-date technology on your website
- Encourage good reviews of your company on your employees’ social media sites and business review sites like Glassdoor
- Seek local publicity and coverage from your local newspaper, radio and television stations
If you are not confident that your efforts to improve your brand strength are working, hold several focus groups with outsiders who match the descriptions of the candidates you are seeking. Partner with executive search firms in your area to identify candidates for a focus group. Give the candidates incentives for participating, such as a free package of your newest product.
If these focus groups demonstrate that you are improving your brand strength, you will soon see the results in the candidates that you attract.
Your people make your company healthy and successful. Be aggressive about advertising your advantages, and hire the best!