by James Foley, The Staffing Stream
The ability to attract right-fit talent — not just candidates who meet the basic requirements of the role, but who also share the company’s vision and goals — has become more difficult for today’s employers. With top talent in short supply, it has become a candidate’s market, with companies competing to win over the best. So, what can employers do to ensure they stand out from the crowd and connect with the talent that can make a difference in their organizations? The solution is to shape, fine-tune and project their employer brand and accurately convey its reputation as an employer.
While many companies have made great strides in raising awareness of their employer brand alongside their corporate brand, there is still much room for improvement in terms of projecting what they can offer to job seekers. The value of such employer branding is clear; studies by LinkedIn show that a company’s employer brand is twice as likely to drive candidates to consider a job compared to the company brand. In other words, organizations that invest in their employer brand are more likely to see a direct impact on their talent acquisition efforts.
Overall, research by Randstad Sourceright finds that more than two-thirds of HR leaders surveyed are investing more on brand building than they did five years ago, compared to a mere 7% who report they are investing less. In addition, more than half of those surveyed say they will invest in branding campaigns in the next 12 to 24 months, highlighting the potential they see in building their employer brand. What’s more, 57% of HR leaders who believe their organization’s ability to attract top talent is good or excellent attribute this success to a strong employer brand.
From these statistics, the impact of an effective employer brand on a company’s ability to hire the best candidates becomes clear. But it’s not just about attracting new talent; a strong employer brand can also impact the corporate brand and reputation. But to reap these benefits, companies must first understand the components of a successful employer brand. Any organizations looking to improve this crucial factor should consider the following five steps:
- Make employer brand an ongoing strategy: Developing an effective employer brand is more than a specific task; it is a continuous process that can be constantly improved. Ensuring employer brand is viewed throughout the organization as a long-term strategy is the first step to developing a successful program.
- Define the EVP: The employee value proposition (EVP), or the work experience they offer candidates, can be difficult to determine. The right path forward is to understand the corporate values and culture as well as the drivers and motivators of current employees. Taking time to invest in internal and external stakeholder feedback will help to define the EVP and make sure it stands out.
- Assign ownership: One of the biggest challenges in developing an employer brand is determining who is responsible for it. Most often, it should be led by the CEO and throughout all levels of the company. Still, making sure all parties, from HR to marketing and communications, understand their roles is essential to an effective employer brand strategy.
- Apply and measure: Once the strategy is in place, it is crucial to measure branding efforts and assess the results. The ability to continually review key metrics will provide the insight to ensure the employer brand strategy is on the right track.
- Ask the experts: If the strategy doesn’t bring about the desired results, or isn’t progressing as expected, it may be time to bring in an external employer branding expert to identify gaps and help achieve successful results.
As hiring continues to become more competitive, it is crucial that employers recognize the tools and strategies that can help them project their messaging and be seen as an employer of choice in a crowded field. For this reason, more HR leaders have come to understand that a strong employer brand is no longer a nice to have feature, but a key factor in their ability to attract right-fit talent.