How to build a strong employer brand
What is an employer brand?
Employer brand refers to a company’s reputation as a place to work. This includes how current employees and prospective employees perceive a company’s workplace culture, policies and values. While employer brand is determined by audience perception, it’s possible to influence this with a strategic approach, effective communication and a compelling employee value proposition.
Why is it important to have a strong employer brand?
It’s highly beneficial for talent attraction and staff retention. Having a strong employer brand allows you to build a talent pool before you need to draw from it. When it’s time to recruit, this resource can reduce the cost per hire and time taken to hire, as well as improving the overall candidate quality.
As well as helping you to attract new recruits, being recognised as a great place to work will improve staff retention rates and boost morale. A good workplace culture flows through to your customers and improves the level of service they receive and the quality of the interactions they have with your brand.
How can I build a strong employer brand?
Building a strong employer brand is a long-term strategic commitment, which draws on the views and ideas of employees, senior management and external stakeholders. To help you get started, we have produced a five-point plan for creating a strong employer brand.
1. Confirm your goals and set tangible objectives
Collaborate with your senior management team to scope out the project, confirm your goals and document a set of objectives. Employer brand strategies can be influenced by a variety of different stakeholders across the business, so it’s important to confirm your direction of travel at the start of the project.
If you are developing an employer brand strategy to support your recruitment efforts, we recommend using the following metrics to inform your strategy and measure your progress:
- Time to hire: The time taken to hire a candidate, from advertising the role on your careers page through to contract signing
- Cost to hire: The total cost of filling a role. This should take staff time, recruitment software costs and advertising/agency spend into consideration
- Quality of hire: Does the successful candidate have the right skills, attributes and experience for the job? Are they a good fit for your business?
2. Conduct an audit
The next step is to learn more about the status of your employer brand and identify the areas for improvement. Carrying out an audit will enable you to achieve this and find out how your brand is perceived by your target audience.
There are a number of different ways to conduct audience research, depending on your individual needs and circumstances. Methods and options could include:
- Audit your recruitment process: Review your entire recruitment process to assess the cost and effectiveness of each stage. Consider the recruitment marketing channels used, number and quality of the applications received, candidate communications, interviews, candidate drop-off points, recruitment software, use of agencies or head-hunters and quality of hire.
- Conduct a competitor analysis: Identify the companies which you are mostly likely to compete with for staff, and take note of their employee policies, benefits, culture and use of recruitment marketing channels.
- Create candidate personas: Run surveys and focus groups with current and prospective employees, and workshops with senior management, to create a set of candidate personas. A detailed set of candidate personas will outline the characteristics, skills and attributes of the candidates you would like to hire. It will also highlight what they look for in an employer, which channels they engage with, the media they consume, and what their motives and pain points are at work.
3. Produce a compelling employee value proposition
The research carried out in step two will outline how your company is perceived currently, what your target audience is looking for in an employer and how you compare with other organisations.
Now that the gaps have been identified, it’s time to close them! Use the findings from your research to create a compelling employee value proposition (EVP). An EVP outlines the benefits and rewards that a company offers to employees in exchange for their skills, knowledge and contributions. It captures the essence of a company, why it’s unique and what it stands for. EVPs typically address the following areas:
- Work and empowerment
- Benefits and rewards
- Working environment
- Career development
To learn more about writing a compelling EVP for your organisation, read our step-by-step guide.
4. Communicate your EVP
To benefit from creating a compelling and well-researched EVP, it must be communicated effectively and embraced by your employees. Weave the principles of your EVP into company policies and communications, and ensure that your messaging is consistent across all channels, including careers websites, social media, job adverts, applicant information, interview processes, induction packs, staff newsletters, the intranet and your employee handbook.
Consistent messaging will reinforce your EVP, improve employee advocacy and lay the foundations for building a strong employer brand. To learn more about leveraging your EVP for candidate attraction, follow our recommendation for planning a successful recruitment marketing campaign.
5. Evaluate and optimise your new employer brand strategy
Now that your new strategy has been implemented, it’s time to measure the impact and optimise performance. Look at performance in the context of your objectives and troubleshoot any areas that are falling below expectations. Over time, many factors can influence the effectiveness of strategies, so we recommend running regular reports to monitor yours. Keep your reports concise and use numerical data where possible, with a brief commentary to explain any trends or anomalies.
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