Your employer brand is what a job seeker thinks of when they hear your company’s name – it’s the reason they would potentially want to work for you. As the war for top talent continues, the competition between employers goes way beyond salary and benefits, and an employer branding campaign is the weapon of choice.
Google is the ideal example. It broadcasts its value to potential employees through everything from a “Life at Google” social media campaign to a 2013 movie. And while their nap pods and beanies might elicit some ridicule, Google has been ranked as a top employer for years.
The problem with employer branding is that it’s not something you can start thinking about when you’re ready to hire. It takes time to identify your company’s unique value, cultivate your message, and disseminate it outward – and constantly reevaluating and updating your employer brand is crucial to appealing to the ever-evolving world of job seekers. It’s worth it, though. According to a 2015 CareerArc study, 75% of job seekers consider a company’s employer brand before they will even apply.
In short: now is the time to build, and expand, your employer brand.
Creating or updating your brand
The first step is to evaluate the message you’re currently sending out: in other words, how are you currently seen by job seekers? To learn this, you need feedback – from within your company, and from outside – to assess your strengths and weaknesses.
Get feedback from within
Start with a review of your company’s mission statement and vision. Why does your company do what it does every day, and how does this drive your company values and behaviours? Next, tap into your most valuable resource: your current employees. Use polls, surveys, and focus groups to see how your company is perceived by its current workforce. Be sure to speak with a mix of new and longer-term workers, and include some anonymous surveys to ensure honest feedback. Here is what you should be looking to learn:
– What are the most attractive qualities of your company to current employees?
– What are the biggest employee complaints?
– Do employees feel challenged? Rewarded? Valued?
– Is your compensation and benefits perceived as competitive?
– How do new hires rate your candidate experience?
– What are your current employees like? What are they up to at work?
Evaluate outside sources
When looking for external feedback, start with social media listening – it takes time, but it’s a useful (and free) resource for evaluating your employer brand. From there, expand your search to blogs, message boards, and even media sources like newspapers and magazines. Employer review websites like Glassdoor are another useful resource: you can receive unfiltered feedback from past and present employees (usually anonymously), but you can also see what questions job seekers are asking about your company and similar employers. Here is what you should be looking to learn:
– What are the current perceptions of your organization?
– Are you being praised or criticized? What for?
– What are the most attractive attributes of your company to candidates?
– What roles within your companies are the most coveted?
– How do applicants rate your candidate experience?
Once you have this feedback, you can evaluate your current employer brand and how you want to update it. First, look for information that is incorrect or outdated. Next, identify information that needs a bigger push (if you’re seeing lots of potential candidates asking about your mentorship program, for example, then it probably needs to be communicated better). And when it comes to employee culture, the key is being honest about who you are and what you have to offer as a company. Don’t force Thirsty Thursdays just for the photo op – let things happen organically. The more authentic you are, the more you’ll attract and retain the right employees for your business.
Communicating your brand
Next, you need to decide how you will communicate your message outward. There are a lot of tactics for disseminating your employer brand, from the traditional career page to more casual social media outlets, and using a combination offers the best reach.
A company career page provides information on your company’s benefits, culture, mission, vision, and career opportunities, all from one place. This is a one-stop-shop for potential candidates, so it’s important to make it dynamic and engaging. L’Oreal, for example, has an entire separate site for job seekers; it tells the company’s story through a variety of voices, from its human resources team giving interview advice to a general manager musing on his career path. (Not sure where to start? Let us do the hard work with Hire360, a branded career page built, hosted, and maintained by Workopolis.)
Whether you embed video in your career page or get a full YouTube channel going, video is a dynamic and highly shareable way to showcase your company culture. You can go for a hard sell with a full recruitment video, or tell smaller stories, like employee spotlights or “a day in the life.” The more creative they are, the more likely they’ll catch the eye of potential candidates. Last year, for example, GE used a series of funny YouTube videos to attract the younger tech crowd.
Selling your company to new talent is a lot easier when it comes from the staff, not the bosses. Appoint Employee Ambassadors to champion your brand over social media, through word-of-mouth, and via testimonials for your career page. Nokia, for example, has employee video blogs on its career page, where various staff members “guide you around the workplace that they love.”
Using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms helps to keep your company relevant and top-of-mind for talented candidates. There’s a seemingly endless list of ways for you to engage future job seekers, from a hashtag on Twitter (Starbucks uses #sbuxjobschat for conversations about what it’s like to work there) to eye candy on Instagram (Zappos posts pictures of volunteering, parties, office traditions, and more).
Feeling overwhelmed? For a step-by-step guide to developing and expanding your employer brand on social media, download our free eGuide: Building your employer brand with social media. Here’s a sneak preview:
Blogs on employee life are always a sure-fire winner. Active and passive candidates alike want to learn about every little thing that makes your workplace unique, and what your employees are doing throughout the day. Keeping a blog up to date is a lot of work, but the content usually has a long shelf life – and it’s a great way to announce major changes to your employee perks (like when Fullcontact started offering its employees a $7,500 vacation each year).
The most important thing to remember is that updating and expanding your employer brand takes time, but it’s worth it. Selling yourself to talented individuals, and turning those individuals into meaningful hires, will be invaluable to your company in the long run.
(Feature image via Google)