How to carve and market your employer brand

Earlier this year we produced a blog that detailed why businesses need to take control of their employer brand. In this blog, we outline how you can create that employer brand and market it successfully to make you an employer of choice.

Read ‘Employer Branding: Why you need to take control’

Employer branding – a recap

An employer brand is the reputation a business has as a place of work and how it is viewed as an employer. This includes recruitment and onboarding processes, salaries and benefits, career progression, culture, staff retention, and what previous employees have to say about you.

Word of mouth is still a powerful force: your employer brand can be impacted by the way that you communicate and work with suppliers, vendors and third-party agencies.

If you gain a reputation for treating employees and individuals poorly, you may begin to find that you aren’t attracting high-quality candidates and, as a result, business will suffer. An inability to retain staff can lead to unrest among the workforce and client base. Alongside this, recruitment costs will begin to soar, eating into budgets or profits.

How to build a strong employer brand

Put simply, branding is about storytelling. It’s these stories that are going to engage potential candidates. You need to share these stories consistently, keeping your business at the forefront of individual’s mind, whether they are actively searching for a new role or not.

Storytelling helps you to break away from the crowd. By telling the stories of your current employees and their experiences, and sharing snippets of company culture, you will attract engaged candidates that already have an insight into what it is like to work for the business.

Create your message

As part of your marketing, it’s likely that you carefully consider your vision and mission statement, brand personality and value position for your target customers. You should put the same kind of thought into how you attract and retain your employees. Your employer brand message should be authentic and honest, something that can be fulfilled, and not empty marketing messages.

To build trust, the tone and messaging should be consistent through all communications. This includes any written copy, advertising, video content and personal interactions with your recruitment team – whether that is an in-house HR department or a recruitment agency.

The employer and business brand should be aligned and interconnected, because they will impact each other.

Consider your culture

Culture fit is recognised as an extremely important part of recruitment and HR. Many businesses want candidates that not only have experience and expertise, but also an attitude and set of values that are aligned with their company culture.

However, to foster a culture that you are proud of, you first need to define the kind of culture you want. Your company culture will be the foundation of your employer brand, and you will need the entire team to be engaged to nurture it.

Understand how your brand is perceived

To understand what you are currently working with, you need to strive to understand what is being said about your business as an employer.

Sometimes a quick Google search will help you to build a picture of your current image as an employer. Social media channels and platforms such as Glassdoor will also be valuable tools, providing feedback and giving you a place to start when building a picture of your current employer brand.

You could also conduct anonymous staff surveys to guide you further. To further monitor this, conduct exit interviews.

Third parties

In order to ensure that your employer brand remains consistent, it is imperative that you work with third party agencies that have a great understanding of your employer brand and what you want to achieve. For instance, when working with a recruitment agency, you need peace of mind that they will represent your business to potential candidates in the correct way.

Create brand advocates

Happy employees will be the best brand advocates you can find. This is because they are considered to be authentic and trustworthy. In fact, previous research featured in The Drum found that over 80% of individuals place their trust in peer-to-peer recommendations over other forms of advertising.

This highlights the importance of having every single employee engaged with your employer brand strategy. Give them the freedom to use their personal social media accounts to amplify your employer brand, while building their own personal brand. This in turn, helps to build your employer brand by demonstrating trust and support.

Consider internal communication. How are you communicating with your entire team? Do you have daily, weekly or monthly business meetings where updates are shared with the team, and they can raise concerns or good news stories? Do you use internal social media groups or platforms such as Teams or Yammer? Employees don’t want to be kept in the dark, this only leads to mistrust and frustration, which in turn leads to toxicity.  Not a good recipe for creating brand advocates.

Leveraging your employees as case studies, in either written or video form that can be used across your website, on social media, for any PR or recruitment drive activities will enable you to tell their personal brand story.

Candidates are the new clients

In the job market candidates are effectively ‘window shopping’ their potential employers, in the same way that a customer or client would approach working with you.

You must approach the candidate experience in the same way that you would approach a customer experience. Consider your ‘about us’ content: what is your value proposition for potential candidates? Use employee testimonials like customer testimonials and think about what makes you stand out from other employers.

This, in turn, means you should treat your current employees in the same way you treat your current customers.

Bad employers are spoken about for years to come and will tarnish your employer brand.

Digital transformation

Embracing new technology with service to improve the way you communicate with both current employees and candidates. Data insights will enable you to view how your content and messaging is influencing behaviour, and act accordingly. It will also allow you to learn more about your audience and create targeted and personalised messaging and experiences.

There is also a range of automation platforms that can aid in automating marketing to candidates and the messaging and material they view, while elements such as machine learning and chatbots can help answer candidate questions.

Make it meaningful and market your brand

As with poorly thought-out corporate brands, a transparent employer brand is easy to spot. It will be felt by your customers and it will be obvious to candidates. Approach your employer brand with commitment and dedication and add depth.

Your employer brand should move beyond words and be evident in the actions and behaviours of everyone within the company. It should have a well-planned annual strategy including elements such as social media, internal PR, events, employee satisfaction surveys and regular communication such as email newsletters to keep in touch with potential future candidates.

Create a strategy that aims to build a pool of potential talent in the same way you market yourselves to an audience of prospects that aren’t yet customers.

About the Author

Anne Corder

Anne Corder

Owner

Whilst still actively handling recruitment assignments, Anne specialises in Human Resources with many years of experience in that sector. She blogs on wider recruitment issues affecting both candidates and clients, commenting and offering tips and advice to help achieve the right outcomes.