How creating an Employer Brand can help you attract the best talent

Posted on Monday, February 19, 2018 by Adrian FosterNo comments

All organisations have, consciously or otherwise, an employer brand. It's the way in which organisations differentiate themselves in a competitive jobs market.

My view, as a recruitment consultant with 20 years experience, is that developing a Strong Employee brand is key to helping businesses compete for the best talent and establish credibility. It will enable them to recruit, retain and engage the right people.

But what exactly is an Employer Brand? What should it look like and how can you make your company appear more attractive to the best talent? This is something that I have been putting a bit of thought into and I wanted to do my own research into what an Employer Brand, or Employee Value Prosposition (EVP) as it sometimes called, should contain. I asked my candidates and clients 9 simple questions via Survey Monkey and this, my latest blog, is based on those results.

First of all, I view an ‘Employer Brand’ as everything that someone might ‘brag’ about when asked why it is so great to work where they do. The University of Canberra (‘Developing an Employee Value Proposition’, 2009) stated that an Employer Brand is “Critical to attracting, retaining and engaging quality people”. The Corporate Leadership council stated that companies with a Strong Employee Value Proposition can improve the commitment of new hires by 29% and increase the likelihood of candidates acting as an advocate for the Employer from 24% to 47%. Most importantly, it can reduce hiring costs by 50%. This all makes sense; a company with a strong Employer Brand will not have to compete on salary alone when hiring staff. After all, an organisation does not want to be in a position where the only way it can hire talent is to pay them more than the company next door.

So what did I find out? What do people value the most? One of my questions was based around how importantly people rated certain benefits when they joined their current employer. Not surprisingly, salary was top of the list for most candidates with 75% rating this as either ‘critical’ or ‘very important’ when they got into their current role. Next up was Feeling Valued/Doing meaningful work (64%), Training/Self Development (63%) and having friendly colleagues (62%) were following just behind.

Surprisingly only 38% of people rated having a bonus or pension contributions as critical or very important when they joined their current employer. Other benefits such as gym membership or car parking were only seen as very important by 6% of people. A few other things surprised me; only 16% of respondents viewed the financial position as a potential employer as vital. Of much more value was the reputation of the company within their marketplace (41%).

I also asked candidates at what stage they consider a prospective employer’s Employer Brand during the recruitment process. I found out that over a third of candidates (34%) check a company’s Employer Brand before making a formal application and over half of all applicants make a judgment prior to interviewing with a company. Imagine how many candidates you could be missing out on if your Employer Brand isn’t communicated effectively enough at an early stage in the recruitment process?

I also discovered that 4 in 5 respondents either didn’t know their Employer’s principal statement on Employer Branding or their Employer didn’t have one. Many companies will have a Mission Statement and various other statements about different part of the business, so why not have a statement about how you wish to drive your Employer Brand? Think of the effect such a statement could have when relayed to people who are considering joining your organisation.

But an Employer Brand should not solely focus on the acquisition of the best new staff – a well thought out Employer Brand will help you retain the best talent that you already have in the building. With this in mind – like most things in business it is important that the effectiveness of an Employer Brand is measured. This can be done via staff surveys, exit interviews and focus groups. Only 28% of respondents stated that they believed their current employer measured the success or otherwise of their Employer Brand.

So to summarise, here are five things I think you might wish to consider when developing your Employer Brand.

One.     Cost.

Developing an Employer Brand need not be expensive. My research showed many people value the opportunity to perform meaningful work, learn new skills and having friendly colleagues as more important than bonuses or pension contributions.

Two.     Relate it to Corporate Strategy.

An Employer Brand should be related to Corporate Strategy. Yes – you should develop a strong Employer Brand but you shouldn’t lose sight of the fact you are a business and financial targets and budgets have to be met.

Three.   Think what else Employees Value.

Don’t consider an Employer Brand as just things that your staff receive. My view is that other factors such as handling the recruitment process professionally and starting the onboarding before an employee starts work all add to a company’s Employer Brand. Think of it this way – what effect does an unprofessional recruitment process have on the way a potential employee views your organisation?

Four.    Inclusivity.

An Employer brand should be inclusive. It must appeal to as many people as possible. Inclusivity, fairness and diversity are key factors you should consider.

Five.     Communicate The Employer Brand Early.

The Employer Brand must be communicated effectively to candidates at every stage during the recruitment process. Particular care should be given to how this is communicated to candidates BEFORE they make an application to your organisation. What do you say in job adverts? What message is communicated online? What are you saying during the recruitment process?

Lastly, remember that an effective Employer Brand will drive down recruitment costs, help with staff retention and attract the best employees to your organisation. Please feel free to get in touch to see how I can help.

Adrian is a Recruitment Consultant with 20 years experience. Please get in touch to find out how we can help your company attract the best talent to your organisation. 

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