A case for building a better Employer Brand

Before launching into today’s topic, here are a few insights into the ever-increasing popularity of employer branding that we should consider.

  • 72% of recruiting leaders worldwide believe that employer branding has an impact on hiring
  • 79% of middle market executives agree that a strong employer brand is essential to their ability to attract top talent
  • 55% of global recruiters have a proactive employer branding strategy

There are a lot of benefits of having a strong employer brand that are becoming apparent with every passing day. Here is a look at a few that you might know and then some more:

  • Financial benefits: According to LinkedIn the companies with a strong employer brand experience a 50% cost-per hire reduction. These companies have also been found to be 2 times faster in filling up any vacancies than their competitors with no employer branding strategy in place. Besides these two factors, employer branding also helps you save money on salaries. Up to 38% of millennials agree that they would not mind a reduction in pay in order to work for a company with a positive employer brand.
  • Positive impact on employee attraction: An understated benefit of your company’s image as a good employer is to be able to attract the top talent in the market. Though the set norm is to offer a candidate a higher compensation, having a strong employer brand gives you more talking points like company culture, work life balance and challenging projects.
  • Company Performance: Organisations with strong employer brand saw revenues grow by 20% and workforce by 12% in 2017. Having an employer brand which shows how focused you are on your people helps you gain a place in the social media books which is where the customers also often see you and interact with you. Employer brand builds a bridge between acquiring talent and driving revenues. Your employees will be the first representatives of your company interacting with customers, be it for answering a query or working on a feedback. An employee who has reaped benefits from employer branding will be a positive and vocal source who will not only ensure that your customers are happy but will be instrumental in bringing in their loyalties.

How do Employee Reviews affect Employer Brand?

The Internet has changed the face of recruitment.

80% of those looking for a job take into account employer reviews before making a career move.

46% of job seekers admit to having taken up a job
only if the employer has got positive reviews on credible websites
like Glassdoor.

More than 40% of job seekers say that before applying for a job they check for at least a 3-star rating for the company.
It is common knowledge that out of all the information that is available to prospective employees, they trust reviews coming from employees past and present. This gives them a chance to peep into the company’s culture, management, compensation and growth opportunities among other things. Many review websites offer employees the opportunity to openly or anonymously review their company, its policies and work ethics.

Turning your employees into your advocates could do wonders for your employer brand. Asking them to write their honest (and ideally favourable) opinion on personal and professional sites or giving their career story a voice in your career page or in a job advertisement could help send out the clear message about you as an employer to prospective employees.

Here is how you can help your employees write positive reviews for your company-

  1. Show them how their review helps the company
  2. Guide them on what to write and how to go about posting it. Assure them of anonymity, no matter what they choose to write
  3. Don’t pressurize them to do it
  4. As much as you might be tempted by the idea of asking them to write all at once, hold your horses and schedule the reviews to spread them over a time period.

Unfortunately, there might be times when you come across some
negativity from your employees- past or present. If that happens
remember to address such issues immediately and as gracefully as
possible. Do not be afraid to own up if you or your team has made
any mistakes.

Company Brand vs Employer Brand- Same Same or Different?

Wherever you might be in the world, if you were to come face to face with the image of a bitten apple, would you be able to recognize the company it represents?  The answer is an obvious YES. Logos like that represent what is generally called the company or the corporate brand. Some people confuse this company brand with the employer brand. While every company has a corporate brand, only 27% brands have been found to have an employer brand. Jump right in to find out what sets the two kinds apart:

  1. Audience: While corporate branding has an ancient history and is accepted as important for success, employer branding has been gaining import since the past couple of decades. Company branding talks to the external audience about what the company does and its products and services while the employer brand of the company addresses those who work with the company and tell them about what the company stands for and how they stand to gain from the company while working for it. Easily we can assume the company brand speaking to the world around it, while the employer brand engages just the select few.
  2. Branding communication: While there is a lot of scope for corporate branding- we see it everywhere from big billboards to the taxi doors; on TV and radio as well as the big screen; communication regarding employer branding is rather niche. This can only be done on career pages and sites, job ads and descriptions, company reviews and social media. The aim of the company brand messages is to try to sell products whereas the target of the employer brand messages is to hire the right kind of people and retain them.
  3. Engagement: The engagement of your target audience with your company brand maybe short term and/ or transactional in nature, but your employees are intimately engaged with you and that too for a longer time period. You might not choose to put everything your company stands for in one message tailored for your company brand but while tailoring a message for your employer brand you need to communicate the values, culture and the mission of the company very clearly to ensure a sustainable engagement with your audience.

How to develop a strong Employee Value Proposition?

An employer value proposition has become the key to create and implement an effective strategy to hire and retain the right kind of talent. According to Universum, a New York based global employer branding firm, 84%of the world’s top 100 employers, according to college students, had an attractive Employee Value Proposition (EVP).

When clearly defined and consistent, it helps you ace the war of talent. It strikes a neat balance between tangible awards- benefits and salary; as well as intangible awards like great company culture and meaningful projects to work upon. Here are a few points to bear in mind while developing your EVP:

  • Dissect and define: Look at all the data that is available to you- employee engagement, recruitment and retention stats and exit interviews. To define your EVP you will have to analyse all this to find out what is it that defines your company. Why do people like to work for you or why they left you? Based on this, craft your value proposition which conveys the employee experience and brand’s commitment to current and future employees.
  • Align: Make sure that the proposition that you are honing is employee- centric. You will need to work on making sure that the company’s EVP is in line with the business objectives. To be able to execute it and to reap its benefits the EVP should also be able to support and garner support from the HR strategy of the company.
  • Add a pinch of Unique: It is estimated that 87% of employees value learning and personal development the most. By offering them chances at new trainings, flexible work hours, new locations or roles, you can make sure that your EVP stands out where everybody else is also trying to offer something similar.
  • Deliver: Studies show that organisations that deliver on their EVP can increase new hire commitment by 30%. Not only that, these companies also save about 70% in terms of annual employee turnover. The intent and message of your EVP should be conveyed at every possible opportunity be it your recruitment adverts or remuneration discussions. 

What can Amazon teach you about Employer Branding?

Out of 19,439 Amazon employees- current and former- who submitted reviews on Glassdoor, 74 per cent say that they would recommend the company to a friend. From being an online bookstore, some 20 years ago to being everywhere today – the marketplace, music, movies and games to cloud servers and scientific storage, Amazon has grown magnificently- all the while maintaining an attractive reputation as an employer. Let us take a leaf from the Amazon book and look at 3 easy employer branding tactics that have helped Amazon become the second largest private-sector employer in the United States.

  1. Offering a chance to be heard: We are aware of the million-dollar revenue that Amazon’s cloud computing business generates but not many would know that the idea for this business model did not come from Jeff Bezos. In fact, it came from an employee who had been with the company just a year. Bezos recognised the potential in it and put Benjamin Black, who had come up with this idea, and his manager to work on it. Amazon prides itself on a culture that fosters employee
    engagement. Whatever the level they might be working at, the employees know that they are important enough to be given a hearing.
  2. Be open to experimenting: Amazon allows its employees to take risks, experiment and even fail, so long as they don’t risk blunders that can’t be repaired. It encourages employees to carve their own career paths and offers great flexibility in terms of moves between departments and roles.
  3. Keeping it interesting for the employees: In a LinkedIn survey this year Amazon has toppled Google off the top spot as the best place of work in the world. The frugality for which it had earned a black eye in 2015, has been fully embraced. Amazon today attracts employees on the basis of the dynamic environment it provides where there is no dearth of interesting problems to solve or opportunities to build.

Employer Branding to the Rescue-Turning Employees into BRAND AMBASSADORS

At The Cheesecake Factory restaurants all-staff meals and impromptu menu tastings are a regular feature.  This is done with 2 things in mind.

  1. To acquaint the staff with what’s on the menu and
  2. To get their feedback on the restaurant’s fresh offerings

It will not take an expert to see the multiple ways in which this tactic works in favour of the very popular restaurant chain but maybe the most important thing that they gain from this is utilizing their employees as their brand ambassadors. Knowing what the restaurants are offering and being convinced about how good it is inspires and motivates the employees to go the extra mile for the customer and in turn for the company.

When taken into confidence, the employees turn into brand ambassadors. This gives your company a successful image as an employer, attracting the right kind of people and giving them plenty of reasons to stick around- a sign that the company is a preferred place of work. About 49 per cent of companies look at this employee engagement as a sign of good employer branding.

Let us look at another company Civitas Learning. It uses its mission statement- Use Your Power For Good- right at the top of its career page, leaving no doubt about what it is that they are working to achieve. Doing this helps in communicating what lies at the heart of the company to anybody new coming there looking for a job as well as communicating the company’s ethos wide across.

A poll from CR Magazine and Cielo Talent shows that 50 per cent of employees would not want to work with a company that does not enjoy a good reputation as an employer brand. So much so that even a bigger salary would not take them there or make them stay.

Both these examples also go on to show that employer branding- how you are viewed as an employer, an image that lives in the hearts and heads of your past, present and future employees- can help you turn your employees into your advocates. This keeps them motivated and inspired to give their best to the company. Recognizing your employees for their efforts can again lead to word of mouth branding for your business as well as improving performances.

So, you see, once you begin in investing your employer brand, your employees turn into your brand ambassadors going the extra mile for you and the company.