In today’s competitive job market, there might be plenty of candidates lining up and waiting for interviews for a position at a prime organization.
However, that doesn’t mean that these are the most ideal candidates on the market.
It’s no knock on the current individuals seeking employment. But as specific positions increase in expertise, pay, responsibilities, and overall impact on the company, it becomes increasingly more challenging to find the right fit.
So, businesses face a unique challenge. Top-level talents aren’t going to burst through doors desperately looking for employment after reading a job posting on LinkedIn, so it’s important to incorporate the right employee branding strategies through communication.
The fact is, most top-notch professionals already work well-paid jobs in prominent positions they deem fulfilling. They aren’t fervently sending out resumes and cover letters to anyone who’ll accept them.
Furthermore, if they’re considering a change in their workplace, the chances are these gifted people are already in talks with another respected organization. And it’s likely a result of recruitment efforts as opposed to job hunting.
What’s crucial is how organizations present – or brand – themselves to humanize themselves and create personal connection.
Now, that sounds like how businesses market their products to consumers. And for a good reason. Extremely talented employees are as valuable or more valuable to an organization as consumers. Instead of thinking candidates are just happy to have a shot at a job, it’s time to start shifting the employer-employee paradigm towards a brand-consumer dynamic.
What will really make an employer branding strategy stand out is emphasizing the way you build relationships and personal connections. Potential employees do not just want to see a boring laundry list of company perks, but a thoughtful explanation of a business where they’re likely to stay.
After all, it’s through these unique minds that organizations thrive in the long run.
Let’s take a deep dive into this topic.
Employment Brand Examples: Taking a Lesson from the Sporting World
Professional sports provide a shining example of the effectiveness of how employment branding helps recruit top talent.
Teams with savvy marketing that know how to leverage fanbases, location, facilities, and history, attract elite players.
Organizations that show players that they’re willing to bend over backwards to meet their demands are the ones that attract premier talent as well. This is a marketing strategy that builds on personal connections to drive communication.
Interestingly, in many sports, (such as the NBA), the power is 100% in the hands of the star players. And realistically, the business landscape is similar in 2019. Where most of the workforce consists of millennials, who change jobs more often than any previous generation, costing the U.S.$30.5 billion in turnover, annually.
It’s no coincidence that the star athletes in the NBA are also millennials.
This is a generation that’s perfectly aware of their own worth.
As such, the cream of the crop will select the company that sells them on the opportunity, the why and personal connection —not the company that acts like they’re doing a candidate a favor just by offering them an interview.
The Proof Is in the Pudding
One of the most effective ways of recruiting top talent is as straightforward as it gets—be a great place to work the focuses on strong relationships and personal connection. That’s how the top companies set themselves apart as an attractive employer brand.
Savvy candidates will catch on fast to a toxic environment that takes advantage of employees, and run the other way. There are even stories where talent has refused job offers because of the poor behavior displayed by management during the interview. While this form of corporate communication does not occur through official marketing channels, the behavior of management clues potential employees in to the way people interact within a company.
Yes, employment branding and marketing strategies are wholly necessary for ensuring that quality candidates are enticed to apply. However, effective recruitment starts internally. If current employees love their jobs and feel strong relationships with those around them, word will spread.
More specifically, in today’s landscape, job reviews on sites like Glassdoor are more prevalent than ever. Organizations can’t be passive part in the process. No, that doesn’t mean coaxing employees into writing positive reviews. It means building strong relationships to create personal connection, giving them every possible reason to write sparkling reviews that attract ideal candidates.
That could involve anything from implementing a “bring your dogs to work” policy to putting a ping pong table in the break room. Before you do either of these things, it is important to communicate with and talk to current employees and ask them what they want instead of just doing it haphazardly. Then, it’ll be something that harnesses a fulfilling and empathetic work environment.
Also, don’t squeeze every ounce of juice out of current team members. Because in 2019, work-life balance has become a pressing issue. Millennials want jobs that support their lifestyle, and that can’t be done when 12-14-hour-days are the norm. Ensure that you communicate regularly with your employees and pay attention to their work load so that they are performing efficiently and do not feel overwhelmed. If they work at a steady pace, they are more likely to stay with your company and even help you attract future employees.
Remember, word of mouth is everything to today’s most viable candidates when it comes to employer branding. This form of talent branding rests on the knowledge that job seekers rely on recommendations more than any other generation. With more online sources about employee satisfaction than ever, they will do their research on organizations before deciding where they’re going to work. People care about purpose driven companies more than ever
Companies can do their best to manufacture employment branding strategies that convince candidates they’ve cultivated a fantastic professional environment. But the one guaranteed way to make this happen is to establish a fruitful, exciting, and thriving place to work by building strong, personal connections.
Why Use Other Employer Branding Strategies?
With strong principles and practices, any company will be an optimal spot for top talents. Still, even with an army of employees writing positive reviews, it may not be enough to attract ideal candidates.
These branding strategies must be multi-layered. So, one facet of branding could be incentivizing employees to leave positive reviews on websites like Glassdoor – but that’s only one piece of the puzzle. What’s most important is that you strengthen personal connection with your employees from the very beginning so that these reviews essentially write themselves.
It’s reported that organizations who invest in a comprehensive employer branding are 3x more likely to make a quality hire. Also, companies with a strong employer brand see a decrease in hiring costs than those with weaker strategies.
How to Create an Employer Branding Strategy
Here are five steps to follow that’ll help establish a strong employer branding strategy:
- Employers need to know the exact purpose of what they’re trying to do, or else the plan will remain aimless
- Overall goals can be to get more applicants, get more high-quality candidates, increase candidate engagement, etc.
Craft a candidate persona:
- Candidate personas are an employer’s most desired talent
- It allows organizations to target marketing messages and job descriptions accurately
Establish an employee value proposition (EVP)
- Utilizing an HR marketing strategy, the employee value proposition is why candidates seek out a company and stay there for the long haul
- It’s usually comprised of factors such as compensation, benefits, career, work environment, and culture
- The EVP targets the ideal candidate persona
Figure out the channels to promote the employer brand
- Where is the target candidate most likely to be reached?
- There are a multitude of touchpoints with candidates before they’re hired
- Some options are:
- Social media
- Job posting websites
- Current employees
- Inbound recruiting
- Job ads
- Application Process
Establish metrics and assess the effectiveness of strategies
- Like any business practice, it’s integral to find a way to measure success and assess the efficiency of any initiative
- Regularly examine whether the employer branding is producing the best results and make changes where necessary
Using All the Available Tools for Employer Branding
With a well-managed employer brand, 94% of applicants are likely to apply to a position. The same research shows that 91% of candidates won’t apply to employer brands with a weak web presence.
Potential employees want to see that organizations care about their image. When companies don’t take advantage of the wealth of digital resources, such as social media, blogs, videos, etc., this acts as a red flag. People (especially top performers) don’t want to work for companies that are behind the times and don’t seem interested in maintaining an employer brand image.
Conversely, companies that continually promote internal events and produce engaging web content will put on full display that they’re ideal employers. Furthermore, candidates want to see employer brands that give employees a voice and possess innovative, imaginative mindsets.
Without utilizing the tools of today, an employer brand will seem archaic, behind the times, and undesirable. With digital resources abound, it should be clear that potential employees place a high value on communication; it’s up to your company to create a digital and personal strategy to speak to these needs.
Attracting Passive Candidates
The primary obstacle when seeking elite talent is that these people already have well-paying jobs and likely aren’t looking for anything new.
Unfortunately, those are the exact people organizations need to reach the next level. Sure, there are diamonds in the rough out there. But businesses require leaders with proven track records for success who’ll pave the way for everyone else. It’s only from there that internal efforts can develop and sustain top-performing teams.
These enticing individuals are known as passive candidates. The sought-after people who other businesses attempt to woo with well-worded LinkedIn messages and (in some cases) expensive dinners with a big sales pitch. By building strong relationships and personal connection, you are more likely to attract passive candidates in the future. If a passive candidate consistently comes across positive messaging from you even when that candidate is not actively seeking a job, they are more likely to remember you when they are seeking a new position more actively.
First and foremost, a good employment branding strategy starts with reaching out to somebody through an online resource. Most likely, it’d be on LinkedIn or through email, depending on how the contact information was obtained. This initial touchpoint should include the following:
- An introduction to the recruiter and the company
- Reasons for reaching out and why this move would benefit the candidate
- Reasons why the position is relevant to their experience
- Which aspects of their resume make them a good fit for the job
It sounds like a sales email, but a recruitment message requires strong employer branding and should reflect the organization in the most favorable light. A recruitment message is a small facet of corporate communication, but it will create the first impression of your company to a potential hiring prospect.
Beyond personalized messaging, employee referral programs are probably one of the most effective employment branding initiatives to recruiting passive candidates. Enthusiastic employees doing everything in their power to bring somebody on board will monumentally bolster a brand’s image. Of course, that means going beyond the HR department to attract passive candidates.
Throughout this process of converting passive candidates into lucrative hires, it’s essential to keep in mind that they have most of the power. Don’t expect them to have a resume on hand or to be prepared for skill-testing questions.
Alternatively, it’s the organization that should do enough brand planning to be ready to answer the tough questions and prove why they’re worthy. It’s the candidate who’s being sold on making a significant change in their career path.
Social Media is Integral to Employer Branding
A LinkedIn survey shows that 50% of all professionals follow a brand on social media to find out about employment opportunities.
Now, it’s all well and good to open a plethora of social media accounts and post without rhyme, reason, or rhythm. However, there’s a need to be calculated and strategic with each piece of messaging to attract quality candidates.
On social media, brands must be conscious of crafting an authentic voice – not one that’s littered with HR buzz-speak. It should also be friendly, approachable, unique, and consistent. Brands should utilize a corporate communication strategy that speaks to why their employees are satisfied, and why future employees will want to stay. Instead of using bland hiring lingo, tune in to relationship-building between current workers and what positive things they have to say.
Consistency in employment branding is most critical because the same people aren’t necessarily making all the posts. But each piece of messaging must be uniform and seem like it’s made by the same person.
Plus, the voice of an employer brand must speak directly to the candidate persona.
Then, there’s the matter of sharing engaging content, which can be anything from photos of office space to educational videos and workshops, etc. Either way, the content needs to tell a captivating brand story and create personal connection.
Also, it’s a top priority to spark a conversation with audiences and respond to their questions and observations.
Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter are the most mainstream social media channels to post from. Choose one or two of the platforms—trying to post from all the options will over-extend messaging efforts and hamper the quality of the content.
Whereas, streamlining content towards the one or two platforms where the candidate persona spends the majority of their time is the most sound strategy.
Conclusion: Shore Up Employer Branding Strategies and Hire the Right People
It’s time to see job candidates as consumers and employers as products. This kind of employment branding is the only way organizations can hire top performers who’ll take them to the next level and set them apart from the competition. Employer branding is the most vital part of establishing a workplace as the proverbial ‘place to be.’
But employer branding won’t take care of itself. It requires careful forethought and a concerted strategy that encompasses various forms of active and passive recruitment. While ensuring that current employees feel fulfilled to encourage word-of-mouth branding is a necessity, there’s a need to strengthen other facets of the process. That means crafting a multi-layered strategy and consistently adjusting and amending to meet the inclinations of the candidate persona. Think of employer branding as one of the most important forms ofcorporate communication. By showing how you interact with current employees, you can leave a good impression on future employees as a company with strong relationships and a knack for building personal connections.
To find out how your company can craft effective employment branding, and for helpful educational tools, visit VP Legacies to see how we can help. Create change in your company for higher employee and customer retention by remembering that people matter.
Related: Employment Branding