Today’s job candidates are being more discerning about prospective employers than ever before — and for good reason. The competition for top talent has never been more ferocious.
This highly competitive talent market calls for wide-reaching recruiting efforts that are increasingly modeled on best practices from the digital marketing world. And just as building strong brand recognition is a foundational part of marketing, establishing your reputation as a great employer is increasingly important for digital recruiting.
Professionals have always sought counsel and guidance when evaluating potential employers, tapping into current and past employees, company news, and salary trends. Employer brand should be a critical part of that evaluation — but defining, building, and managing an employer brand is difficult, and the path to achieving a strong brand can be unclear.
To get there, leaders need to master the three pillars of employer branding.
What is an Employer Brand Strategy?
An employer brand strategy is a framework used to build your company’s reputation and share it with the broader talent pool along with existing employees. This reputation, or employer brand, should consistently communicate why your company is the right fit for anyone.
Your employer branding strategy should bring your brand as an employer to life by considering the following:
- The company’s vision, mission, and values
- Perceptions of the employer brand for both existing and external employees
- A well-defined employee value proposition that speaks to the broader candidate pool
- A well-thought-out plan and method to market roles to candidates
- Alignment between the employer brand and company brand
- Supportive HR and management practices
- Tracking and measuring recruitment metrics
The Key Pillars of an Employer Brand Strategy
The process of establishing a successful employer brand strategy relies on three critical elements. These three pillars work together to build your company’s brand from the inside out.
1. Establish Your Internal Branding Process
Building a successful brand starts with an internal process that defines what your business stands for when it comes to hiring and retaining employees. Like all important processes, the work of branding will change over time as a business grows and its identity as a workplace evolves.
Human resources departments typically lead the way on employer branding. Your branding process must be based on a feedback loop from existing employees and the talent in your pipeline, as well as prospective employees who might be considering a role or passive candidates who you are trying to recruit.
The branding process considers several factors that crystalize into what your employer brand stands for, including the product or service offering, company size, the company’s overall marketing brand identity, hiring practices, and business objectives, but perhaps most importantly, your company culture.
“Before you talk about what makes for a successful employer brand, you have to talk about what makes for a successful company culture,” says Jason Nazar, CEO of Comparably, a leading recruitment marketing, and employer branding platform.
It’s important to ensure that your branding process authentically reflects your company’s core values so that candidates can get a sense of what it might be like to work there.
2. Be Strategic About Recruitment Marketing Practices
Your company might have a lot to offer prospective candidates, but it’s equally important to get this message out to them. Recruitment marketing, as the name suggests, is the process of increasing employer brand awareness and recognition among the broader talent pool.
This is typically done via job sites, professional social media networks, and employer review platforms such as Comparably. A well-managed recruitment marketing campaign is a sure-fire way to attract and keep the interest of top talent. Just like consumer marketing attracts buyers to your company’s products and services, recruitment marketing attracts candidates and nurtures talent for your company
“Recruitment marketing is the way you tell your employer brand story to the market. In a competitive market, a strong recruitment marketing strategy attracts the right candidates at scale,” says Robert Daugherty, senior vice president of talent acquisition at ZoomInfo.
3. Empower Employees to Grow Your Employer Brand
Employer brand is all about your company’s reputation as a place to work, and nothing grows that reputation better than word-of-mouth from your existing employees. However, before you can ask your employees to be brand ambassadors, you need to make sure they really are satisfied in their work.
This means monitoring worker satisfaction and ensuring that employees are happy and engaged. HR teams that consistently survey employees to gauge their satisfaction with compensation, benefits, and culture are more likely to fix the problems in their workplace and retain their best employees because they feel seen and heard.
Creating an employer brand so strong that your employees become ambassadors and are willing to share their positive experiences on social media and review sites is one of the most valuable ways to showcase your employer brand.
Share Your Employer Value Proposition Through Your Employer Branding Strategy
Your employer brand-building takes place through a combination of your internal employer branding process, recruitment marketing practices, and ability to retain employees who spread the word that your company is a great place to work.
“Employer brand impacts everything in the daily life of recruiters. It defines how we recruit, where we recruit, and who we recruit. Employer brand also determines a candidate’s interest in your company as they go through the recruitment lifecycle,” says Kayt Kelley, senior talent acquisition manager at ZoomInfo.
No matter the size or industry of your company, your employer value proposition is a critical factor in appealing to job candidates during the recruitment process.
Companies that commit to establishing a strong employer branding strategy and creating a great candidate experience are most likely to cement their reputation as great employers — an asset that many consider priceless in a historically tight labor market.