How to Create a Powerful Employer Brand That Enhances Talent Acquisition
“Acquiring the right talent is the most important key to growth. Hiring was - and still is - the most important thing we do.”
Marc Bennioff, Founder, Chairman, and co-CEO of Salesforce
It’s 2023 and the business landscape has never been so cutthroat. Companies across all sectors are creating and refining hiring processes to acquire the talent needed to propel them closer to their goals. Yet no matter how far and wide they cast the net, the success of their talent acquisition depends on the strength of their employer brand. Recent studies highlight that:
- 84% of job seekers will consider an employer’s reputation before applying for a job (Glassdoor)
- 92% of people would contemplate changing jobs if presented with an opportunity from a strong employer brand (HR Daily Advisor)
In other words, employer brand is the magnet that pulls ideal candidates towards your business. Jennifer Paxton writes on Recruitment Marketing that
“An employer brand is the outward expression of your company’s internal employee experience.”
If an employer's brand is powerful enough, the company can revel in the riches of a talented workforce that enhances creativity, improves employee retention, and boosts productivity levels. They may even be faced with too many quality applications (a fortunate problem that can be overcome by using AI to improve your pre-hire assessments).
Let’s look at exactly how you can create the employer brand of your dreams while enhancing your talent acquisition efforts.
Conduct an Employer Brand Audit to Gather Data
Start with a brand audit. An employer brand audit will help you understand how your company is perceived by potential and current employees, identifying your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT).
It’s an investigation. So let's begin. Grab a notepad and pen and just write down responses to the following statements from your point of view:
- How do we convey our employer message?
- Is our message effective?
- What is the perception of our company?
- How do our competitors approach candidate communication?
- Is their strategy successful?
- What actions could we initiate, cease, and/or maintain?
With an overview of your employer brand's position in the market, go ahead and follow the steps below to round out the development your employer brand audit.
Define the Objectives
Identify your objectives and what specific aspects of your employer brand you want to audit. For example, this could be employer reputation, employee value proposition, candidate experience, or employee engagement.
Conduct Employee Interviews and Surveys
Engage with current employees through interviews or surveys to understand their perception of the employer brand. Ask them about their experiences, motivations, and what they believe sets the organization apart as an employer.
Analyze External Perception
Analyze external sources of information to gauge the perception of your employer's brand in the market. This could involve reviewing online reviews, social media mentions, candidate feedback, and industry rankings or awards.
Benchmark Against Competitors
Research and benchmark your employer brand against competitors in your industry. Analyze their employer branding strategies, recruitment processes, employee benefits, and overall reputation. Glassdoor is a good place too look for your overall reputation scores next to competitors.
Identify Strengths and Weaknesses
Based on the gathered data and insights, identify the strengths and weaknesses of your employer brand. Determine what sets your organization apart as an employer and where improvements are needed. Consider factors such as company culture, career development opportunities, work-life balance, compensation, and benefits.
Develop Actionable Recommendations
Based on the identified strengths and weaknesses, develop actionable recommendations to enhance your employer brand. Work with a project manager to help implement recommendations over time and across departments.
Define an Employer Value Proposition to Create an Offer
With your brand audit fresh in your mind, it's time to go back to basics -your value proposition as an employer, aka your employer value proposition (EVP). Your EVP is a proposal that outlines the advantages of being employed by your company. These could include perks like:
- Salary packages
- Career progression
- Mental health support
- Discounts to fitness centres, etc.
- Social events and community
The benefits you offer will shape the perception of your brand and will influence the amount of talent you can attract - the better your offer is, the more pull you'll have in the hiring market.
Crafting a compelling EVP first begins with identifying the exact personnel you want to attract. Are you looking for somebody to fill in a tech role or a creative role? This is important because both candidates will have different interests regarding career progression, salary, and working conditions. Every candidate is different but your EVP strategy should remain the same, which is to play to your strengths.
Ask your employees what they love about your business and weave it into your EVP. Seek critical feedback and pinpoint the areas you could work on. Who knows, you might uncover a hidden strength that all of your employees value, cherish and champion amongst their friends and colleagues.
Bring them all to the forefront and lead with them in your offer. Heads will be turned. Candidates will take note. And many will send a job application. It’s a crucial step that will only be made possible by putting the time in to develop your EVP,.
And with all of this data, you will build a compelling offer that aligns with the needs and wants of your ideal candidate.
To ensure that your EVP hits the bullseye, make sure to answer important questions honestly such as:
- What types of financial compensation and benefits will be appealing to attract suitable candidates?
- What professional development opportunities are sought after by my ideal employees?
- What kind of work environment is appealing to my employees based on their preferences? Can we realistically offer that to them (ie. full-time remote work)?
Use Employee Advocacy to Instill Trust
Next you need to walk the walk. You can just tell people what your EVP is, you have to live it.
Imagine bottling the enthusiasm of your employees and allowing them to pour praise of your business onto social media. This is employee advocacy and it’s used to instill trust, enhance credibility, and shape the way people perceive your brand, as supported by Matt Charney, CEO of ClearCompany:
“Employer branding is the process of influencing how people perceive your company as a place to work."
It’s the new trend that many businesses are catching onto.
But what do the stats say?
One study from Hinge Marketing reported that 79% of firms surveyed experienced more online visibility after investing in an employee advocacy program, with 65% stating an increase in brand recognition.
And in another, Business2Community reported that brand messages are shared 24 times more frequently when employees distribute them through employee advocacy, compared with the brand that shares them.
The message is clear - self-aggrandizing statements from the brand are less powerful than employees who publicly champion your business. In the eyes of the audience, the employee is sovereign and isn’t ruled by a corporate agenda, making their words appear more sincere and genuine.
This is significant because it amplifies your brand message as well as serving as evidence of your commitment to empowering employees. Another advantage is that it can spread your reach: 76% of participants in a survey expressed a higher inclination to trust content shared by individuals rather than content shared by brands, says Adweek.
What’s more is that content shared by employees can expect to have eight times the amount of engagement than content shared directly from businesses, potentially increasing your brand reach by 561%, according to Forbes.
Content shared by employees receives eight times more engagement compared to content shared through official brand channels.
With such a reach, you’ll be marketing your brand to a wider audience with a powerful EVP, supported by social proof stating that you are a company that people want to work for.
Employer Branding Makes or Breaks Effective Talent Acquisition
Employees are the lifeblood of any organization. The quality of talent you have at your disposal will determine the trajectory of your business - mediocrity won’t get you far and anything subpar will make your business destined for the rocks.
Josh Bersin, Principal and Founder of Bersin & Associates, follows a similar sentiment by stating:
“A company's growth is only limited by its ability to attract and retain talent.”
Building a powerful employer brand will reward you with the top-tier talent required to take your business to new heights, which can be achieved with the steps outlined in this post. Begin with the brand audit to reveal the internal and external perceptions of your brand, along with your strengths and weaknesses. Use this data as the foundation to creating an EVP that resonates with your ideal candidates. Then, with your offer, you can leverage employee advocacy to instill trust, enhance credibility and widen your reach.
Follow these steps and you’ll create a compelling allure that attracts the candidates required to accelerate growth and overtake your competitors.
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