Hiring challenges abound in today’s recruiting landscape. The candidate-driven market has increased both time-to-hire and cost-per-hire, placing stress on both recruiters and companies alike.
Furthermore, companies are struggling with retention as this Glassdoor Recruiting Outlook Survey conducted by Harris Poll revealed. It was reported that 36 percent of employers are worried that voluntary exits will increase. Employees seem to agree with this; a study by Corporate Responsibility Magazine shows that 84 percent of current employees would consider leaving their current role to accept a position at a company with a great reputation. In this increasingly competitive hiring environment, many companies have turned to their employer brand to give them an edge.
How to Manage Your Employer Brand
Employer brand is made up of several elements ranging from company culture to perks and benefits to upper management’s reputation, among others. Glassdoor succinctly defines employer branding as “the art of communicating who you are as an employer in order to win the hearts and minds of the talent you need.”
Your employer brand is out there in the world whether you choose to manage it or not. Research strongly suggests that employers should choose to manage it. In fact, CareerArc’s 2015 Employer Branding Study showed that 3 in 4 job seekers consider an employer’s brand before even starting a job application. With that said, many companies have recognized the importance of actively managing their employer brand and have started to do so. Don’t get left behind in the war on talent - consider the following four steps for beginning to manage your employer brand:
Develop a Strategy
The first step to managing your employer brand is to develop a strategy. The need for an employer branding strategy is evident; an Employer Brand International Global Research Study indicates that 87 percent of companies think a clearly defined strategy is essential to reaching employer branding objectives. However, there seems to be a disconnect between companies understanding that having a strategy is crucial and actually having one. CareerArc research shows that only 57 percent of employers say that they actually have a strategy.
Develop an employer strategy by enlisting key players, understanding your business needs, recognizing your targets, and creating a plan.
- Enlist key players - Employer branding touches so many facets of your business. Necessary expertise is needed from your C-suite, HR team, PR team, and Marketing team.
- Define business needs - Think about your company’s long terms goals and work backwards. In order to meet those goals, what does your organization need in the meantime? Your employer branding efforts should help your company meet those organizational needs.
- Identify target groups - You have defined your long-term business goals; now what kind of talent do you need to meet those goals? Take a look at current talent and what you need in the future in order to determine your targets for your employer branding efforts. Be sure to weigh the importance of retaining current employees with attracting new candidates in order to meet your future goals.
- Create a plan and execute - Determine your objectives, identify broad strategies for reaching them, and then create an annual plan of specific activities necessary for meeting those goals. This schedule of activities should be used to keep you on track throughout the year. Start following this plan and make adjustments as needed.
Craft Your Message and Deliver It
Your messaging should highlight what makes your company a great place to work and should align with the reputation you are striving to create as an employer. It should emphasize your culture and what makes it unique. Does your company aim to keep employees healthy in mind, body, and spirit? Do you encourage strong work-life balance? Stress what really matters to your company in your messaging. Be sure it supports your mission and vision to keep things honest to who your company really is. Don’t forget to give your message context through both wording and visual components.
When it comes to delivering your message, focusing on your online properties is crucial. Most candidates get their first impression of your employer brand through your online presence. In fact, CareerArc determined that 52 percent of job seekers visit your online properties first to get an idea about your employer brand and company culture. This means you need to develop a compelling employer brand message and deliver it across multiple platforms effectively. Build an effective career site, engage on social media (Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn), and craft insightful job postings. Social media is a particularly cost-effective way of gaining awareness that shouldn’t be ignored.
Lastly, don’t forget about your current employees. Communicating your employer brand to your current employees is just as important as communicating it to prospective employees. Your employer brand massively affects your ability to retain talent, hence the importance of communicating it effectively to employees. Furthermore, employee referrals are great for generating quality candidates at a low cost-per-hire, but are very dependent on how current employees view your company as an employer. Be sure your senior leaders communicate what the company values are and demonstrate them through actions.
Ask for Feedback
It is important to continually ask for feedback in order to capture a snapshot of your current employer brand. Open communication should be a consistent part of the culture. It is crucial in order to help you identify what is working and where you can improve. Furthermore, by responding to feedback, you are able to show candidates and employees alike that they are being heard. Consider the following methods for obtaining regular feedback both internally and externally:
- Employee engagement surveys
- New hire surveys at regular intervals (30, 60, and 90 days)
- Exit interviews
- Glassdoor - CEO ratings, company ratings, interview reviews
Use this feedback to gather insight into your culture, benefits, management, and working conditions, and use it to help shape your employer brand in the future.
In order to tell where you want to go, you need to have an idea of where you are. Collecting relevant data allows you to determine if your employer branding efforts are working. By having metrics to help measure and show your return on investment, you can more easily get buy-in from key players. Furthermore, it will also bring to light efforts that aren’t paying off and allow you to right your course. Many key metrics used to measure employer brand are already tracked by your HR team. Important indicators to measure include:
- Retention rate
- Employee engagement
- Qualified applicant rate
- Number of applicants
It is important to get baseline metrics before you begin actively managing your employer brand. This will provide you with a great jumping off point, as well as something to gauge yourself against moving forward. After that, continue to collect data at regular intervals that meet your needs and plan. These numbers will allow you to adjust your efforts as you reevaluate and progress in order to experience success.
Remember that managing your employer brand can’t be done overnight, but with ongoing efforts, you can really begin to see a difference in how your company is perceived as an employer.
About the Author: As a Partnerships Manager at Glassdoor, Sydney works with hundreds of accounts across universities, libraries, and blogs, helping to provide them with content and tools to aid job seekers. Outside of work, Sydney enjoys running, hiking, and searching for the perfect burrito.