Reputation and values are the cornerstone upon which many successful businesses have built their strengths. Yet most employers do not have the luxury of brand strength, which triggers a vicious cycle of struggling to attract the best talent, and a potential subsequent failure to produce better products and services. In turn, this typically leads to an employer brand that is not highly regarded.
What does an employer brand mean in practice?
Branding is often thought about in terms of what a company means to consumers and how a business is portrayed in the public in terms of its goods and services. When we talk about employer branding, however, we are looking at a company’s reputation as an employer and what it can offer to its employees.
Brand names become synonymous with quality, value for money and trust. It’s what many marketers aim to achieve – the customer choosing to pick their product over the opponents – and the same is true when it comes to candidates choosing who to work for.
Why is employer branding so important?
Candidates often lean towards the familiar, well-regarded employers over start-ups or growing businesses that haven’t emerged as key players or indeed trusted organisations that will take responsibility for your career and its progression. A failure to work on employer branding can quickly damage the recruitment efforts of your business and make it increasingly difficult to bring the best talent into the business.
The Employer Branding Insights 2019 whitepaper from Wonderful Workplaces found this to be true based on its survey of over 840 candidates. Close to a total majority, 94% of respondents said they would consider an employer’s brand and culture when choosing who to work for. A figure that is up four percentage points from a comparable survey three years ago.
Sadly, under half felt their employer is not effectively communicating their employer brand, demonstrating the missed opportunities that are occurring within organisations to propel their businesses forward.
How to build a strong employer brand
Building a robust employer brand must be mobilised across the business by all levels within the organisation. The best advocates for your business are those that work there, so it’s crucial that a brand building exercise starts from the grassroots and begins with making the business a great place to work for by respecting its employees, offering them sufficient and targeted opportunities for personal and professional growth, and taking the time to talk to its employees to find out what their key values are – including flexible working or work from home opportunities.
The business’ online reputation and the stories it shares is also a key element in building a strong employer brand. Any negative comments left on careers websites should be dealt with and responded to and shows that your company is serious about improving things. It’s always good to share case studies about the great things your business is doing and investing in employer kite marks such as Investors in People, a standard for people management, or People Management Awards from organisations such as the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development is a great way of achieving that.
Looking for creative ideas on how to build your employer brand? Get in touch with Wonderful Workplaces on firstname.lastname@example.org
Annie Hayes is a specialist HR, skills, careers and L&D writer with 19 years experience in the sector.