How does employer branding help recruitment?
Once overlooked and deemed an expensive bolt-on to recruitment, the employer brand now forms an integral part of not just a recruitment strategy but a top-level business strategy, too.
In today’s competitive labour markets, attracting and retaining talent can be a tricky endeavour for any business. In certain sectors, people increasingly have a choice where they work: if businesses cannot appeal to their target audience, candidates are unlikely to consider working for them.
Traditional recruitment methods no longer hold sway in such a fast-paced, highly competitive environment. According to Talent Now, 50% of candidates wouldn’t work for a company with a bad reputation — even for a pay rise. Instead of waiting for top talent to come to them, hiring managers now find themselves having to actively pursue talent.
When planned and implemented effectively, employer branding — the process of promoting and showcasing a company’s working practices, benefits, and culture to target candidates — can help bring potential candidates into the fold.
By building and maintaining a positive brand identity, any business can consolidate itself as an attractive place to work. Indeed, according to a LinkedIn survey, a company’s employer brand “is twice as likely to be linked to job consideration as a strong company brand.” A strong employer brand quite literally drives candidates to a business.
While employer branding is not a cure-all solution to a business’ talent acquisition efforts, ensuring you have a good reputation in the eyes of job seekers is crucial. After all, there’s a reason why people want to work for organisations like Google, Apple and Netflix.
Here are four benefits that employer branding brings to the recruitment process.
1) A strong employer brand helps you attract the right candidates
An employer brand is a company’s way of telling the world what it does, what it stands for, and what working for it means for its people. It’s about conveying a company’s mission, vision, and values in a way that’s honest, transparent, and believable.
With personality being a better barometer of hiring success than experience, successful employer brands harness the latest people analytics software to hyper-target individuals who share a similar ethos to the business and its culture (as well as the relevant skillset).
When marketing the business to the ideal candidate, it helps to target them via the right channels. With Millennials and Generation Z making up an ever-larger share of the workforce — generations that are highly active on social media — popular platforms such as Instagram and LinkedIn are also being used to promote the employer brand.
This cannot be a one-way street, however. Smart businesses are unlocking the potential of connecting with prospective employees through social media and incorporating these online conversations into the candidate experience. The rise in chatbots to answer candidate queries is one such example of this ongoing dialogue in action.
2) A strong employer brand speeds up time-to-fill
This benefit is simple: job seekers who are familiar with a brand are more likely to respond to recruiters or hiring managers who reach out to them about a role at their business.
When candidates are more engaged with a brand and keener to join, the quicker the recruiting process becomes. Developing a robust candidate experience can facilitate this through regular communication — turning passive candidates into brand ambassadors.
3) A strong employer brand reduces hiring costs
According to LinkedIn data, employer branding can reduce cost of hire by as much as 50%. Employer branding tactics such as nurturing a large social media following and transmitting a clear Employer Value Proposition (EVP) helps to build a readily accessible — and suitable — talent pool. This, in turn, brings down the cost of recruitment marketing and other hiring processes.
4) A strong employer brand boosts retention
Though employer branding largely focuses on the candidate experience — what candidates go through when applying for a business and their subsequent perception of the brand — a robust employer brand strategy also considers the employee experience.
Having experienced the best and worst of an organisation, existing employees and the legacy workforce offer the most reliable insights into what it’s really like to work there. If employer branding doesn’t factor these people into the equation, not doing so could spell disaster for an employer’s reputation. Disgruntled employees could take to peer-to-peer review websites like Glassdoor to broadcast their frustrations to the wider world, damaging a business’ employer brand.
With an intuitive, easy, and informative onboarding process and a company culture that consistently reinforces the employer brand’s message, employees are more likely to buy into the mission, vision, and values of a business. And when engagement is high, people are more likely to stay in their roles.
Moreover, engaged employees become willing brand ambassadors outside of work — strengthening the employer brand further still.
The takeaway: when the employer brand succeeds, recruitment succeeds
Attracting and retaining the right people is one of the fundamental challenges of modern business. With so many companies battling over the same talent, trying to cut through the noise and reach out to the right candidates can seem like a Sisyphean task.
In the 2020s, candidates expect employers to provide engaging candidate journeys. Anything to the contrary will likely trigger a negative response.
Therefore, a carrot-and-stick approach to recruitment will not suffice. Instead of making them want to join the business, cajoling candidates with large salaries without considering other aspects of work such as culture, work-life balance, and company values may even create a perception that the brand doesn’t care about people. And if there’s one thing that the best employer brands all have in common, it’s that they come across as prioritising people.
This perception is what causes a company’s recruitment efforts to sink or swim. And perception can be influenced by an infinite number of things. As such, a strong employer brand strives to make every touchpoint across the candidate experience — from the initial job search to the onboarding process — as seamless and as personalised as possible. Crucially, it also takes a holistic view of the overall employee experience.
Ultimately, the employer brand is about receiving buy-in from people both inside and outside the business. Nobody wants to work for a dull, uninspiring brand. But almost everyone wants to work with a sense of mission and purpose.
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