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What the industry leaders of employer branding do better

Simon PhillipsSeptember 22, 2022AwarenessConnectionEmployer BrandingQualificationRetention

To truly excel at employer branding, you must deliver holistic candidate and employee experiences that positively impact your organization's reputation today and in the future.

But it's important not to confuse employer branding with recruitment marketing, social media management or even more broadly speaking the candidate experience. All play a part; however, in isolation, they are simply tactics and don't get to the root of what's at hand.

What's the key to acing employer branding?

Beyond having a holistic understanding of employer branding, you must ensure the appropriate time and financial investment is made to shape and manage your reputation as an employer.

Just as most brands invest wisely to manage their reputation in the eyes of their customers, the same has to happen in the heads and hearts of employees and prospective employees.

What's the most crucial component when evaluating your employer brand?

When considering your employer brand, what's most important is very subjective. Of course, data should be high on the list, as should the candidate and employee experiences, because negative ones are detrimental to your reputation as an employer. Likewise, you can't overlook the rejected candidate experience or the exit experience of employees. These things deserve just as much attention as hiring and onboarding experiences.

Still, the most crucial part is how your employer brand connects with talent on an emotional level. People fall in love (or out of love) with brands. The same is true for employer brands.

A job is a life-impacting decision for the individual and everyone around them. It's often deeply entwined with an individual's identity. Therefore, a job must fit very comfortably into how they view themselves.

Having an emotional connection between a candidate or the employee and an employer builds a relationship in a very different way. It results in a contract between employee and employer that melds rational and emotive elements. That's something that goes way beyond pay, benefits and career progression.

How vital is content strategy to your employer branding strategy?

Content strategy is as essential as every other part of employer brand activity. The key is to ensure that any content strategy moves in unison across all touchpoints and doesn't just focus on social channels. That includes your CRM, careers site, intranet and social channels. They must all be cohesively incorporated into your content strategy and expressed consistently.

Then, wherever a candidate or employee from each predetermined segment goes, the content strategy reinforces what they are looking for, authentically, every step of the way. It also ensures an organization presents a reassuringly consistent brand position across all touchpoints.

How does employer branding work with your overall brand?

Employer branding and your brand itself should work hand-in-hand. Ultimately, there's only one brand. The critical distinction is how talent experiences it versus how a consumer or investor does.

For example, what makes an individual love a sports brand for its sneakers differs from how an employee or candidate loves that same sports brand or how a brand articulates itself to an investor or B2B partner needs to tap into different aspects than it does for a prospective employee..

These things are positioned differently based on your goals for the respective audiences. But there needs to be crossover and consistency we must weave the company's core values and purpose throughout the employer brand.

Tying it all together is the employer value proposition (EVP), which ensures what's relevant, credible, aspirational and differentiating about your organization, is experienced by your candidates and employees in every interaction they have with you.

Who are key players in owning an employer brand?

Who owns an employer brand is ever-evolving. Fortunately, this critical piece has finally begun to get the attention it needs. For many years, HR "owned" it or at least managed aspects that most impacted the employer brand, such as recruiting, hiring, the employee experience and employee exit.

Later, employer brand managers and recruitment marketers got involved. They needed to be brand experts, marketing experts, recruiters, sourcers, internal comms specialists, content experts and social media leaders. Add that to the fact they had to be geniuses at stretching budgets in every direction.

By the time Forrester finally claimed the employer brand as a "new marketing frontier," the irony was staggering. We've been helping clients partner with their internal brand and marketing teams for 15 years!

For a long time, marketing departments simply weren't interested because they viewed employer branding as simple "recruitment." They didn't consider it glamorous enough and didn't think it impacted the overall brand and customer experience. Thank goodness the employer brand is now getting the airtime it rightly needs.

In reality, managing the employer brand should be owned by the entire organization. To get the whole organization behind it, you need a leading light. I think organizations should have a standalone employer brand and EVP team that sits between HR, recruiting, marketing and brand. Whoever leads this team should ideally have a seat at the c-suite level or at least be very close.

How can a killer employer brand help you in today's labor economy?

Properly managing your employer brand ensures candidates are as informed as they can be about the truths about your organization. Expertly working allows your employees to become employer advocates, so every interaction is positive for candidates and employees.

When this happens, the most suitable candidates apply for your roles.

After all, employer branding isn't about increasing the volume of applications. Instead, it's about driving a higher quality of applications from right-fit candidates. It's also about letting unsuitable talent self-select out of the experience (in a positive way).

Managing your proposition and reputation and being very clear about what great talent will love about your organization, and what you expect in return, gives you an advantage as an organization and pushes it to the top of the consideration chart.

How is your employer brand woven into your core business?

Your employer brand is connected to the business's most important functions.

The employer brand

  1. Drives the attractiveness of your organization
  2. Supports and enhances the candidate and employee experience
  3. Impacts the customer experience by employing quality talent
  4. Shapes and communicates the brand internally and externally to talent
  5. Has a controlling eye over the reputation of the organization as an employer

Remember, there's not a single brand, business or organization that doesn't have talent at the heart of it.

The best and most successful employer brands understand the massive value of creating and maintaining an emotional connection with talent, so they deliver positive experiences for candidates and employees alike.

Ready to build the foundation for your employer brand or learn more about how doing so can positively impact your organization? We're here to help.

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