How to shape and shout out your fantastic employer brand
7 min read | Susie Timlin | Article | People & Culture Retention Staff engagement Employer branding
Are you under-selling your employer brand? Read our expert guide to building a great brand, and getting the word out there.
Promoting your employer brand
- An employer brand is a vital part of your recruitment strategy. Candidates need a clear and positive sense of who your company is and what they stand for. You may be damaging or selling-short your employer brand and undercutting your hiring opportunities.
- Your talent management strategy must be clearly defined and well-expressed outside your company. Applicants want to know about the opportunities for learning and development at your company. Heineken’s “Go Places” campaign is a great example of selling this strength.
- Company culture is an essential ingredient of an employer brand. Defining and promoting workplace values will engage excited applicants. You can do this via a range of real-world and virtual engagements.
- Modern professionals are looking for a sense of purpose in their work. Establishing what you stand for and the difference you make is important, and conveying it is crucial. KPGM’s “We Shape History” campaign is a great example of purpose expressed effectively.
- Company leaders are responsible for shaping your employer brand and embodying it at events and online. Your leadership team may consider building a rapport with the candidate population through blogs, podcasts or via LinkedIn.
Read on for more strategic insight into building an employer brand.
The importance of employer brand: Background
The moment a candidate secures an interview with you, they will automatically do three things. First, they visit your company website. Second, they will scour the employee reviews on sites like Glassdoor. Third, they will ask their recruiter and contacts what your company is like to work for.
The answer boils down to the strength of your employer brand. You should accurately depict the elements that make your company a “great place to work”. Your brand goes deeper than material perks (though do mention a slide in the office if you have one) to the culture and values which underpin your company. A strong and well-communicated employer brand, tailored to your target audience, will make candidates feel excited about their interview. A weak employer brand, however, will likely cause them to disengage, and possibly take a more attractive offer from a competitor.
With this in mind, let’s look at some common pitfalls. How you could be undermining your employer brand without even realising?
You need a great employer brand, and the world needs to know about it
Your talent management strategy is unclear (or non-existent)
You may be confident that your company is a great place to develop a career. But would this be apparent to an external jobseeker? If not, this will be the first hurdle for your employer brand.
Let’s get the basics out of the way first. When both briefing recruiters and writing job descriptions, many organisations omit key information. Applicants want to know about the opportunities for both learning, development and career progression. You could add this key information to your website and broadcast it on social media. Support it with case studies from existing employees. At Hays, we have run campaigns such as #MyHaysStory, where our employees share their journey within the company. Another strong example is Heineken. Their “Go Places” campaign features real employees discussing career progression and international travel within the company.
Further to this, you should encourage employees to share their successes on LinkedIn, whether it’s undertaking some professional training, or getting a promotion. They could also write about their positive experiences on review sites such as Glassdoor. If you know that your organisation has a strong talent management strategy then you need to be shouting this from the rooftops.
Your company culture is nebulous
You know the ethos of your company and the aspects that make for a great working environment. But if you don’t share that beyond your colleagues, how can you expect jobseekers to have a clear idea of your company culture. More important still – especially with Gen Z candidates – is giving a sense of how your company fits their identity.
To decide what defines the culture of your organisation, start with your values. Now think about the types of personalities within your company. Are they diverse, sociable, outgoing, team orientated, ambitious? How would you describe the office environment – relaxed, buzzing, open plan, quiet? At every stage of the hiring process, you need to channel this culture; from the wording and tone of voice in the job description, to the posts on social media pages. On LinkedIn’s careers website, they share footage of existing employees interacting, socialising or celebrating certain milestones. How could you help your audience get a similar feel for day-to-day life at your company?
What’s your wider purpose?
Employees want to feel a sense of purpose and belonging to the company they work for. Their role needs to be connected to a wider cause within the business, your industry, or society.
Take KPMG, for example. The firm surveyed their workforce and found that employees desired to feel more engaged and connected to their jobs. Therefore, they launched their “Higher Purpose” initiative, which included the “We Shape History!” video. This video communicates KPMG’s story so far, their vision for the future, and features current employees showcasing their purpose-driven work.
Ask the big question. Why does your company exist? Who does it serve? What are the broadest visions and goals? When hiring, do you contextualise the role within this bigger picture? If not, you are selling your employer brand short.
Your leaders aren’t spearheading your employer brand
Your business leaders are figureheads for your employer brand. They should be communicating company values in person at events and online, via a consistent social media presence.
Encourage your business leaders to engage potential employees by providing their insights and advice in blog posts, podcasts, and social media updates. By doing this, they are likely to gain trust and credibility with prospective candidates. In fact, four out of five employees believe that CEOs who engage on social media are better equipped to lead companies in the modern world.
The “brand ambassador” mentality should trickle down to junior employees within your organisation. Whether employees are representing your company at networking events and meetings, or on professional social networks – their conduct should align with your employer brand at all times.
Promoting your employer brand: Next steps
You may have the makings of a strong employer brand, with progression opportunities, a great culture, inspirational leaders, and a wider vision and purpose. But this means nothing if you don’t get the word out there. You may need to shout about your company qualities just a bit louder if you want to grab the attention of the best talent.
Follow this advice and you should soon see eager interview candidates itching for the chance to work for your organisation.
About this author
Susie is Chief Operating Officer at UK Government Investments (UKGI). UKGI’s purpose is to be the UK government’s centre of excellence in corporate finance and corporate governance. As COO, Susie works to ensure that the business has effective operational management, optimal organisational design, and that UKGI are able to hire, develop, manage and remunerate their people in the best way possible. Prior to joining UKGI, Susie was Global Director for People and Culture at Hays Talent Solutions.