In a tricky economic climate, many good candidates are cautious about changing jobs, while those without employment may be less fussy about the roles on offer. So, what’s the biggest pull for candidates? Is it the employer branding, brand reputation and company culture or the specifics of the role itself?

What is employer branding?

Employer branding is akin to a company's reputation as an employer, encompassing its values, culture, mission, and overall employee experience. Much like how marketing techniques shape consumer perceptions, employer branding applies similar strategies to attract and retain talent. It's about how an organisation markets itself to potential and current employees, ensuring alignment with its values and fostering a positive work environment. 

The role and importance of the employer brand

In recent years, organisations have started paying more attention to their ‘employer brand’ focusing on establishing a deep-rooted employer value proposition (EVP) in their efforts to attract, engage, and ultimately secure and retain top talent.

A clear, truthful, and authentic employer brand is now a core component of a robust HR strategy and it’s vital to continually audit how your business is perceived internally and externally. Remember, a truthful foundation is essential – if a working experience fails to deliver on the promises of the brand, you may fail to retain talent. 

Even with a steadfast, blue-chip brand reputation, companies still need to differentiate themselves from competitors. Where relevant, they must sell their company culture, market position, passion for innovation, and working benefits as well as appease any concerns associated with their particular industry.

Discerning candidates will no doubt carry out their own research when it comes to investigating work culture, lifestyle, and opportunities within a particular organisation. That’s why an employer’s brand messaging should work hard for them and show them in the best possible light.

Role vs. brand

In an ideal world, a candidate would like to land the dream job with the perfect brand – but every box isn’t always ticked. The most important factor when applying to a role or company is a subjective debate and will be different for everyone.

Employees at the start of their career may be less concerned with the specifics of a role as they don’t yet have the experience to place emphasis on the intricacies of a position. In comparison, some sections of the audience may be more swayed by brand recognition and feel a sense of affinity with certain lifestyle brands. 

Equally, at the beginning of a career, many candidates feel that a big name on their CV will be of more benefit to them than finding an exact job match. With more experience under your belt, the finer details of a specific role may become a higher priority – along with the potential for increased responsibility.

Some brands don’t enjoy as much gravitas, popularity, or brand recognition as others and therefore their magnetism will probably stem from interesting remits, good prospects, and development opportunities for their employees. Location and global presence could also play a part in a candidate’s decision – so organisations really need to push any international scope when honing their employer brand. 

Six benefits of developing an employer brand

  1. Attract great employees and retain existing ones: A robust employer brand not only attracts top talent but instils pride in existing employees. Job seekers often scrutinise a company's social profiles before applying. Leveraging platforms such as LinkedIn to project an employee-centric culture can draw in candidates and enhance retention by fostering a sense of belonging.  
  2. Reduce recruitment costs: A strong employer brand naturally attracts candidates to your organisation, diminishing the need for costly recruitment marketing. By positioning your company as reputable and desirable, you can attract candidates organically, reducing reliance on paid job postings.  
  3. Enhance employee engagement: Actively involving employees in brand promotion cultivates a sense of ownership and commitment. Intentional engagement initiatives lead to higher productivity and profitability, reducing turnover rates and creating a positive cycle where satisfied employees attract more candidates to fill new roles. 
  4. Demonstrate your unique culture and diversity: Modern job seekers are searching for fulfilment, trust, respect, and inclusivity in their workplace. Tactfully showcasing a vibrant culture, diverse workforce, and authentic diversity initiatives strengthens your employer brand, setting you apart in the competitive talent market. 

Strategies to build a strong employer brand: 

Actionable strategies that empower organisations stand out in the competitive landscape and build a workforce that drives success.

  • Define your EVP: Articulate what sets your organisation apart and communicate key selling points consistently across various platforms. 
  • Leverage employee advocacy: Empower employees to showcase their achievements, company news, and work experiences. Their endorsements and testimonials serve as authentic endorsements, resonating with potential candidates and reinforcing your brand image. 
  • Enhance candidate experience: Prioritise a positive candidate experience with clear communication, timely feedback, and insights into your organisation's culture during recruitment. 
  • Establish a strong online presence: Maintain an active presence on professional platforms, showcasing culture, achievements, and thought leadership. 
  • Prioritise employee engagement: Invest in initiatives that promote professional development, work-life balance, and recognition, fostering employee satisfaction and advocacy.

Adopting an authentic employer brand

An employer brand isn’t always a one size fits all proposition. For example, a fresh, contemporary media or fashion brand may not need to work very hard in order to have top-level marketing professionals knocking on their door.  

However, this same employer brand may not appeal in the same way to experienced software developers. For technology jobs, candidates may be more concerned about the type of work they’ll be doing, what niche knowledge they’ll be applying, and exactly how they’ll be managed. An employer brand will likely need to flex to promote different facets of its personality to different candidate groups. 

Partner with experts

As you navigate the dos and don’ts of employer branding, remember that you don't have to go it alone. Expert guidance can make all the difference in executing these strategies effectively. That's where Michael Page comes in.

With our unparalleled talent acquisition expertise and industry insights, we can provide tailored solutions to support your hiring needs. Reach out get the conversation started with our specialist consultants with knowledge to elevate your employer brand and attract top talent.

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