While the value of a consumer brand is widely recognized, there’s another ‘brand’ that keeps HR professionals awake at night—their company’s employer brand. A company’s employer brand encompasses the way a company is perceived by past, present and future employees. It’s how badly people want to work somewhere. And it’s powerful.
Why Employer Branding Matters
A thriving economy, millions of retiring Baby Boomers, and rapidly changing technology have all contributed to today’s tight talent market. In order to grow—or even maintain—a business, employers must be able to attract the right people. And while compensation and benefits are often assumed to be top persuaders for recruiting candidates, employer brand and organizational culture are among the top factors considered by today’s professionals when evaluating a new opportunity to work for a company. According to a recent LinkedIn study, about one in four young professionals would even accept a pay cut to work for a company with a positive employer brand. Employers with great brands also fill positions faster and spend less on recruiting and marketing. Not to mention that positive employer brand recognition is associated with lower turnover and higher productivity.
If your business has a poor employer brand, there are usually obvious indicators. Common warning signs include difficulty recruiting, unengaged employees and low productivity. Or maybe your company is simply unknown. In any case, you’re missing an opportunity to attract top talent if your company isn’t realizing the full potential of employer branding and it’s probably time to critically examine your brand.
Building Your Employer Brand
Recognizing the need to actively influence your employer branding is a great first step. But how is this accomplished? Here are three ways to build your employer brand:
1. Evaluate Your Current Workplace Culture
It’s important to realize that employer brand cannot be artificially created; it’s determined by how an organization treats its people. Current and former employees can either be your company’s biggest fans or its worst enemies. The best way to ensure employees are singing your organization’s praises is to start on the inside. Monitor and foster your brand by seeking feedback from employees through satisfaction surveys, employee workshops and exit interviews. Find out where your brand stands with your current team so that you can move toward where you want to be.
For example, the leadership team here at Warren Averett decided to dive into our Firm’s workplace culture and encourage team members to carry out the Firm’s established values in their day-to-day activities. The leadership team identified 30 action-oriented ‘fundamentals’ which demonstrate what Warren Averett’s values are all about. These fundamentals were introduced and discussed with all team members during small group training sessions, and team members have been challenged to embody these fundamentals during interactions with clients and colleagues going forward. The leadership team plans to use these fundamentals to guide conversations about our culture and employer brand.
2. Evaluate Your Online Company Persona
When job candidates are considering potential employers, most will do some of their own research on a company. Make sure your brand is positively articulated by building a strong online presence. Consider if the persona that your company is projecting online reflects who you are as an organization, and if it is likely to engage others. This process includes evaluating your own outlets, such as your company-sponsored website and social media accounts, but it also involves a degree of listening to what others are saying about your organization from their own platforms. Poor employer perception can spread when current or former employees leave negative feedback on employer review sites like Glassdoor.com or when your company gets bad publicity, such as allegations of unfair pay or poor working conditions.
It also helps to mobilize current employees as brand ambassadors. Satisfied employees are an asset in any employer branding campaign. They can be encouraged to promote the company online, and adding employee testimonials to your recruiting website is a great way to demonstrate commitment to your brand.
3. Evaluate Your Hiring and Onboarding Processes
It’s important to remember that potential employees start forming an opinion long before their first day, so a positive hiring and onboarding process is key. Applicants should be treated like guests. Creating a welcoming atmosphere during interviews and onboarding is important to make sure employees start off on the right foot. Check in with candidates regularly during the hiring process, especially if you anticipate any delays in extending an offer. Once they start working for your company, providing adequate guidance and a thorough orientation pays dividends towards acclimating new employees. Taking employees out for a welcome lunch with colleagues is another great way to integrate them into the team. All employees should be confident that you are committed to their success.
Employer Branding Improvements Yield Benefits All Around
Companies with solid employer brands tend to attract the best and brightest, and in today’s tight talent market, that’s a big deal. When employees are proud to work for a company, they are more satisfied and engaged. This, in turn, trickles down to increased profitability and customer satisfaction, so it’s a worthwhile pursuit.
To maximize your employer branding as a recruiting tool, start on the inside by focusing on workplace culture and supporting employees from day one. Once you have a solid foundation, you can cultivate your brand externally by promoting your culture and values through digital engagement. To learn more about shaping your workplace culture, using your employer brand to attract top talent or fostering change in your organization, contact a Warren Averett advisor here.
Brian Bateh is a Warren Averett Member and the leader of the Firm’s Workforce Development service. Click here to learn more about him or to contact him directly.
Allie Taylor is a Project Coordinator in Warren Averett’s Consulting Division. You can contact her at Alexandra.Taylor@warrenaverett.com.