For as long as business competition has existed, a company’s reputation and name recognition have served to attract potential customers and increase market share. What may not be as obvious, though, is the significant role an employer’s branding plays in attracting talent.
When skilled professionals have ample choices of where to work, they opt for employers that have strong reputations and values similar to their own. Job seekers, especially Gen Zers, care about not only your company’s products or services, but also intangibles such as your mission and whether it’s truly a great place to work.
Bring in better candidates
Although the two are related, employer branding is not the same as corporate branding. Employer branding targets your internal audience — both current and future employees — and makes a compelling case for why your workplace stands out from the rest.
With a strong employer brand, recruiting skilled workers — including passive job seekers — is easier than if your business flies under the radar or, worse, has a shaky reputation. When candidates understand what your business stands for, they make decisions about whether you are a good cultural fit for them. This results in a stronger applicant pool, a win–win for employers and applicants.
Boost your employer brand
Positive perceptions about a company aren’t built overnight. A solid reputation grows slowly and steadily when you actively seed, cultivate and protect a strong employer brand.
1. Tout your relevance. Workers want to know that what they do makes a difference in the world. During the recruitment process, such as writing job postings and interviewing, management should be able to articulate why the company matters in a big-picture sense. How do your products or services help improve the lives of customers or clients? Why is the work worth doing? For many professionals, a paycheck alone isn’t a good enough reason to join or stay with a company.
2. Give employees interesting work. Talented professionals aren’t robots, and they won’t be content performing repetitive, unengaging tasks. They want variety in their day, fun projects that stimulate their interests and the opportunity to learn new things. When recruiting potential employees, talk about what their typical day or week will look like. Mention how the company encourages employees to innovate, initiate projects and take smart risks.
3. Promote from within. Not all managers should come through the ranks, as an organization needs fresh ideas and an outsider’s perspective to stay relevant and competitive. However, when an employer typically favors outside hires over veteran employees for management roles, word gets out — and top talent becomes reluctant to apply for jobs there. Part of your employer brand should be a dedication to professional development and internal growth prospects. Let prospective employees know they can have a long and bright future with your company.
4. Benchmark salaries. Do you know average salary ranges in your field and market, and what your competitors offer? Prospective employees do. They research what they’re worth and what other businesses in the area are offering. A company that pays above-average wages is a great place to work. Sure, today’s job seekers value interesting and inspiring projects, but that won’t repay student loans or allow them to save for their future. Be known as a generous company that compensates employees fairly.
Check out the Robert Half Salary Guides for comprehensive data on the latest starting salaries for hundreds of job titles.
5. Publicize perks. What in-demand benefits do you offer that your competitors don’t? Those little extras make employees feel appreciated and special. Some of the largest employers have gourmet snacks, free cafeterias, nap pods, on-site gyms, and a host of other cool perks that create buzz and burnish their employer brand. But even small businesses can compete in this arena, as they have plenty of pluses that help them stand out. If you’re a small business, promote the family-like atmosphere, easy accessibility to upper management, flexible scheduling or even the option to bring pets to the office.
6. Master tech and social media. You engage with consumers online. Do the same with job seekers. Start with your website, which is the face of your employer brand. Is information easy to find? Are navigation buttons clear and intuitive? Is the design compelling and the text error-free? Potential candidates visit your site to get more information about career opportunities and corporate values, so make sure their user experience is positive and engaging. Then examine your social media presence and whether you’re including prospective employees in the conversation. This is free advertising, so take full advantage of it. Let people know that your company understands and utilizes the latest technology.
7. Make the most of exit interviews. Despite the best retention efforts, no company keeps 100 percent of their top workers. That’s okay. When employees choose to leave, make sure human resources has a conversation with them, preferably face to face. This is a prime opportunity to do market research and improve your employer brand. Useful exit interview questions include:
· Could you tell us why you are leaving?
· Were you generally happy or unhappy in your job?
· What does the company do well?
· How could the company improve?
· What were your favorite and least favorite parts of working here?
Use the responses to continually refine your company’s management style, benefits, perks and anything else that several departing employees offer input on.
A major part of the recruitment process is to position your company as a great place to work, learn and grow. Improve your employer branding and you’re on your way to hiring smarter and easier.