If not having the right people in the right place is causing friction in your teams, and costing you in business efficiency, growth opportunities and cost per hire you’re not alone. Global skill shortages mean that many employers struggle to find the right kind of talent for their needs. Higher unemployment can, ironically, just add to the problem with lots of applicants who aren’t a good fit for your organisation.
Strengthening and improving your employer brand will turn things around, enabling candidates to self-select, and is a lot easier than you might think.
Research statistics speak for themselves:
- companies that have a stronger employer brand on average see
a 43% decrease in the cost per candidate they hire (LinkedIn);
- employee turnover can be reduced by 28% by investing in employer brand (Job Vibe);
- 69% of jobseekers are likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand (Glassdoor);
- organisations investing in employer brand are 3x more likely to make a quality hire (Brandon Hall).
Increasingly, candidates and employees alike are looking for a compelling, well-told story that creates a sense of pride and trust when they’re making their employment choices. Employers who tell great stories about their culture, their environment and their purpose are far more likely to attract and retain top talent. Those that don’t stand to lose the best talent to competitors, and can struggle to retain their best people.
Employer branding is often seen as a “dark art” – something that’s highly complex and difficult to execute. But the below 7 steps show how do-able the process can be. They are:
Step 1 – Scoping.
Getting a water tight business plan to ensure you raise the funds you need is a crucial first step. Without C-suite level backing and engagement, you’ll struggle to get the resources and money that you’ll need.
- Outline the problems that your business is facing. Show the financial cost and opportunity costs of current methodologies. Be specific around the areas of pain. Clearly state the purpose of the project.
- Use published research statistics (like the ones at the start of this document) to demonstrate the financial and productivity benefits that employer branding can deliver.
- Audit your current employer brand assets, such as career site, social media activity, assessment materials and identify your needs – what are you going to need to deliver?
- Assess internal capabilities to get the work done – show that, wherever possible, you’ve looked to utilise internal resources.
- Highlight where external support will be required and provide a cost estimate for each element.
- Provide a cost-benefit of your project using the statistics you’ve prepared. Clearly show the impact you’re expecting to achieve. Monetise it!
- Get key business stakeholders engaged early on – C-suite, Heads of Business, the Marketing and Brand Management team. Check availability of, and book in, any internal resources.
- Plan, Plan, Plan – create a fully costed proposal and project plan.
Step 2 – Insight & EVP.
Your Employer Value Proposition (EVP) is the framework which brings to life your employment offer, showing what makes yours a unique place to work. It needs to be authentic, attractive and differentiated and the way to do this is to ground it in Research.
- To ensure your EVP is authentic, carry out internal surveys and focus groups to understand what your own employees love about working for the business. You can utilise existing Engagement Surveys, but don’t rely on these entirely as they won’t provide enough depth. Don’t forget to carry out senior-level Executive interviews so you’re clear on the direction and strategy of the business.
- To ensure it’s attractive, conduct external audience research, or alternatively speak to Recruiters and Agencies who understand candidate audiences or interview recent joiners, who will still have a memory of their impressions of the business before they joined.
- To ensure it’s differentiated, carry out external competitor benchmarking. This helps to ensure you don’t just replicate your competitor’s work.
- Ensure you map out your key talent audiences and segment them, as different audiences will be looking for different things. This will help you to fine tune your messaging. It’s helpful to build Persona’s to bring these audiences to life.
- Once you’ve analysed your data you’ll be able to identify the universal truths about working for your business. These can now be constructed into a series of pillars, which form the basis of your framework.
Step 3 – Creative Development.
This is the process of creating the unique look and feel that will represent your employment experience perfectly. Whether you’re working with in-house designers and copywriters or employing an agency, the following tips will help:
- Use your EVP findings to write a compelling brief. Keep it concise, but identify what makes you unique and the personality you wish to convey.
- Make sure your work is harmonised with your corporate brand. Ensure you share your brief and ideas with the corporate brand team.
- Be rigorous with your creative assessment. Does it excite you? Does it capture the spirit and energy of the business? If not, try again! Don’t just accept what you’re given.
- Use authentic images and copy. Avoid use of stock photography. Create a set of brand guidelines.
- Develop your core creative assets, including copy, photography, hero films, profile films, digital banners and initial social media posts.
Step 4 – Touchpoints.
Good employer branding is much more holistic than just a career site or a social media post. Your messages should resonate throughout the entire employment lifecycle to ensure they embed deeply.
- Audit your employee lifecycle, from initial engagement all the way through to employee and beyond. Identify your most important “moments of truth” where you’ll make the greatest impression.
- Plan and prioritise which touchpoints you’re going to work on and when. Don’t try and do them all at once. There could be a lot of them!
Step 5 – Channel Planning & Marketing.
These days relying on job boards to provide a pipeline of talent isn’t enough. Employers need to be building their reputations and relationships with talent audiences well before they actively begin job hunting. In most cases candidates have already decided who they’d like to work for, so you need to be on their radar. This means not only using the assets you have at your disposal, such as your career site and social feeds, but investing in non-job media plans that reach your targets before they’re actively job-seeking.
- Harness the power of social media. Develop content that promotes and elevates your EVP and share it on your social media pages.
- Research, understand and utilise modern media techniques such as PayPer Click, Search Marketing and Programmatic advertising that can provide hi-performance, cost effective routes to passive job-seeking audiences.
Step 6 – Launch, activation & sharing.
A great launch can make or break your employer brand.
- Develop your core “moment of truth” assets. Careers sites, social media pages and review site profiles such as Glassdoor should be prioritised. Plan your launch to maximise impact. Give yourself enough time to complete all your preparation.
- Launch your brand internally first – your employees are your most important audience.
- Ask your employees to generate content and share on their own social media feeds. Create a culture of advocacy and sharing.
- Ensure you’ve considered “localisation”. Does your brand need adjusting for local markets? Cultures? Countries?
- Plan your media and content strategy for 12 months.
Step 7 – Measurement & Management.
The best employer brands are continually measured, adjusted, re-assessed and nurtured. That way, they don’t “die on the vine”.
- Keep measuring performance. Look at hard hiring metrics such as cost per hire but also influence metrics such as social media followers.
- Keep assessing your content. Understand what works and what doesn’t and adjust accordingly.
- Take a pit-stop each year. Assess if your brand is still an accurate portrayal of the business. If it isn’t, then tweak and refine things till they’re current again!
So, now you know what to do to become an irresistible employer of choice!