Finding new talent involves many factors, including your company's brand. Here's how branding influences recruiting.
Does your employer brand matter when you’re recruiting? Although the answer is a simple "yes," it’s important to understand why.
Brand matters to candidates for the same reasons it matters to customers. Your brand encompasses your values, the way you do business and offers a feel for how you build relationships with your workforce.
Essentially, the employer brand provides a shorthand image of your company as a place to work. When people think about "branding," they often envision logos and marketing campaigns. In reality, brands have a lot more depth to them.
Take Stock of Your Employer's Brand
How candidates perceive your company is influenced by how you act as an employer: the compensation and benefits you offer, the organization’s culture, the learning and growth opportunities it makes available, the workforce’s diversity and the company’s approach to social concerns and community involvement. All of these shape how the labor force perceives the company and influences the value they place on the chance to work there.
Whether you’ve set out to build one or not, your company already has an employer brand. All of your workplace’s components—the pay, benefits, learning opportunities, for example—leave job seekers with an impression. Whether it’s the impression you want them to have or not is another question.
The first step toward taking control of your employer brand is to get a sense of how the labor force perceives the company. To do that, conduct an audit. Survey your current employees about their views of the workplace. Are they satisfied with their compensation? Do they have a good relationship with their manager? Do they feel safe?
At the same time, question candidates to learn what they think of the company. Then read employer-review sites like Glassdoor to see what people are saying outside your office walls. Finally, review media coverage of the organization, its products and business practices. This will provide a sense of how third parties, and the wider community, perceive the company.
Next, develop an "employee value proposition" that defines why people should choose to work for your company and remain there for a number of years. Basically, the value proposition describes what the company will provide employees in return for their labor. Having one helps you shape the workplace’s rewards from the employee’s point of view, so you can determine exactly what the workforce really wants.
Finally, compare your employee value proposition with the results of your employer-brand audit. Identifying gaps between the two will uncover areas where you might need to rethink your approach to workers, whether it’s in terms of compensation or scheduling, communications, performance management, learning or something else.
From pay scale to office location, pretty much everything your company does touches the employer brand. Since the brand is really about attracting the best candidates, it’s important to involve current workers in both building and showcasing it.
Enthusiastic employees are your best recruiters. Because their point of view is relatable to most candidates, they bring real credibility to the conversations they have. Their perspective naturally aligns with the job seeker’s, and they’ll often point out details about the workplace or organization that managers and recruiters might overlook.
Providing your employees with a good story to tell is one reason to always pay attention to your company’s culture and employee experience. People talk about their work with families and friends, after all. When they’re engaged by their employer and work experience, they share their perceptions and enthusiasm. Their talk contributes to the general "word on the street" that can help build your employer brand.
Also, incorporate your employer brand into everything you do. Job descriptions, your website’s career pages, social media messages, even the emails you send job seekers should reflect how you want the company to be perceived. For example, if your company likes to project an informal, laid-back approach to business, don’t allow your website to sound too formal. If you emphasize your commitment to employees as individuals, perhaps it’s better to feature photographs of small teams rather than cavernous warehouses.
Such details help paint a larger picture of how the company approaches business—and how it regards its employees.
Consider the Candidate's Experience
All that said, the employer brand isn’t only about websites and emails and policies. At some point, the candidate interacts directly with your company. When they do, their experience contributes to the overall brand, as well.
From job ads to interviews, every interaction between candidates and your company affects their perception. If they submit their resume through your website and never receive an acknowledgment, for example, they’re likely to think candidates aren’t particularly important to you.
Break down your recruiting and hiring process to understand what happens at each step. Every touchpoint, from reading the first job posting to sitting down for a final interview with a department head, should reflect your desired employer brand.
And don’t fall into the trap of thinking it’s only the opinion of advancing candidates that matters. How you treat the candidates you don’t hire says a lot about your company, as well. Plus, the candidate who didn’t fit for today’s open role may be perfect for one opening up next quarter.
Just as your brand encourages customers to do business with you, the employer brand reinforces the feeling that candidates want to build their career with your business. When you’re recruiting, it plays a big part in shaping the labor market’s perception of your organization. Actively manage it, and you’ll attract stronger candidates and fill roles more quickly throughout the organization.