July 5th, 2017 | Debbie Lamb, Sterling Talent Solutions

Employer Branding From Not to HOT

When I was looking for a new job, one of the first things that I researched is how a company presented itself via their website and social media channels. Do they have a fun, engaging culture and do they share those experiences with their followers? Do they highlight their values and show how employees live the company values every day? Does the company look like a rewarding and enjoyable place to work? In today’s job market, candidates are looking at all of these factors and more before choosing to apply for a position at a company.

Sterling Talent Solutions and iCIMS recently partnered on a webinar entitled, “Employer Branding: From not to HOT” which shares the importance of creating a partnership between human resources, marketing and technology solutions to create a great employer brand. Sterling Talent Solutions’ CMO Lisa Singer and Senior Director of Talent Acquisition, Lanny Love along with Danielle Bertini, Product Marketing Manager at iCIMS, a strategic partner of Sterling share their insights, best practices and real life experiences as well as the results from iCIMS “Branding for Better Hires” report.

What is Employer Brand and Why Does it Matter?

Consumer and employer brand are two different ideas, yet in today’s world, the lines between them are blurring. According to Branding for Better Hires, by 2020 half of all executives say the connection between consumer and employer brands will continue to increase. Consumer branding is your brand, solution or product image to drive awareness, preference and ultimately revenue from a product or service. Employer branding is a company’s image that is projected to job seekers highlighting company culture, core values, corporate philanthropy, diversity and more. It’s also the specific message or image about an organization conveyed to job candidates as part of recruitment marketing efforts. Today, employer brands must effectively captivate candidate interest.

Employer branding sets the parameter for the overall candidate hiring experience. In a candidate-driven job market, it’s more important than ever for employers to differentiate themselves from their competition. 94% of job seekers are likely to apply for a job if the employer actively manages their employer brand. Recruiters agree with this, 83% of recruiting leaders say an employer brand significantly impacts their ability to hire the best talent. Strong employer branding brings about higher return on investment by having lower turnover, reduced candidate cost and less time needed to fill open positions.

How Marketing Can Help HR Build and Execute an Effective Employer Brand Strategy

Every company has a unique story to tell. HR and Marketing should ideally partner to create and promote an engaging story both internally and externally. The marketing team is sure to have consumer brand strategies in place to help develop an employer branding partnership. A few of these strategies are listed below:

  • Find the Connection between Employer and Consumer Brands: Many job candidates may already interact with or at least be aware of your brand as a consumer, so companies need to build off of that strategy to build a stronger employer brand.
  • Target Your Message: Just as Marketing and Sales teams create buyer personas for prospects, an HR team needs to develop candidate personas for their job seekers vs. a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s vital to target messaging to the goals, concerns and needs of the people you are engaging with.
  • Map the Candidate Journey: Assure that the brand message is aligned throughout the entire candidate journey. It’s also important to be transparent, respectful and supportive throughout the entire hiring process.
  • Nurture your Candidate Pools: Just as it’s important to keep sales prospects “warm” throughout the sales cycle; the talent acquisition team should also have a “warm bench” for candidates, especially when they have many transferrable skillsets. Recruiters should keep top candidates in their pipeline for future hiring needs.

What You Need to Consider When Developing or Repositioning Your Employee Brand

HR and Marketing should ideally partner on employee branding early in the process to align on goals, plans and success metrics. Early buy-in and alignment from the executive level through human resources to marketing will position the program for maximum success.

Make sure that your employer brand is clearly defined and communicated. Start with defining the following:

  • Company Culture
  • Work Environment
  • Core Values
  • Communication Strategy

Creating a Positive Employee Advocacy Program

There are many aspects to creating a positive employee advocacy program including using social media, encouraging employee referrals and using Glassdoor and other employee rating sites. Encourage new employees to post on Glassdoor, especially after you’ve done your part to make their onboarding a positive experience. One-half of all job seekers surveyed said they read company reviews on Glassdoor before applying for a job.

Today, a majority of job seekers use social media to research employers and apply for jobs. Just as a consumer brand is promoted via social media, the employer brand should be maximized on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. These sites are great ways to share impactful insights into your employer brand, community involvement and employee engagement. Social media has become a powerful window into a company’s culture.

Let employees speak for the company by including them in videos and other content that speaks to your organization’s values such as sharing photos of company charity events, everyday office events and even fun, candid shots of team spirit and collaboration. Identify your company’s culture advocates or brand ambassadors who regularly speak out positively for the company and include them in planning.

Also, develop a career page that is fully aligned with your company brand. Include photos, icons, video of current employees, testimonials, ways to learn more via social media pages and direct links to open positions.

Measure Success and Strength of Employer Brand

There is no “one size fits all” approach as goals are often based on the size of the company and how long it has been established. Common overarching goals are to achieve a faster, more cost effective hiring cycle without sacrificing quality of candidates. And, the ability to attract and retain high quality hires that are passionate about what they do can improve overall workplace morale.

What are HR teams measuring today?

  • Retention Rate
  • Employee Engagement
  • Quality of Hire
  • Cost Per Hire
  • Number of Applicants

Decide what metrics are important for your teams and build reports to monitor regularly. For social media, use the tool’s internal tracking such as Facebook Insights or LinkedIn tracking. There are quite a lot of tools out there to use, so it is important to pick one that matches your company’s needs. Use simple, engaging technology and tools for your needs, such as the iCIMS suite of products, which provides companies with a holistic view of the candidate journey and Sterling Talent Solutions platform to streamline the background screening process.

Employer Branding is Ongoing

Developing an employer branding program is an ongoing process. Based on testing, the program can be optimized to achieve better overall results as your organization grows. Partnering with your Marketing Team to create an employer brand strategy and plan will help HR teams identify, communicate and stay true to the company values and goals.  Find out more about the importance building a strong employer brand for recruiting and marketing purposes, listen to an OnDemand version of our “Employer Branding: From Not to HOT” webinar.

This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.