Employer Branding – Giving your business the competitive advantage

What is an Employer Brand?

All organisations have, consciously or not, an Employer Brand.  A strong employer brand helps businesses in gaining a competitive advantage in competing for the best talent and establishing credibility. It should connect with an organisation’s values and must run consistently through its approach to people management.  According to CIPD, it’s a set of attributes and qualities, often intangible, that makes an organisation distinctive, promises a particular kind of employment experience, and appeals to those people who will thrive and perform best in its culture.

The Recruitment Market has Changed

Historically, the relationship between companies and job applicants was pretty one-sided, with the recruiter holding all the aces.   That is no longer the case, we are living in a candidate led market.  With the number of vacancies at a 20 year high, at more than 1.1 million.  The result is that the shoe is now very much on the other foot.  Candidates are being far more selective. With so much choice out there, when a candidate sees a job opportunity, they are actively researching those companies prior to deciding whether or not to apply.

Employer Brand is a Key Recruitment Tool

Promoting a unique Employer Brand is a key recruitment tool, especially when trying to attract the very best talent.  Employer Branding is about defining your unique employee value proposition.  (See more here on Employee Value Propositions).  The same principal applies whatever size or type of organisation you are; any business that has competitors, needs to be able to make themselves more appealing to candidates than others within their sector or geography.  Candidates are looking for more than the highest salary, and when looking for a new role, selecting an organisation that has a culture, philosophy and business values that appeals to them is key in their decision-making process. 

Staying ahead of the Competition

In this article we are not going to discuss how to build your Employer Brand, that will be covered in a follow up article. However, as a guide, you should demonstrate qualities to sell your business to desirable candidates and show them how you stand out from other employers – the same way you distinguish your products and services from those of your competition.  Staying ahead of the competition is essential for developing any business, and the same can be said about appealing to great candidates and developing a reputation for being a great place to work.

Accessibility

In order for a candidate to be able to make these informed decisions, they need to be able to access the relevant information about the organisations they are considering.  According to a Glassdoor Site Survey, the majority of candidates read six reviews before forming an opinion about a company and 70 percent of people now look to reviews before they make career decisions. Therefore, making your Employer Brand visible to the widest audience is a key component of the recruitment process.

A Smart Business Investment

It should now be clear that creating and sharing a strong Employer Brand is a smart business investment.  You should prominently display your company culture and values in as many places as possible in order to make it as accessible to the widest audience. The goal, is to reinforce to potential employees, that your organisation is a great place to work.

Employer Branding is for All Organisations

Before we get in to how to promote your Employer Branding, I think it is important to reiterate that creating a strong Employer Brand is essential for all organisations, whether you are a large corporate or a SME (Small to Medium Enterprise) and whether you are working nationally or within a small geographical area.  If you are looking to recruit, then in order to attract top talent, a strong Employer Brand is essential.  It is also worth noting that having a strong Employer Brand is important for whatever role you are looking to fill, whether that be a graduate trainee, a senior executive, an engineer on the road or a customer services representative. They will all be checking you out.

Where to promote your Employer Brand

The top three channels to promote your Employer Brand are

  • Company Website
  • Online Professional Networks    
  • Social Media

Company Website

On your “about us” and “news” pages, remember to include stories about your employees, celebrating their achievements and welcoming new team members.  It should also have articles and updates about your organisations culture, your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and how you are making a difference in your community.  (Read more about how to use your CSR as a recruitment tool).   These pages should not be just about your business successes or your product/service news, they should tell stories about your business woven into your corporate branding.  Candidates can also be customers or clients, and they can also become advocates, extolling the virtues of your brand name to all that will listen.

Online Professional Networks

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the most obvious professional network to share Employer Brand stories. Assuming you have your own business page on LinkedIn, keep it fresh and regularly updated with good news stories about employees and their achievements.  Also use your own personal LinkedIn profile to share stories – these can be less “corporate”, add humour and don’t need to be so directly related to your business, giving you the opportunity to demonstrate the human side of your organisation.

Industry Groups

Most business sectors have professional associations with a strong online presence.  Try to get positive articles published that relate to your Employer Brand, as well as your business prowess.  If you want to attract candidates from competitors, what better place to grab their attention with positive stories that promote your Employer Brand.

Social Media

Facebook

If you’re a small local business, you probably have a Facebook page you use to interact with the local community and potential customers. If you are a larger organisation, you might use a slightly different approach, such as sponsored posts.  Whatever your current strategy on Facebook, start using it to promote your Employer Brand, mixing your posts up a bit with some engaging employee stories will be a positive move.

Twitter, Instagram, Youtube…..

These are all also equally useful social media outlets to create a company profile. Start sharing stories that will allow you to promote your Employer Brand – though clearly Youtube will take a little more effort, with you needing to publish videos rather than just words. All of them give you the communication channels to share more human stories, introduce a bit of humour and give a more personal impression of your business, with the aim of demonstrating it is a great place to work.

In-house or Out-sourced Recruitment – Employer Branding is Equally Relevant

Strong Employer Branding is an equally important recruitment tool, whether you do your own in-house recruitment or use the services of a professional recruitment business.  A candidate who is interested in your role will do their research, whether it be through your website, your LinkedIn page, or through social media posts.

Strong Employer Branding is good for business

As a final thought, strong Employer Branding is good for business, as well as attracting the right calibre of candidates, it is also an ideal tool for attracting and retaining customers. Whether they be consumers or businesses, everyone likes to spend their money or award contracts with organisations they can relate to and respect. With that thought in mind we highly recommend you invest the time and effort to develop your Employer Branding and make it visible to the widest audience possible.

About the Author

Jeremy Barwick is the founder and Managing Director of The Recruitment Bureau. He founded the agency due to his frustration and disappointment with his experience with the recruitment industry in his career in senior management roles within the sales, marketing and customer services environment. The Recruitment Bureau, he created, is a Kent based recruitment agency that provides bespoke recruitment services to organisations of all sizes and in all market sectors, principally in Kent, London and the home counties.  Whether you are just looking to develop your Employer Branding or looking for a business partner that can help you find your perfect candidates click here and lets start talking.

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