There are a few hot topics in HR-Land this year. The Candidate Experience, Data Driven HR and Performance Management seem to dominate every blog, thread and online magazine I skim. Another winner is Employer Branding, which I think makes total sense given the popularity of the before mentioned Candidate Experience. After all, a strong Employer Brand should naturally have a positive effect on the applicant’s experience, right? Time to have a closer look, here are 5 best practices to adopt immediately.
Why it Matters
First things first: What exactly is an Employer Brand and why is it important to create one? The answer to this question – and at the same time the best definition I’ve come across – is the following: Your Employer Brand is the image that comes to mind when someone hears your company’s name. Knowing this, I think we can go as far as to say that your business’s success is strongly linked to the image both your customers – as well as your employees and applicants – have of your organisation. That’s why it matters.
Right, now let’s dive into the best practices that help you create a strong employer brand.
1. Know Your Culture
If you haven’t established a clear company culture, don’t bother starting on your employer brand – sort out the culture first. What does your firm stand for? How do your employees represent the business, both towards others and towards themselves? If you’re not sure, simply ask them what they do and do not like about the culture within your organisation.
Your company culture – as well as your Employer Brand – is reflected in everything; from the way employees behave and dress to the setup of your office and the words used in marketing material. This is why it’s so important to know your culture inside and out.
2. The Perfect Brand Ambassadors
Once you’ve made sure you and your employees live and breath the company culture, you’ve got a solid base to work from. One of the reasons you want everyone to be on the same wavelength is because it means you have an army of brand ambassadors; your employees. If every member of your staff knows what your company stands for, what it is they love about working there and which vacancies you currently have, there really is no better way to spread the word. Just make sure that every employee sees – and tells – things the same way.
There’s an added benefit of having happy employees act as your brand ambassadors. Employee referrals are an increasingly popular way of recruiting and it often is a faster, cheaper and better way to recruit. The fact that the person who got in via a referral already knows the employee that made the referral means they are both likely to stay longer in the company and the risk of a ‘culture misfit’ is a lower too. This obviously has a positive effect on your organisation’s turnover rate. Here you can read more on why employees are good recruiters.
Throughout your entire recruitment process you want to make sure your Employer Brand is represented. Tis means every step of the way, from the job advert to the interviews and from all email or telephone communications to the candidate assessments. We’ve talked about the importance of job adverts before – go here if you missed it.
A particular part of the recruitment process we’d like to highlight here is the candidate assessment. Especially if you test your applicants’ intelligence, personality and skills all at the same time, chances are you use a software tool. The good thing about HR preselection software is that they can reflect your Employer Brand. Once the candidates have been through the online assessment, they’ve experienced how it is to work at your company, they’ve seen their future colleagues and tasted the culture. In other words: they know what to expect (and what not to).
This is what that looks like:
4. Embrace Technology
In its broadest sense that is. Use social media for starters, because really, how can you not in this day and age; your future employees practically spend more time on Youtube, Snapchat, Instagram – and the rest – than in the real world. It provides you with the perfect opportunity to spread whatever message it is that you want to send out there. Be original, but true to your brand identity and use the socials for your firm’s benefit.
Use HR technology too. We mentioned our preselection tool TalentPitch as an example before, because it reflects your Employer Brand towards candidates during the recruitment process. As such it can be a big help in selecting the right people for your company. But there are lots of different HR tech tools to support you in various HR functions; check them out and pick the ones you think can make your life easier.
5. Be Consistent
This is why we started with the importance of establishing a company culture first. It’s also why all employees need to be on the same wavelength when it comes to spreading the word about your organisation. Your Employer Branding voice should penetrate each and every part of the business; all marketing, email & phone communications, all employee communications, literally everything that somehow sends out a message, whether this is in-or outside the company. As with a lot of things, consistency is key.
A Last Word
In a time where customer (and employer!) competition is fierce and social media are omnipresent, every brand building opportunity counts. Many companies choose to focus on their consumer brand and although this is understandable, it is not the wisest thing to do. As I saw someone put it beautifully during one of my skimming sessions: ‘The Employer Brand is the long game’. Create a strong Employer Brand – in close cooperation with your employees – so they’ll be happy to work for your company and treat your customers like kings (or queens). Amen.