Employer branding strategies to woo and win over talent
Hiring 7 minute read

Employer branding strategies to woo and win over talent

Andra Mircioiu | May 14, 2020

You’re probably no stranger to customer (or consumer) branding, which is the sum of all interactions and experiences a person has with your organization. Customer branding determines whether or not someone buys your product or signs up for your service or recommends you by word-of-mouth.

Your organization likely has put a lot of effort and resources into its consumer branding: managing reviews on Google, investing in the UX/UI experience and promoting a positive company culture. 

But how much has your company invested in employer branding? 

Just like consumers, job candidates ‘shop around’ for the best deal, meaning an organization they feel connected with and which offers them growth opportunities, attractive compensation and enticing perks. 

Your company may offer all this and more to your employees—but if you’re waiting to bring it up during the interview process, you may have already lost out on the ideal job candidate. You can’t understate or underestimate the value of employer branding in recruitment, especially if you’re unable to invite candidates to tour your office or meet the team face-to-face due to social distancing protocols. 

And it’s not just active job seekers who are paying attention to your employer branding. Passive candidates, usually star employees who aren’t currently looking for a new role, can also become aware of—and possibly enticed—by your employer branding. 

If you want to attract and retain top talent, read on to learn more about employer branding strategies you can employ to help your inbox blow up with strong candidate applications. 

Before you can invest in crafting your desired employer branding, you need to know what’s already being said about your company culture, your management team, your VPs and CEO, and the general “vibe” of your organization… essentially, you need to know your reputation as an employer. 

Do people only want to work for you because you open doors to future opportunities? 

Or do your employees show up every weekday genuinely excited to contribute to your goals? 

You can gain valuable intel about how your company is perceived by surveying your current employees. Conduct stay interviews or use SurveyMonkey or a similar service to send out internal surveys and learn what your employees like best about working at your company. Find out how likely they are to recommend a job there to a friend. Ask them to rank the perks in your organization and write out what made them want to pursue a career with you. 

Try not to solicit feedback on just the good stuff. Ask your employees to be candid about what they would change in your organization or something they find frustrating about the day-the-day in the workplace. You can ask about specific pain points or leave the question open-ended, then search for common threads in the feedback you get and go from there.  

Most importantly, you should address (at the very least, acknowledge) what your employees have flagged as issues. Employer branding is not just about attracting new talent; it’s also about retaining the talent you already have. 

Potential candidates, especially at more senior levels, do reach out to current employees on LinkedIn or through their network to get a feel for what it’s like to work for your organization. If your current employees are feeling disillusioned or discouraged, it’ll come across in conversation or be read between the lines. 

And employee word-of-mouth can quickly make your company reputation precede you and tank your talent acquisition strategy. 

Websites such as ratemyprofessors.com and trustedpros.ca help people to make important life decisions and avoid buyers’ remorse for taking the wrong class or hiring the wrong contractor. 

Ours is a culture of research. With online shopping, smartphones and the now-eponymous Google, “try before you buy” has morphed into “read-reviews-before-you-buy”. Caveat emptor, the Latin phrase meaning Let the buyer beware, continues to be a piece of wisdom passed down from generation to generation. 

There’s a website that does the same for jobs: Glassdoor, whose mission is helping candidates find a job and company they love. Each company has a profile where candidates can find the overall rating of a company, pros and cons, CEO approval rating, a breakdown of the interview process, salary information and reported benefits. Both current and former employees can write anonymous reviews. 

You can’t remove or alter reviews (nor should you) but you can reply to them—and we highly recommend finding or hiring someone in your company to actively monitor and respond to Glassdoor reviews. Engaging with reviews on Glassdoor, both positive and negative, helps to bolster your employer branding by showing that you’re open to feedback and healthy dialogue. 

If possible, acknowledge the issue(s) presented in a review and provide next steps when replying to a Glassdoor review. For example, if a former employee mentions being frustrated by a lack of feedback from their manager, you can reply with a thank-you and share that you’re currently looking into new software that can capture and share feedback within your organization. 

If you’re unable to give a follow-up to an issue, sincerely thank your former employee for their contributions. 

Put together your Employee Value Proposition 

To a certain extent, your customer branding can passively attract talent. For example, tentree is a Canadian outdoor apparel company that works with nonprofits to plant 10 trees for every purchase. This is an attractive proposition for consumers looking to reduce their carbon footprint. It’s also something that strongly resonates with candidates who strongly believe in environmental causes and want their careers to reflect their beliefs.  

Like your consumer branding, your employer branding is informed by your mission, values and company culture. An Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is the reason why someone would want to work for you; it’s everything your company can offer as an employer. 

In practical terms, the EVP is a short summary of your company that focuses on your impact or purpose rather than on compensation or benefits—because you wouldn’t want to hire someone who’s only in it for the money. 

Ask your marketing or communications team for help with creating your EVP and incorporate it into your company profile on your website as well as your LinkedIn and Glassdoor company profiles. Your HR department and hiring managers can also reference your EVP when discussing a role with potential employees and also include it in your job descriptions. 

Want to effectively communicate your EVP to the job market? Get social.

Brand social media accounts are one of the most cost-effective and visible ways to showcase your employer branding. If your office is dog friendly, share photos of your four-legged employees. If your best meetings happen during a friendly ping-pong match, post a boomerang video on your Instagram. Do you celebrate birthdays every month? Share a photo of the cake being cut. 

Encourage your employees to post about perks they enjoy or day-in-the-life snapshots, even something as simple as celebrating together with a team lunch on a Friday. However, keep an eye out for overly enthusiastic wording or hashtags that can come off as forced (or coerced). 

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