Employer branding: why it matters

By Robert Half 26th January 2018

Employer branding is a powerful recruitment tool. It has the ability to level the playfield, giving start-ups the opportunity to compete with large corporates for top talent.

Research by LinkedIn showed that more than half (52%) of UK professionals are influenced by an organisation’s purpose when deciding on a job offer. This number goes up to 56% in candidates between the ages of 16 to 24. The same research shows that 77% of businesses don’t mention their purpose on LinkedIn and a third don’t include the information on their website. This is a missed opportunity to stand out in the labour market.#

Related: How can small businesses compete with large companies

When the benefits of employer branding are so huge, why aren’t more people taking advantage of them? We explore why it pays to leverage your branding.

What is employer branding?

Every business needs a way to stand out among their competitors; this is as true in the labour market as it is in the consumer or B2B markets. Employer branding is a demonstration of company values and what you have to offer potential and existing employees over others in your market space. According to CIPD, a strong employer brand should connect the values and HR strategy while providing links to the company brand.

Why does employer branding matter?

Those that learn to develop a strong and attractive employer branding can exponentially increase company growth and performance via the following benefits:

•    Beat the war for talent

The talent shortage is set to continue into the foreseeable future with many businesses struggling to find qualified candidates to fill roles. Over the last five years we have never seen less than 85% of CFOs finding it challenging to find and attract skilled finance professionals.

Building strong employer branding makes it far easier to attract top talent to your business and even easier to secure them for a role. Attractive remuneration packages, opportunities for growth and development, and an inviting company culture are all factors that are high on a candidate wish lists.

You’ll also enjoy the added benefit of attracting professionals who are simply drawn to your branding, even though you may not actively be hiring for a role. This can be especially good for supplementing your team with temporary and interim professionals to help with skill development and large workloads.

•    Improve your company culture

Employer branding and company culture go hand in hand—one will follow on from the other. By helping your employees set and work towards goals, rewarding them for achievements, encouraging a healthy work-life balance and providing flexible benefits, you’re giving your company a wealth of attractive benefits which add to your branding.

Established employer branding also increases the tenure of your existing employees. Research conducted by Robert Half showed that employees working within a positive company culture are more engaged and have higher levels of satisfaction—useful when you consider that the average age of workplace discontent is just 35. You can maintain your company culture by working with a recruitment company like Robert Half to ensure that all your hires are the right fit.

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•    It creates in-house brand advocates

Following on from company culture, investing in your employer branding also helps to establish brand advocacy within your existing workforce. Research outlined in the It’s Time We All Work Happy: The Secrets of the happiest companies and employees report agreed that they felt more loyal when they were satisfied, engaged and happy at work.

Having staff as loyal brand advocates is favourable in an age which thrives on social media interactions, because you benefit from image amplification supported by social proof. Companies like Google, Apple and Microsoft are best case examples of this in action.

How to boost your employer branding

The most effective way to start building an employer branding that attracts quality talent is to continually invest time and effort into its maintenance. Practical strategies for this can include the following:

1.    Communicate relevance

When you sit down to write a job posting or to conduct an interview, you should strive to communicate exactly why your business makes a difference to its employees and customers. It’s this which will provide the additional pull for prospective new hires.

2.    Ensure the work remains interesting

Research for the Robert Half 2018 Salary Guide showed that employees continue to find growth and development an attractive job benefit, both in current and prospective roles. During the interview process, make a point to mention the kinds of opportunities available, be they project or training-based, as well as day-to-day tasks they’ll be expected to undertake.

3.    Promote existing employees

Growth and development for employees isn’t limited to the training you offer, it also includes the opportunity to rise through the ranks of the company. Top talent will be looking to work with companies that typically champion this as part of their hiring strategy.

4.    Establish competitive salary benchmarks

Candidates come into the interview room with a keen sense of what they’re worth within their local area and industry. It’s not uncommon for them to have done extensive research on this when beginning the hunt for a new opportunity. Ensure you’re similarly educated so that you might make an attractive offer.

Check out the Robert Half Salary Guides for comprehensive data on the latest starting salaries for hundreds of job titles.

5.    Promote the perks

Small perks, rewards and unique benefits go a long way towards making employees feel valued for what they do. There’s potential to create some real buzz around the benefits you offer—gym memberships, weekly team lunches and the ability to bring a pet to work, for example. Thinking outside the ‘company benefits’ box is an excellent way to foster candidate excitement.

6.    Leverage social media and technology

For businesses, social media represents free advertising. It costs nothing to engage with potential candidates via platforms like Twitter or Facebook and can start a new relationship off on the right foot.

Online employer branding tactics can also be strengthened by simply ensuring that career information is accurate and easy to find on your company site.

7. Remember that exit interviews are important

You can learn a lot from the employees who choose to move on from your company. Although you may be investing every effort into keeping them, staff turnover is unavoidable. Ask questions designed to help refine the existing management style and remuneration offering so you can continue to build on your employer branding.

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