By Richard Allaway, Division Vice President and General Manager of National Account Services, ADP
“Employer brand” goes by many names: Talent brand, employer value proposition, brand voice. Whatever you call it, it can be a tricky thing to get right. In today’s communications landscape, brand is not just how you market yourself to the outside world, it’s who you are. It’s what people say about your company when you’re not in the room. Achieving an authentic employer brand requires consistent and creative external messaging that rings true to your company’s internal culture. And it’s vital for attracting and retaining the best talent.
A recent Gallup® Business poll shows that high-quality candidates seek companies that align with who they are. If potential leaders and top-performing candidates put serious weight on an employer brand, then companies need to recognize its vital role in the war for talent.
Here are five tips to build a better branding strategy to ensure your organization attracts, rather than deters, top talent:
Make a Good Online Impression
According to the CareerBuilder® 2016 Candidate Behavior study, 64 percent of job candidates start their research at a company’s career site. And you know what they say about first impressions: You get one chance to make one! Therefore, it’s important companies not only have a succinct career site that tells their stories effectively, but also one that is set up for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) success so people can actually find it. This is especially true when marketing toward Millennials, who value the power of a good story. Companies should present themselves in a clear, interesting, and authentic way. It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering storytelling, just memorable in a way that helps your company stand out in a candidate’s mind. If you have a great veterans program or a women-in-leadership program, make sure those attention grabbers are easily visible on your career site. Then, don’t forget to keep the site current and ensure it’s mobile-responsive.
Diversify Social Content
Content comes in many forms: Text, audio, video, graphics, infographics, animations, and more. And now, there is virtually a social platform for every content type. With 77 percent of adults now using social media, companies, even those with limited budgets, need to consider how they’re leveraging social media to engage with their talent pool. Sharing branded content from a company’s website across social channels is a cheap and quick way to leverage existing content and reach a large pool of potential talent. Also, think about incorporating career advice into your social media calendar and creating social media handles specific to career openings and employee testimonials.Further, encourage recruiters to leverage social media to help reach more of the passive job candidates who aren’t necessarily looking, but whose interest can be piqued enough to visit your career site.
Empower Employees to Run with Your Brand
One of the best ways a company can promote its brand is through employee advocacy programs. According to Nielsen®, 83 percent of people trust the recommendations of their family, friends, and people they know. For many, these types of testimonials are more powerful than corporate messaging. Empowering employees to tell your company’s story is a great way to improve brand reputation, gain trust, and create organic traffic without having to put dollars behind it. This includes formally codifying and sharing employee stories via video and written testimonials. Think about “day in the life” employee videos. Also, work to ensure current employees have a positive experience so that they speak well of your business outside of work, which is particularly important in the age of websites like Glassdoor®. Potential candidates don’t want to hear from your CEO; they want to be convinced your company’s a great place to work from people like them on the front lines.
Culture Drives Brand, Especially for Millennials
Millennials value values. For them, a job is more than just a paycheck. It’s also about culture, and how a company interacts with the communities in which its employees live and work. Consider: Does your company have any community service initiatives or wellness programs? If not, you may be missing an opportunity to better engage with your talent pool. According to the Deloitte® 2017 Millennial Survey, being involved with good causes helps Millennials feel empowered to help the world around them, and 77 percent of Millennials are involved with a charity. Another consideration for young people outside of compensation is benefits. Tuition reimbursement, 401(k) plans, and wellness initiatives like free or discounted gym memberships are just some of the benefits that help shape your culture and can help attract talent. Remember: It’s not just about showing you’re a laid-back culture with free food and a game room. Millennials, in particular, have grown up primarily in the digital age and have a particularly keen sense for inauthenticity. So before you tout an accomplishment, benefit or cause, be sure it’s authentic and true to the way your company operates.
Not Having a Presence Is Hurting Companies
Companies are missing the boat if they’re not leveraging talent communities efficiently to reach people who are already interested in their business. Only one percent of Fortune 500® companies are communicating with potential employees beyond simply pushing out a general job alert, according to the marketing company SmashFly Technologies® Recruitment Marketing Report Card for the 2016 Fortune 500. Not following up once you’ve pushed out an alert is a missed opportunity.Companies should think about how they can engage organically with their candidate pool. If someone visits your career page, send them an email welcoming them to your talent community. This could also mean sending a monthly newsletter to keep job seekers updated on internal news, or training recruiters to better connect with candidates at important touchpoints during the application process. When reaching out for an interview, for example, a recruiter can add a blurb or two about what is happening in the organization.
Branding yourself to be an employer of choice can’t be done in a day. It’s a process that doesn’t start or stop; rather, it’s a continuous effort to tell one’s story and ensure that story reaches the right people. In the ongoing war for talent, simple adjustments in the way a company presents itself can make a huge difference in bringing top talent in the door, and keeping them proud and passionate about their employer!