3 Ways HR Can Use Employer Branding to Attract and Retain Top Talent

Author: Mark Sexton, Enterprise Sales Manager
Oct 21, 2016

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Business leaders today recognise that their workforce is one of their most significant competitive advantages. Recruiting and nurturing the best talent is absolutely crucial for ambitious organisations hungry for continued success.
Talent is also one of the primary problems organisations across the world are faced with today. According to Harvard Business review almost three-quarters of CEOs are concerned about the availability of key skills and 36% of companies are experiencing talent shortages.

Jason Seiden of Brand Amper says that “a company has a reputation in the market for its products and what it sells. But companies also have a reputation as employers.” This ‘reputation as employers’ is referred to as employer branding, and it has become more and more important to organisations, as without one they’ll struggle to keep up in today’s hyper-competitive talent marketplace.

But a powerful employee brand can help you to dominate the talent market. Isn’t it time you started paying closer attention to yours?


Why is employer branding so important?


First things first – what exactly is employer branding? CIPD defines employer branding as ‘…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’.

“Everything a candidate has ever heard, read or witnessed about your company will enter into the decision of whether to work with your company.” So says Will Staney, former Head of Global Recruiting at Glassdoor, a company who know a thing or two about the importance of employer branding.

A strong employer brand is important in helping your organisation stand out from your competitors when it comes to attracting the top talent within your industry. Research also suggests that organisations who implement an effective employer brand have been able to cut their cost-per-hire in half and attract more than 3 times as many applicants per vacancy.

Here are three ways you can ensure your employer brand is sending the right message about your organisation.


Know your employer value proposition


Your Employer Value Proposition (EVP) forms the bedrock of your employer brand. An EVP outlines your company’s values and the benefits that you offer to candidates and employees. It requires a deep understanding of your organisation’s culture and values, of what motivates and drives your current employees, and of the main groups of potential candidates you want to target. This requires significant research and planning.

When defining the EVP, organisations need to address various questions – What does our current employer brand say about us to prospective candidates? What types of candidates do we want to attract? What motivates and interests those candidates? How can we create an environment that caters to those motivations?


The personal touch makes a big difference


Meghan M. Biro, CEO of TalentCulture, says, “People want to deal with people.” The personal touch is vital in an effective employer brand. Candidates today can interact with your organisation in so many ways – through your website and social media, through jobs boards, via current employees, and many others. Each of these interactions provides a unique opportunity to personally engage with a candidate who could become one of the future leaders in your organisation.

Increasingly, organisations are turning to HR technology to help them improve their recruitment operations and increase efficiencies by automating many parts of the recruitment process, but that doesn’t mean the personal touch goes out the window. If anything it should be quite the opposite.

Advanced recruitment software makes it easier to communicate with larger volumes of candidates and ensure personalised responses and interactions even to unsuccessful ones. Mobile technology is another key area, and the ability to apply for vacancies with a few taps of their smartphone is something many candidates not only appreciate, but expect as the norm these days.

To really deliver a personal touch in your employer brand, you need to start thinking like a candidate. Put yourself in their shoes and understand what’s important to them during their interactions with your brand. What will make that candidate come away with a positive disposition towards you and the feeling that the interaction mattered as much to you as it did to them?


Deliver on your brand


Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it’s vital that your EVP and resulting employer brand are rooted firmly in the real world. This isn’t just a theoretical exercise. And it goes beyond being merely a corporate, HR, or recruitment strategy.

The ultimate goal of a strong employer brand is to recruit more and better candidates for your organisation. Once these candidates become employees, they’ll expect to live the brand they experienced during the recruitment process.

So your employer brand must closely align with your organisational culture and the employee experience. When it does, your new hires that were attracted to your organisation will quickly become engaged and passionate employees. They can themselves become part of the employer brand and become vocal advocates champion your cause far and wide.

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