The management of most organizations believe that their company is a great place to work, and operate from that point of view. But managing your employer brand means much more than just espousing a public relations image or a catchphrase. Candidates seek good culture fit just as much as employers and recruiters do, and use various avenues to find out what it’s really like to work at a company. A recent Monster/Unum study of job seekers revealed that 87 percent of candidates want a company that cares about employee well-being. Managing your employer brand is a key recruiting tool. Here are six recommendations for improving your employer brand:
1. Monitor Your Employer Brand
Recruiters benefit from monitoring employee engagement and managing employee culture. Awareness of company reputation and brand through online sources such as Glassdoor and Vault yields real time employer brand perception. Building a strong employer brand and culture takes time but pays off in recruiting benefits by attracting good candidates. Recruiters and employers who regularly survey employees and candidates, or implement candidate experience programs to capture honest input about employer brand, can use that input for continuous improvement in their recruiting practices and culture building activities. McDonald s is a prime example of a company with a challenging employer brand. “McJob” conjures up images of low-paying low-prestige work.
2. Use a Clear Brand Message in Recruiting
Clear brand messages across all recruiting channels and methods helps recruiters match candidates with culture. Job descriptions and internal and external interviewers should all give the same impression of culture. Candidates should not get confused by your company culture or employer brand. Whether it’s a fun, relaxed company culture or serious, fast-paced culture, your company culture should be apparent to employees, management, recruiters, and candidates alike so that recruiters have a foundation to work from when trying to match candidates and culture fit.
3. Nurture Your Company Culture
Hopefully, your company culture is something people want to be part of. But if it’s not, find out why and work on changing it. An honest assessment of culture, through employee surveys (in-house or third-party administered) produces input that points to opportunities for improvement. Candidates look for cultures that practice good values they believe in, cultures that incorporate appreciation and gratitude, and cultures that are communicative and functional. These are attributes that should be cultivated in company culture.
4. Implement and Sustain An Employer Branding Campaign
Set clear goals for your employer brand and make them happen. Set up continuous assessment/monitoring of employee feedback and concerns with an action plan component. Don’t just task HR or sales and marketing with employer branding. Make sure the CEO is invested in your employer branding campaign. Think Steve Jobs at Apple, and how he is associated with the company and product. Is your CEO’s messaging clearly tied to building the employer brand, communicating the culture and value of working for your organization?
5. Create a Strong Employer Brand Strategy
Employer branding must be aligned with overall business strategy to be successful. To attract and retain talent with employer branding, it must be a long-term focused strategy. Tying it to business strategy helps to get consensus on objectives and funding that are important for sustaining and improving an employer branding program. A strong employer brand strategy includes a comprehensive effort that includes culture, work experience, external perceptions, key talent drivers, management practices, and leadership vision.
6. Use Segmentation to get the Most ROI out of Your Employment Brand
Divide employees into segments and tailor benefits and branding messages based on what those employee groups want. For example, if your company has a top sales force that drives revenues, find out what your sales people want to attract and retain sales talent. If your customer service department is made up of a mix of working mothers working while raising young children and college students working their way through school, benefits to build employer branding may include flexible scheduling, work-sharing programs, and incentives aimed at those groups.
The Harvard Business Review describes company culture as an invisible force that guides employees’ behavior and choices. The impression candidates have of your company can either support your recruiting practices or cost you candidates. Recruiters ignore it at their peril. A poor employer brand is an opportunity to improve the culture to attract candidates. When a poor employer brand comes up in recruiting, be honest with candidates instead of deceptive or trying the avoid it. “I realize we have somewhat of a reputation for quality problems in customer service and warranty support, but these are areas that our vice presidents are currently working to improve” is much more effective than “What reputation? We provide excellent customer service and warranty support.”
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About the author: Andrew Greenberg has over 17 years of experience in Talent Acquisition. Industry-educated with a Master’s Degree in Personnel Psychology, Andrew draws upon a background that is rich with experiences from both Corporate and Agency staffing environments.
He is the founder and Managing Partner of The Recruiting Division, a leader in U.S.-based RPO-style recruitment solutions. Learn more about The Recruiting Division.