How to Successfully Build Your Employer Brand

An effective, purposeful employer brand lets the right talent know when they have landed in the right place. Companies with strong employer brands recruit good employees faster and retain them longer. Here’s how to build your employer brand.

What employer branding is not

Employer branding is not about advertising that you are a good employer. It’s about being one. It’s easy to think that the key to attracting the very best talent to your team is highlighting all of those cool perks in the workplace that look great on social media and the “Culture” page of your company website.

I mean, who wouldn’t want to play ping pong at work like you or participate in your office-wide “Froyo Fridays”? However, here’s some food for thought: if someone walked up to you on the street and asked you what makes your company so amazing, what would you say? Chances are, your response wouldn’t be anywhere near, “Well, we have a cute ping pong table and free frozen yoghurt on Fridays.”

Yes, perks are cool. Yes, they improve day-to-day life for your employees. However, they aren’t going to keep people at your company and they definitely aren’t the most important factor that set you apart from other potential employers. No, it takes much more than that to build your employer brand.

What is employer branding?

Your mission, current employees, company culture, and the opportunities for growth your organisation offers carry far more weight than any exciting games or free snacks. Those core elements of what it’s like to work at your company are what people want to get a sense of before applying. And the key to sharing all this vital information is to build your employer brand.

Your employer brand is what helps prospective job applicants buy into what your company is all about—your culture, people, and purpose. This could be through your social media, business cards, logo, etc.

Your employer brand effectively highlights these qualities that make your organisation a special place to work, setting you apart from the crowd, humanising your organisation, and ultimately inspiring candidates to apply for your consideration.

Here are great tips on how to build your employer brand and make sure you attract top talent.

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Learn yourself

Look inward and find out what makes your workplace unique. Start with your current star employees – the ones who have been around for a while and have thrived within the organisation.

Sit down and ask them: Why did they join? Why have they stayed? What aspects of your culture and ways of doing business really excite them? Understanding the motivators of these employees is the first step to continuing to attract and retain more like them.

Nurture your culture

Keep in mind that your employer brand is a reflection of your culture and so building a positive culture is the key to building a strong employer brand. What type of culture are you aiming to create? What type of talent do you need to bring on board to create that culture? What do they want?

For example, according to Deloitte 83% of millennials are actively engaged when they believe an organisation fosters an inclusive culture so you need to make your hiring more inclusive to attract more millennials.

Leverage brand perception

Employees use platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Glassdoor to share their experiences.

In fact, Glassdoor reports that 70% of people look at reviews before they make career decisions. These platforms are a source of valuable feedback to identify and tackle pain points that could deter right-fit talent from applying as well as improve your organisation’s employee value proposition as a whole.

Respond to online reviews

You can’t control what people say about you online, but you can control how you respond. Use the feedback you receive from online platforms or your own candidate experience survey to build your employer brand.

If, for example, past candidates share negative interview experiences, you should look into training your hiring managers on interview techniques. Even if they are harsh and/or rude, always make it a point to respond to negative reviews and comments with grace and empathy.

Embrace and leverage social media

Use social media to build and showcase your employer brand. You may choose to be active on one or more social networks, depending on your culture and messaging.

For example, you could post your jobs on Facebook. It’s important to have an analysis of your page performance with Facebook dashboard template to assess the success of posting. Or, you could capture company events moment-by-moment with Snapchat. And when it comes to your social media strategy, you have to be yourself. People can tell if you’re faking it, and then they will be discouraged from applying for your open roles.

Build your employer brand

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Tell your employees’ stories

Your current employees are employer brand’s biggest ambassadors. Most candidates want to know what their potential future coworkers like about their jobs. Use genuine employee testimonials to add a human element to your careers page.

You could shoot videos of employees at work, while also providing an office tour. Such storytelling is an opportunity to make your brand personal, to tell the story of real people rather than the faceless company. Such engaging human narratives help you better attract the type of candidates who could see themselves creating similar stories.

Offer perks that people actually want

Yes, perks are not what an employer brand is all bout but they do contribute to attracting and retaining employees. And they don’t have to be expensive like Google’s on-site gym. Inexpensive perks, if thoughtfully planned, can also motivate employees.

Instead of wasting money on perks that your employees don’t care about, just ask them what they would like to have through internal surveys or informal discussions. Then list these perks, if you can offer them, in your job ads. Policies like flexible working hours and work from home always go a long way towards making employees happier.

In Summary

While one company’s successful employer branding strategy might not work for another one, your employer brand is what differentiates you from competitors. Take the time to build your employer brand, make sure it’s unique, represents your values and attracts the people you want to work with.

Gerald Ainomugisha

Gerald Ainomugisha

Gerald is a freelance writer with a pen that is keen for entrepreneurship, business and technology. When he isn't writing insightful articles on employee engagement and corporate culture, Gerald can be found writing for a number of media outlets.