Wouldn’t it be awesome if the best possible talent knew your company and couldn’t wait to apply for your jobs the moment they got posted? If you’re working hard trying to fill roles and have hiring managers breathing down your neck, employer branding probably sounds like a luxury. Except it’s not. If you’re not out there working on your company’s hiring reputation, someone else is, and you may not like the way they see things.
You see, in the 1990s, when employer branding first became a thing, it was handled from the top down. Companies decided how to present their brand, and it was mostly under their control. Employees didn’t really have a way to easily make their voices heard. Now, in the days of social media, employees can go online and tell the world what they think of a company. Not only can they participate in how your brand is presented, but their voice may be more powerful than yours. Think about it. Who are you more likely to trust, a company telling you about how great it is to work there, or an employee talking about their actual work experiences? As you’d expect, studies confirm that people trust their peers over companies when it comes to an employer’s brand.
How much does it really matter?
Still not sure if this is worth your time? Check out these stats. A study by LinkedIn showed that companies with strong employer brands got more than twice as many applicants as companies with poor employer reputations. On top of that, two in three employees would work for less money if the company has a positive employer brand. In one poll, 50 percent said they wouldn’t work for a company that had a bad reputation as an employer, even if they were offered better pay. In this tough hiring market, that should be enough to get everyone on board.
Good employer branding can get you more applicants, and save you money on hires. Letting your employer brand go and hoping for the best could end up costing you money and talent.
So what can you do about it?
Caring about employer branding doesn’t really accomplish much. What can you do as a recruiter to affect it? Here are some concrete, actionable steps you can take.
For one, you can help connect potential candidates to the voices that will influence their perception of the brand. You can show them positive reviews of the company, share employee LinkedIn and Twitter accounts that reflect positively on the company, and help to amplify those voices through your company’s social media.
Knowing your audience is also a big help. If you know exactly what an ideal employee’s pain points are, you can explain how your company addresses them.
Here’s a three-step process to help you do that:
- Go to Google and enter a search like this: inurl:forum [position you’re hiring for]. For example, “inurl:forum nurses.”
- Check out some of the forums and look for particular pain points people with this position bring up. With nurses, you’ll see lots of people talking about high patient loads.
- Now use this information. Say the company you’re hiring for offers lower-than-average patient loads. You could post a video to Facebook with nurses talking about the benefits of lower patient loads, write a post about this on your blog or promote this on Instagram.
The general idea is that you can research what really matters to your ideal employees and then use this in your communications with them. They’ll be more interested in your employer brand when you’re talking about the issues they care about, and showing how your company addresses them.
Even if employer branding sounds like a luxury to you, improving it by doing a little research and helping to curate positive employee messages about your company isn’t terribly time-consuming or expensive.
Just doing the research alone is worth your time. You’ll know your audience better and have an idea of how to better market to your ideal employee.
Adam Seabrook is co-founder of Betterteam. Before Betterteam, Adam spent 10 years recruiting for companies such as Google, Atlassian, Dell, Symantec, Coca-Cola, BigCommerce, and Oracle. He lives in Sydney, Australia. Follow him on Twitter.