How to Build An Employer Brand that Attracts & Retains Talent

An organization no longer has the luxury of a single focus such as ‘how good is our product or service?' Now, it’s equally as important to ask ‘how good a company are we to work for?’

Take Google, for example. Google’s ‘product’ is pretty simple: it’s a search engine. And while it’s a very successful one, if the company comes up in conversation, chances are it won’t be about their great product, but what a good organization it is to work for.

And Google isn’t the only one… enter L’Oreal and IKEA to name just two. These companies all have things in common. They focus on the importance of their employer brand and invest in the happiness and well-being of their employees.

Before we explore how an organization builds a brand that finds and keeps talent, let’s look at its growing importance in recruitment and retention.

Growing Importance of Employer Brand

According to Harvard Business Review, employer branding is becoming strategically more important to CEOs and HR and marketing leaders with a third looking to build their global employer brand by 2020. In addition, many leaders now believe the responsibility for the employer brand is with the CEO or marketing rather than recruiters or HR with 60% of CEOs saying it lies with them. 

Employer branding is becoming strategically more important graph

This shift in importance means that a robust employer presence is becoming more important for business looking to secure and retain key talent. So, how do companies go about boosting their employer brand?

Evaluate your employer brand awareness and reputation

In the first instance, it’s important to know where your organization stands in terms of employer branding.

A poll or survey of key external stakeholders and target audiences can measure the pulse of your company’s reputation while surveying existing employees will provide insights into the attractiveness of the business. Based on the feedback received, metrics can be established and a strategy created to improve employer brand reputation.

This can be achieved by working with HR and L&D to create objectives. While every company has some industry and organization-specific goals, some of the things every organization should strive for include:

  • Securing long-term recruitment needs
  • Taking the employer brand to a global level
  • Differentiating the employer brand from competitors
  • Building the employer brand on a local level

Invest in learning and development initiatives

Invest in learning and development opportunities

Today’s and tomorrow’s workforce is dominated by Millennials – due to make up 75% of the workforce by 2025. This demographic has an expectation to be provided with opportunities to learn new skills and develop existing ones. 

In fact, such is their desire for learning opportunities, research by Gallup reported that over half rated it as ‘extremely important’ when applying for a job. As a result, companies should be prepared to meet that expectation

In order to deliver on this appetite for learning, organizations should embrace the ever evolving e-learning landscape as it provides employees with the opportunity to learn and grow in their own time. In addition, opportunities that offer credentials that are transferable such as professional certification can make an employer more attractive than competitors.

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Capitalize on the value of your brand

69% are likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand – Glassdoor

From the outset, potential employees should understand the strengths of a company as an employer. Businesses that do this effectively are able to engage talent early and instill a loyalty that is directly related to the brand’s overall mission.

Some brands, like L’Oréal, go so far as to create a website dedicated to communicating their brand ethos to prospective employees. Entitled ‘L ’Oreal Talent’ the site communicates who they are and what they represent, what their employees can be and what they offer as an employer.

It also uses video effectively to introduce members of its global team and show the work they are doing. In the video below we meet Alex and learn more about his experience of working as a Digital Manager 

Personalize the candidate and employee experience

A key factor in talent retention, employee experience is key to nurturing a workforce and letting them know they are more than just a number. This can be done by:

Mapping out talent progression – By mapping out a career roadmap employees will have a clear and documented process that will help them advance through the company. This customized plan moves away from the one-size fits all approach and invests in an individual’s future.

Recognizing employees – Recognition boosts both individual and staff morale. The recognition of individuals for their efforts either on a digital forum such as social networks or at a quarterly event helps create a motivated work environment and acknowledges efforts.

Nurturing relationships 58% of employees say their relationship with their immediate supervisor is ‘very important’. A key relationship to an employee, executives need to bear that in mind in their management and learn more about their employees than merely what their day to day role is. Going that extra step will help to connect with employees as people. 

Communicate internally

Communication is crucial to ensure every function in the organization understands the value and need of building a strong employer brand and the role they can play. 

A great example of a company that fully embraces this concept is Commonwealth Bank of Australia. By creating a custom-built smartphone app through its Sidekick system, employees were able to manage all aspects of their employment experience from accessing the employee directory to pay and time tracking. 

Commonwealth Bank of Australia Sidekick app

Downloaded by more than 10,000 employees, it has made simple processes easier and provided the HR team with new insights on how to make employee’s lives better.

Create an employee advocate program

According to Edelman research, employees are essential advocates and the most trusted group over and above CEOS and senior executives to communicate on a range of topics. As such, companies should encourage employees to communicate on their personal networks and relay the positive goings on in the company and the ethos of the brand.

Creating an effective advocate program is all about the culture of the company and how it treats and values its employees. This can be done effectively through internal communication and by letting staff know of innovations or developments in the company, individuals can share news and increase the reach of company content and increase brand awareness.

In turn, to encourage sharing, a reward scheme could be created that recognizes the efforts of individuals. These could be as simple as branded merchandise to a duvet day. Whatever the incentive, a company needs to make sure it’s something employees want. 

Companies with employee engagement programs generate 26% greater year-over-year revenue increases than those companies with no formal programs – Aberdeen Group

The world is more transparent than ever before. Companies can no longer rely exclusively on clever recruiting efforts and advertising to build their employer brand image. Those that focus on the satisfaction of existing employees and the kind of advocacy they can shout about across their online networks will benefit internally and externally. 

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Clodagh O'Brien
Content Marketing Executive