Two critical elements of your company’s brand are your product or service’s value proposition and your reputation. Your employer brand plays a substantial role in your overall brand reputation. Is your company a coveted place to work? Do you treat employees fairly? Do you provide a space for employees to learn and develop? What is the employee experience like overall? Is your workplace inclusive and welcoming, providing psychological safety?
Developing a strong employer brand is just as important as building a compelling consumer brand. But why? It’s simple. The state of your employer brand will determine your candidate pool’s quality (and quantity). As any business owner knows, the people who work for you can make or break your success as an organization. Business magnate Richard Branson said, “Clients do not come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”
Aside from your employees’ critical role in serving customers, people yearn to work for companies with great reputations. In fact, research by Randstad USA found that 86% of people would only apply for a job with or continue to work for a company with a good reputation.
Nurturing a positive employer brand also has other benefits, such as:
- 28% reduction in employee turnover rates
- Reduced cost of and time to hire
- 50% more qualified applicants
- A safe, positive, and enjoyable work environment
The case for a strong and positive employer brand is solid, but it can take substantial time and effort. While certain activities may come at a considerable cost that is challenging for small businesses, we have nine ways to strengthen your employer brand without breaking the bank.
Employer Brand Boost #1 – Establish a clear mission and set of values
All businesses should think long and hard about these elements. What is your reason for being? What do you stand for? Establishing a well-defined mission and core values will drive how you communicate and treat your employees (and customers). Additionally, it gives candidates a glimpse of what working for your company will look like and identifies those who share your values and want to further your mission.
If you need to develop or revisit your mission and values, involve other leaders and trusted partners. You will be privy to different perspectives and ideas. Once established, communicate and enforce them continually. Your employees should live and breathe those values and strive for that mission constantly.
#2 – Strengthen and maintain your company culture
A strong company culture is a crucial part of your employer brand. While your mission and values contribute to your culture, so do your employees’ attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, the expectations set and enforced by leaders, and your level of diversity and inclusion.
As new hires join your team and your business grows, relationship dynamics and culture will evolve and change. You need to continue to keep a pulse on your culture and continually communicate encouraged and discouraged behaviors and attitudes. Regularly seek feedback from your team on the culture to ensure the actual culture aligns with the intended culture.
Don’t wait to share your culture until a candidate onboards either. Discuss your company culture in your job ads and interviews. Hire the right people who will reinforce your culture rather than weaken it.
#3 – Encourage employee-generated content
A very affordable and effective way of building your employer brand is to encourage your employees to share information about your company and what it’s like to work there. Whether it is a blog or video on daily work activities, team meetings, or celebrations of project success – give your future employees a glimpse of the inside. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. For example, you can use a mobile phone to record clips of team members answering commonly asked questions on your recruitment or onboarding process, the types of projects they like to work on, or what they like best about working for your company.
Encouraging your team members to share their experiences gives candidates an idea of what it would be like to work for your company. Employee-generated content is also a more trustworthy source of information among candidates. In fact, a LinkedIn study found that job candidates trust the company’s employees three times more than the company to provide credible information on what it is like to work for the organization.
Employer Brand Boost #4 – Make the most of social media
One of the most cost-effective ways to boost your employer brand and reach out to candidates globally is through social media. With millennials and GenZers increasing in the workforce, a social media presence is more important than ever. According to Aberdeen Group, 73% of Millennials found their existing roles through social media.
Which social media platforms you favor may depend on your target applicants. Each platform offers many possibilities to give users a flavor of your employer brand. Announce the employee of the month, live stream fun or philanthropic events, or post photos of new employees or those celebrating anniversaries. You may get even more ideas by visiting well-respected brands’ corporate social media pages. One example is Mariott Hotels. As part of Women’s History Month, they encouraged female employees to share videos on social media describing how they benefited from the company’s training to progress toward senior roles.
#5 – Deliver a positive candidate experience
The candidate experience is critical to giving a positive impression of your employer brand. Ideal.com states that 46% of applicants said they would end their relationship with a company (as a potential candidate or consumer) if they had a negative candidate experience.
Best practices dictate you simplify and shorten the hiring process while keeping candidates informed at every stage. Demonstrate your genuine interest if applicable. Personalize your communications and clearly explain expectations for each step of the process. When you provide an unforgettable candidate experience, candidates and employees are likelier to leave positive reviews and refer future candidates.
#6 – Show your employer brand in your job ads
Go beyond the dry list of roles and responsibilities. Put a spotlight on the benefits of working for your company and the type of person ideal for the position. Stand out among all the other job openings. Consider a recruitment video in your job listing. Involve the hiring department in the video to show the team’s excitement to welcome a new member.
#7 – Create a culture-telling intranet site
What better way to heighten your employer brand and house communications in one place than to create a digital playground via an intranet? Programs like Microsoft Sharepoint make intranet creation easy. Get creative with everything from the site’s name to the various sections you highlight. Make it a place where employees can learn about each other, the company, and their impact on the company. Tandem HR creatively named its intranet site, Spokes, as they lean on the concept of the tandem bike to showcase partnerships with clients. Spokes includes sections for employees to submit pictures taken with clients, in the office, or within their personal lives to get to know each other better. There is a kudos section highlighting positive client comments, as the company highly values strong client service. The sky is the limit on what you highlight as crucial to your employer brand. The key is to use the tool to enforce and communicate what your company stands for and expects.
Employer Brand Boost #8 – Foster a sense of community with corporate philanthropy
When a company supports the community with a strong sense of social responsibility, it contributes to the greater good and sets an example for its employees. How good does it feel to help out someone less fortunate than yourself? How impactful would it be to serve another person alongside your coworkers? Philanthropic programs can serve as a way to encourage social responsibility, build teamwork, and give your brand a positive name in the community.
Building a solid employer brand takes time, effort, and patience. Therefore, it’s crucial to start building it early. Beginning with these affordable strategies will boost your employer brand and reputation. Become the company most people want to work for, and you’ll cultivate your own internal brand ambassadors.