“A company is only as good as its brand promise and the trust of its employees. Without these two things, it is doomed to fail”.
– Amy Elisa Jackson
While a foosball table and company-provided lunches used to be the hook needed to acquire talent, that’s not the case anymore. In the present environment of low unemployment, extreme competition, and an ever-increasing focus on balance, purpose, and meaning in the workplace, candidates are looking for more from their employers. And they are turning to resources like Glassdoor and other social media to conduct research on prospective employers. According to LinkedIn’s The Ultimate List of Employer Brand Statistics, 75% of job seekers consider an employer’s brand before applying for a job and 52% of candidates first seek out the company’s sites and social media to learn more about an employer.
One bad review is easy to ignore, but multiple negative reviews indicate that there may be a significant underlying problem, which becomes your company’s brand promise. Anemic or nonexistent company culture, problematic policies, ill-equipped managers, departments that have systemic issues, are all symptoms that point to a more significant underlying problem tied to employer brand. Data shows the importance of brand is here to stay. According to the same study, 72% of recruiting leaders worldwide agreed that employer brand has a significant impact on hiring. Further, 39% of respondents said employer brand will be a long-lasting trend to focus on in the future.
The benefits of a strong employer brand are clear, including reduced cost to hire, higher quality applicants, and a faster hiring cycle. Even more critical, for positions that require the search for passive candidates (those who aren’t actively looking for a new job) rather than applicants, like executive or niche roles, a strong brand contributes significantly to increased response rates and candidate interest. At the same time, a strong brand will increase retention of high-quality and more satisfied employees, reducing the exponential hamster-wheel expense of rehiring and retraining. In turn, your satisfied employees contribute to your brand promise, promoting your brand, and increasing your ability to recruit new talent. What a beautiful cycle!
So how do you develop a brand promise that resonates?
Do the legwork. If you want to be perceived as a powerful brand, you must be a powerful brand. To quote Simon Sinek, “it’s not what you do, it’s why you do it.” What is your organization’s why? If you want to develop your company’s “why”, don’t try to make it a top-down exercise. This is important and you must consider all stakeholders within your organization. In order to be authentic and speak to the market, your brand must mirror the values of everyone you touch and be unique to your organization.
Repeat, repeat, repeat. Once you’ve defined your brand, you must ensure that it is communicated across all platforms. Your team needs to feel it, it must be communicated through all external communications, and candidates need to feel it in your interview and onboarding process. It must be intrinsic to everything you do because it is who you are.
Weed out the bad apples. Once you’ve gone through the exercise of defining and communicating your employer brand, you must be true to it. Your organization must address any “problem children” that don’t resonate with the brand, whether they be policy, manager or department related. Remember, once you have the talent, you need to keep the talent.
Track it. Reviews and ratings, retention rate, source-of-hire, and employee satisfaction are all data points that should be measured and monitored. Regular attention to Glassdoor and other social media is a valuable tool to determine how prospective, current, and past employees define the fidelity of your brand. At the same time, retention rate and source of hire provide valuable data on how well your current employees regard your defined brand. Periodic employee satisfaction surveys also provide concrete data on how your efforts are trending.
So, when it comes to recruiting and retaining top talent for your organization, remember that your brand is a major factor to success. The current candidate-driven job market is as competitive as ever with no signs of slowing down. But by defining, communicating, assessing, and staying true to your brand, you’ll have a great chance at coming out on top.