Employer branding? You may have heard of it, but what is it exactly?
Think of it in terms of reputation — some feel that certain companies are great places to work, and other companies not as much.
When candidates, customers and other key stakeholders assess a business, employer branding can be a major factor. It is key in helping attract and retain the best talent and potentially help drive bottom-line results. With the rise of social media, the world now has unprecedented access to companies and the employees that work in them, making employer branding more important than ever.
So how does a strong employer brand play a part when job seekers assess a company?
We take a look at the relational process most job seekers undergo when weighing potential employers. The three-phased assessment is akin to the stages of any relationship building. Job seekers assess potential employers based on a number of aspects of their employer brand as they move from attraction, to interest and ultimately commitment.
becoming an attractive employer to workers
Everyone has heard the phrase, “first impressions mean everything,” and the sentiment rings true as candidates consider potential employers. During the initial phase of job searching, a company’s overall brand recognition and employer branding intersect – has the job seeker heard of the company and what personality traits are associated with that recognition? If the employer brand is in line with the job seeker’s own goals and aspirations they are more likely to want to join the company.
do employer brand promises interest workers
Once potential employees have assessed the symbolic values of a potential employer, the next consideration is whether the functional values of the employer brand match up to their expectations. This includes the details of the job and work environment (i.e. salary, benefits, flexibility, etc.) as well as the candidate experience overall.
Employer branding efforts need to continue throughout the candidate hiring experience. Failing to do so can result in a negative candidate experience and deliver a major blow to the employer brand. A negative experience will not only affect the company’s employer brand with the candidate, but will also spread through the job seeker’s social circles as they are likely to share their experience with family and friends as well as on social media.
tailoring an employer brand to address multi-generational candidates
Given the current skills gap and need to secure highly-skilled and diverse talent, companies must engage the multi-generational candidate marketplace by building an employment brand and hiring process that is attractive to the needs and preferences of each generation.
The good news is that the majority of generational criteria are fundamentally alike, in that most want a competitive salary, benefits and some level of job security. However, there are subtle but vital differences in generational preferences that can greatly affect whether a candidate chooses to join an organisation or not.
The Randstad Award survey has shown that younger employees prefer a pleasant working atmosphere, interesting job content and career progression opportunities whilst older employees look at job security and financial stability of the company. Employers need to take these differences into consideration during the hiring process to best showcase their employer brand.
is employer brand validated by day-to-day employee experience
Many companies fail to continue their employer branding efforts beyond the hiring process, a potentially catastrophic and costly mistake. It should not be overlooked that an organisation’s day-to-day working environment reflects its brand. Otherwise, top talent that it has worked so hard to acquire may jump ship after realising the job, culture or employees do not live up to the employer brand image.
And the damage certainly doesn’t stop there. In the social world we live in, word of mouth can spread quick and far, eventually damaging a company’s reputation as an employer and making it more challenging to attract top talent. As candidates become acutely aware that a company is not living up to its employer brand messaging, it becomes increasingly more difficult to attract a high calibre of candidates.