The concept of employer branding has become a growing trend that flourishes in social media, press and various HR surveys. In general, employer branding is about how an organisation communicates their internal culture in order to attract the right candidates.
How is the company perceived as an employer for potential, current and former employees? How can you correctly convey your company culture to the outside world, and have a say in how it’s perceived? These are questions that are popping up more and more in the hiring process and having an influence on how HR professionals do their jobs.
We must acknowledge from the start that all companies have a value-added employer brand, whether they are actively working with it or not. People will develop an opinion about your company culture in a way or another, regardless of whether you invest time in properly explaining it. Best to put in the time to make sure they get the right message.
If you’re wondering how to start making the personality of your company visible to the outside world, here are five simple steps to get awesome at your employer branding.
Map your existing employees’ behaviors
How employees behave internally and externally constitutes how the company is perceived. A good employer brand sends a strong and clear message about how the company culture is like, and in order to be able to get that out into the world, you first need to take an honest look at it from the inside.
Go and talk with your current employees. Ask questions like:
- What do you like most about this company that made you stay here?
- How would you describe your colleagues?
- What words would you use to describe your team’s culture? How about the entire company culture?
- What sets this work environment apart from any other you’ve been in?
When you’re done mapping their opinions, also get a sense of how your employees behave when they perform their day to day activities.
Observe if they’re determined people, fast-paced, creative, introspective, playful, chatty, focused. See what behaviors predominate and use them to define a set of values and experiences that you want to project outside of the company, to their future colleagues.
Define the type of behaviors you’d like to cultivate
While it’s good to analyse how the company looks like right now, you can also project into your employer brand personality features you envision it having in the future. Ask yourself what skills and personalities need to be developed in the company.
In order to get started, ask yourself the following questions:
- What behaviors could we improve or encourage in order to be better at what we’re doing?
- In what areas do our current employees want to develop?
- What type of attitude do we need to cultivate in order to succeed in the next phase of our company or in our future projects?
Looking at employer branding from this perspective makes it possible not only to attract likeminded individuals, but also attract the type of talent and personalities that you’ll need moving forward.
Develop a unique Employer Value Proposition
More and more frequently, the work environment and the compatibility with colleagues are being considered by candidates as a decisive factor when selecting an employer. In this context, companies must strive to project a positive and unique work environment to increase their chances of attracting great talent.
The Employer Value Proposition is your promise to candidates regarding what they’re going to get in addition to a pay check at the end of the month. A strong EVP transmits the principles that your company stands by and the way people feel when they work with you. A positive and honest display of your company will make you remarkable in front of the right people and it will make hiring easier.
In order to start building your EVP, you can use the information about the existing behaviors in your company and the ones you’d like to cultivate, and summarise them in a short sentence or paragraph. Then use it to fuel your communication towards candidates. Here’s an example:
- We’re a company with a strong team spirit, that believes collaboration is the key to success. We’re informal, take breaks, play games and give people the time and space they need to develop the best products.
Use your online presence as a window into your company culture
According to the London based employer branding agency Link Humans, 78% of jobseekers will look into a company’s reputation before applying for a job and 88% of millennials believe that being part of the right company culture is very important.
The new generation of employees is using multiple digital devices and platforms to support their job search, and because of that, the online presence of companies is playing an increasingly important role in the hiring process. Now, more than ever, your company needs to be online, on social media platforms, on mobile, and use these channels to reveal and make your culture easily discoverable to candidates.
Get visual about your work environment
Visual communication is key to explaining and showcasing your company culture before the candidate steps into your office. For that, involving some marketing and communications knowledge into the HR function can move the needle.
Testimonials from your existing employees, or pictures and videos showing their day to day work and the company spirit, can be great tools for recruiters to promote jobs and attract the right talent.
You don’t need to go above board with your spendings on this, but just show an honest and, why not, sometimes imperfect picture of how it feels to work at your company. Candidates are looking to understand how some real humans behave, work and enjoy spending time together.
Here’s an example of how Google pictures the work experience of new interns. It sends a clear message about the kind of character their employees have, the types of challenges they face and how is the overall feeling of working as an intern for them.
This is a very simple material to put together and it’s a good instrument that any company can use to give a sneak peak into their culture.
So, to sum up.
Get your employer branding strategy together by mapping your existing and desired employees behaviors, developing a unique employer value proposition and using visual communication and your online presence to give candidates a look into your company culture.
Also, when you go live with your strategy and plan, make sure you remain consistent and you deliver on your promise.
An employer brand, like any brand, is a promise of an experience. If you don’t deliver what you advertised, people won’t come back a second time and more, they’ll spread the word about their disappointment.
Honesty is key in doing this.
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