Whether you've intentionally created a strategy behind it or not, you have an employer brand. Your employer brand reflects the reputation you hold with job seekers, employees and key stakeholders, so building a cohesive plan to manage and maintain that reputation will pay off in more ways than one.
Regardless of where your employer branding strategy stands, we've created this guide of tips and tricks to improving your employer brand. We'll start with how to evaluate the current state of your brand, and then we'll delve into tips for improvement.
4 ready-to-use templates to effectively plan, execute and measure your employer brand.
Understand the state of your employer brand
Before you get started overhauling your employer branding strategy, you first need to review your current tactics to understand what’s working and where you should direct your efforts moving forward. Here's a few tips to get an overview of your employer brand.
Review your employee reviews
A great place to start is by checking out employer review sites as well as different best places to work rankings. These sites will give you insight into what current and former employees think about your company and employer brand.
If you don’t already, respond to reviews regardless of if they are positive or negative. Doing so will show both the reviewer and anyone who reads the review you care and appreciate their feedback.
Continue gathering feedback by surveying your current employees to identify why they stay at your company and reasons they may consider leaving. In the survey, also ask them about how they first heard about your company and where they applied. This will give you insight about the platforms that are attracting top candidates.
Track key performance indicators (KPI)
To ensure your efforts are moving the needle, establish which metrics you plan to track. After reviewing the current state of your employer brand, you'll have a good idea of the areas in need of improvement. Those are the metrics you’ll want to focus on. Here are a few recruiting metrics to consider:
- Retention rate
- Application rate
- Source of hire
- Employee satisfaction
Once you’ve selected the metrics to track, then you can establish a baseline and set a tracking schedule. This will help you measure the results of your efforts over the upcoming months and years.
Identify candidate personas
Every time you open a role, create a new candidate persona to help you identify the right person when they come along. These personas will also indicate where and how to utilize your employer brand to attract top candidates. How? Well, candidate personas should include information like expertise and skills, geographical location and online presence.
All of this information allows you to narrow down which platforms top candidates are likely to frequent. For example, if you’re looking for an experienced software developer, you’re more likely to connect with them on GitHub than you are on Instagram, but if you're looking for a marketer, Instagram's a better bet.
Establish core values and mission statement
More than ever, people care about who they work for and how their work impacts the company and world around them. If you haven’t already, write out your company’s core values and mission statement. If it’s been a while since you created your core values and mission statement, consider reviewing them to ensure they match the current company culture and vision for your business and brand.
You can both create and rewrite your values and mission by gathering a focus group of seasoned employees who have been with your company for a while. Ask them to write down the core elements that make up your company and its vision, and hone in on the data to identify commonalities.
Research competitor strategies
In order to beat out your competition, you need to know their strengths and weaknesses. The best way to do this is to act as a job seeker, more specifically, your candidate persona. Search the platforms they do, go on search engines and type in queries as if you were a job seeker.
When possible, identify what content has a lot of engagement (likes, shares, saves) as well as where you notice repeat ideas or content. These are helpful indicators of strategies that are working even when you can’t see clear metrics to gauge their success.
Refine your employer branding strategy
With all your research from your current strategy, review sites, internal employees and competitors, you are now ready to start refining your employer branding strategy. Detailed candidate personas will inform where you focus your efforts, and your core values and mission statement will help you narrow down messaging.
Start by enhancing your internal employer brand
Above all, your employees are your number one asset — they know your brand and impact every aspect of your business from top to bottom. In order to improve your reputation as an employer for job seekers, you first need to manage your internal employer brand. If you hire the right people and offer a clear and accurate employee value proposition, then your internal employer brand should be organically strong.
Survey your employees to hear how they talk about your company as their employer and why they view it as an employer of choice. Also, ask employees what they dislike about the company and if there is anything they would change.
Make sure to get buy-in from everyone, especially managers and leadership who are the guiding force behind your internal employer brand. They are the people who are best able to identify pain points and nip them in the bud before they escalate.
And as you build out and evolve your employer brand, keep your internal team in the know about progress and changes. They will be better equipped to help your efforts and ensure your messaging and content is on brand no matter where or how candidates learn about your company.
Invest in your company culture
Your employer brand will largely reflect your company culture, so if you have a bad organizational culture, it will reflect poorly on your employer brand and affect all aspects of your business. If you build a strong company culture, then you’ll have an easier time maintaining your team's happiness and therefore, employer brand.
No matter the state of your culture, you should always test out new company culture ideas to continuously improve the experience for your team and entice candidates to apply. Plus, the better your company culture is, the easier (and more fun) it will be to create great employer branding content.
Improve your perks and benefits
Throughout your employer branding strategy, highlight the aspects of your employee value proposition that resonate most with job seekers. The top two things candidates search for when considering a role are salary and benefits. Not only that, but one of the most frustrating things candidates experience during their job search is when companies don’t share enough information about their perks and benefits.
Perks and benefits play a major role in the satisfaction of your employees and in attracting top candidates, so take the time to review all that you have to offer. Survey employees to understand which benefits they love and use most, and which ones they would like to add. Investing in high quality benefits will both boost your retention rate as well as your application rate.
Incorporate your recruitment strategy
Once you have a strong understanding of what your employer brand is, the next step is to create an action plan to build out your brand and maintain your reputation with job seekers and stakeholders. That’s where your recruitment marketing strategy comes in.
While you can’t control every aspect of your reputation, you can implement a cohesive recruitment marketing strategy to share important information about your company and its employees at every stage of the recruitment life cycle. Doing so will help you attract and engage top talent as well as nurture relationships until roles are filled.
If you don’t already have a recruitment marketing plan, consult with your marketing team to understand how they present your company as an employer and how you can work together.
Create a content calendar
Content is everything in an employer branding and recruitment marketing strategy. You will constantly be updating old and creating new content, so to keep your ducks in a row, it’s best to create a content calendar. This will allow you to set clear deadlines and ensure your strategy is divided among your team.
For the short-term, you’ll want to coordinate internal employee spotlights, write content for social and regularly respond to inquiries and reviews online. Your long-term strategy, however, may take months of preparation to create recruitment videos, host recruitment events and update your career page. Document ongoing efforts, like connecting with people in your talent community or scheduled email sends. Organizing all your content in a calendar makes it easier to manage and maintain.
Utilize social media recruiting
No matter how you stand on social media recruiting, it’s not an optional part of your employer branding strategy. Seriously, when nearly 80% of job seekers search for jobs on social media, you better have a stellar social media presence to build their trust and encourage them to pursue employment.
Social media is unique in that it allows companies to be more authentic and transparent with job seekers, so utilize that as an advantage. Give live updates on happenings in the office and team outings. Show off the fun and quirky side of your team and the unique individual personalities that make up your culture.
A lot of job seekers scope out a company’s social media presence to better understand the culture and the day-to-day life of their future colleagues, so keep content fresh and relevant. You may need to invest in a social media tool to help your team stay at the top of social feeds.
Test out new platforms and avenues
While social media is a big proponent of any strategy, it’s not the only one you should pursue. With the research you conducted initially, you should have a better idea of what’s currently working and what’s not, as well as which platforms your candidate personas are most likely to engage with.
Do your research to understand how to optimize your content and strategy for the features of each platform. While some content can be repurposed across different platforms, it will definitely need to be adjusted based on the available features and the specific audience you’re targeting on each platform.
Be authentic and transparent
Candidates are smart; they can tell when a company is being disingenuous with their employer brand. Highlight the best parts of your company, but do so in a way that’s true to your brand and people.
Surveys and reviews are great ways to gather feedback and gauge whether or not your employer brand truly reflects the experiences of your current employees. Requesting onboarding and exit interviews are another great way to get feedback from both people who are familiar with your employer brand from an external perspective as well as from people who have lived your culture first hand.
Know that there’s really no wrong way to create an employer brand. Every company will find different avenues and strategies that work best for them, and those tactics will undoubtedly change over time. Keeping employer branding top of mind will help you naturally create content that genuinely reflects the great company and culture you’ve created. For more tips, check out more of our content to continue improving your employer brand.
4 ready-to-use templates to effectively plan, execute and measure your employer brand.