Why Employer Branding is Critical for Attracting and Retaining Talent

Jill Monte - Content Specialist ·

In today’s competitive talent marketplace, your employer brand is crucial in helping to attract the right people to your company. When making a decision on where to apply for a job, 84% of jobseekers say the reputation of a company as an employer is important (Source).

The most successful companies have learned how to strategically build and manage their employer brand over time. Why is this significant, you ask? Employer brand ultimately helps attract top talent by offering candidates an up-close look at what your company is all about. A strong employer brand enables candidates to “self-assess” for fit within your company, which can increase employee retention and engagement rates over time.

For HR leaders and recruiters, a solid employer brand often attracts a higher caliber of candidates, which consequently develops a loyal talent community who will later serve as advocates for your company and its mission. (More on this important part of employer branding is covered further down in the blog.)

If you’d rather not read an entire blog and simply want a quick and simple 3-step brand-building process, go here. Otherwise, let’s dig in and learn more about employer branding.

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Here are a few specific questions you should be able to answer about your brand:

  • What are three words that best describe your employer brand?
  • What makes your employer brand unique to your business?
  • Can your employees define your employer brand?

If you cannot easily answer these questions, it may be time to strategize more about what your organization believes, and strategically communicate that through branding. It’s important that your employer brand be well thought out, easily definable and communicated often to employees throughout the company who will consequently share your brand with co-workers, clients, business partners, community members, etc.

Here are the other key elements to employer branding that we’ll discuss next:

  • What makes up a strong employer brand
  • Why employer branding is important to attracting talent
  • Components of a successful employer brand
  • How to communicate your employer brand
  • Ways to reinforce your employer brand

What is an employer brand?

An employer brand is an important part of the employee value proposition (EVP) and is essentially what the organization communicates as its identity to both potential and current employees. Equally, if not more importantly, employer brand is also what employees communicate about their experience working for your organization. A positive employer brand communicates that the organization is a good employer and a great place to work. Wait, what’s an employee value proposition, you ask? EVP is a set of offerings that you, as an employer, provide to your employees, and use as a magnet for attracting new hires. Besides attracting candidates, your EVP can help you engage and retain employees.

TIP: Ask your employees what it’s like to work for your company.

Take note of the answers, especially the recurring themes. Do employees think it’s good, bad, inspiring, unfulfilling? If they don’t have only great things to say, you need a better employer brand! Keep reading and we will share our knowledge and best practices on how to create your aspirational employer brand.

Why is employer branding important in talent attraction?

According to Harvard Business Review, employer branding is becoming strategically more important to CEOs, HR and marketing leaders, with one-third looking to build their global employer brand by 2020. The goal is to reverse the struggle to find the right candidates and instead, let them be the ones to seek out companies with an attractive employer brand and corporate culture. So, having a strong employer brand that potential candidates can access at any time, especially online, allows them to see their potential fit within your company.

TIP: Make sure to showcase your employer brand on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook as an access point for candidates to get a glimpse into your company.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 84% of organizations are actively leveraging social media channels to attract new talent and engage passive candidates, as social media is used by 79% of candidates during their job search. (Source). Don’t miss out on this large number of prospects!

What makes up a successful employer brand?

A successful employer brand starts with a strong mission, vision and core values, and is solidified by each employee’s voice, regardless of rank or role in the company. The accuracy with which the employer brand is portrayed is critical to success. There must be consistency between the employer brand and employment experience, company culture and values. Successful employer brands aren’t so much about companies, but about the people inside those companies, including leaders who make it their mission to find great people, develop them, engage them and provide them with enrichment opportunities.

TIP: When defining your corporate core values, spend extra time gathering feedback from not only top-tier executives, HR reps and marketing team members, but from staffers company-wide.

This well-rounded approach helps to form a mission and values consistent with who the company is and where it wants to go. This is the No. 1 way to unite employees and create a sense of shared purpose.

How should you communicate your employer brand?

Communicating your brand starts from the inside. With a strategic and solid partnership between HR and Marketing, your employer brand will have the power to positively influence your entire team at every level. Whether it means a visual display of words adorning a wall, or weekly social media posts where charity and award announcements are made, your employer brand must be portrayed accurately and often to both internal representatives and potential external employees. Additionally, all managers and supervisors should be trained to understand the employer brand, as well as reinforce it on a continual basis.

TIP: See the chart below for ideas on how to share your employer brand.

But remember, most important, beyond words on a page, are actions. Encouraging team members to participate in making your employer brand visible and well-known will make the biggest impact.

How can companies enhance their employer brand?

Remember, an employer brand is a coordinated set of messages that deliver the sense of what it’s like to work at the organization. You want your brand to be memorable and distinguishable, so focus on the stories surrounding what your company stands for and be sure to make it a consistent part of the employee experience.

“It’s really about humanizing your brand, versus just defining your products and/or services. What’s worked for us is telling personal stories showcasing our team and the important work that’s happening,” explained Arlene Jones, VP of Talent at EDSI. “I’m so proud when I see our representatives bringing our brand to life by sharing the love they have for the work they do … it makes such a positive impact on our customers, our industry, and the community.”

TIP: Designate brand ambassadors who will be champions of the brand, reiterating core values and sharing what’s great and unique about the company through storytelling and personal experience.

Employees are essential advocates who should be encouraged to communicate on their personal networks and relay the positive happenings in the company and the spirit of the brand. An incentive could even be offered to encourage participation.

Why does employer branding matter when it comes to talent retention?

Engaged and passionate employees are essential to the growth of any company. Employees who communicate satisfaction and excitement surrounding their employer and their work helps boost an employer’s image and causes interest on the part of potential candidates. Companies with strong employer brands tend to have more engaged team members who demonstrate a higher level of motivation because they are proud to work for the company.

TIP: Implement a referral program.

Employee referrals are becoming more and more common in the recruiting world. When a referral is given by a team member, it’s a good sign that the candidate is a good culture fit and will stay with the company longer, which has a positive impact on your company’s turnover rate. Using the referral method helps in saving costs and is usually a quicker process too.

To sum it up, having a solid employer brand has an extremely positive impact on attraction and retention, which ultimately affects your bottom line. Studies show that 75% of jobseekers consider employer brand (source) before applying for a job with a company and around 63% of employees admit that a trusted employer brand positively impacts the enjoyment of their job (source). So there you have it! Follow the tips in this blog to ensure your brand reflects your company values and mission, and is recognizable and appealing, and you’ll soon be winning the talent attraction and retention race.