Brilliant basics – 3 simple ways to improve your employer brand

Introduction

What is an employer brand? Is this just another piece of jargon that we like to throw around without any meaning or purpose?

Most of us will have a general idea of what a brand is and why it’s important. For me your employer brand represents your internal company culture and the experience received by all of your employees. It’s important as it does not only help you to attract talent but often it impacts your ability to bring in the right fit hires. Along with helping you to grow your team, it also builds an image and helps bring to life your company values – all of which gives further visibility to clients, future clients and potential investors.

We regularly work with fast growth SMB’s and the ones that I see struggle the most are those that have grown to around 30-50 employees. All of them face a similar challenge, which is continuing to grow their head count, whilst  providing the same quality of service. Many of them end up in this situation due to ongoing demand for their services, which is great but it requires them to recruit in high volumes. Which naturally leads to the following scenarios…

  • Find the right skillset and culture fit – good hire!
  • Find the right skillset but the new employee doesn’t fit in – impacts performance.
  • Doesn’t find the right skillset but fits in well with the culture – if they manage to make their way through the recruitment process, then it will take time to develop them.
  • Struggle to attract new employees at all!

All of the above scenarios impact an organisations ability to continue growing. A strong employer brand will naturally make it easier to attract the culture fit, meaning that the business only has to focus on assessing that persons skills.

One of the best things about employer branding is that most SMB’s are already carrying out the activities that build your strategy, it is just a case of formalising them.

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Why is having a strong employer brand important?

As mentioned earlier in the blog your employer brand forms the foundations of your talent attraction strategy. If you have a strong employer brand then naturally people will be more willing and open to joining your business. Your employer brand also gives you a competitive advantage over other businesses when recruiting for bespoke roles, meaning that you can get the best talent in the market. Other benefits include, a higher chance of referrals and lower time to hire.

The job market has been through a large transition over the last couple of decades, as we’ve moved away from money being a primary motivator. Most people now preference flexibility and career development over renumeration. Equally, businesses with a strong employer brand have the opportunity to pay less, as they offer more. Take Manchester City and Manchester United for example. In recent years City have had the freedom to pay lower wages for certain players than United, simply due to the appeal that they have to go and play for them – for me personally, this is a great example of employer branding at its best!

 

3 simple ways to improve your employer brand

#1 begin posting regular content via social media

In order for this tip to work well, it has to link effectively to the rest of your people strategy. There’s no better way to build your employer brand than by sharing regular content that highlights your culture and what it is like to work for your company every single day.

Advanced businesses will have an idea of the persona that their target employees hold. This will mean that they can be more targeted with their posts.

However all businesses have the opportunity to share content via, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn at a very minimum. Posts can range from recognising length of service or good performance, fun things that are going on in the office and any CSR related activities.

More and more people are now using social media, even my 64 year old Dad…!

Try and put yourself in the position of jobseekers/future employees, if you’re seeing regular posts on social media about an exciting business that values its employees then why would you not want to join?

#2 Learn more about your current culture

In order for #1 to work effectively you really need to learn more about your current culture and the persona of your employees. This will mean that when sharing content and targeting future hires, you’re spending time in the right areas.

A large piece of your employer brands success will be measured on metrics such as: time to hire, retention in the first 90 days and success of campaigns. You can increase the success of this, saving time and money, by learning more about your culture and also where you need your culture to move to as you grow.

You can do this by using tools such as Flock. Or simply by taking a: see, hear, feel approach.

#3 build an introduction to your company booklet

My final recommendation comes back of something I came across during a client meeting in Stockport earlier this year. The client had a well developed people strategy, was applying for the Sunday times top 100 and had taken great strides around their employer brand.

To bring all of their employer branding ideas together, they had a simple 10 stage booklet (also an e-booklet) that talked about 10 reasons you should go and work for them. As I’m very much a visual learner I found this really interesting.

The booklet talked about daily life, career progression opportunities, case studies, values and behaviours and CSR work.

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Conclusion

Ultimately everyone is going to have a different budget when it comes to their people strategy as a whole but specifically employer branding. However, in this brilliant basics blog I’ve tried to focus on some really simple and quick to implement initiatives that you could take away into your organisation.

I am by no means claiming to be an employer branding expert and therefore, I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on what they’ve seen work well/anything they don’t agree with. I’m talking based on my experience of working with SMB’s over the last couple of years.

Harry Wright

Employee Engagement & Delivery Consultant

Rencai Group

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