Employer branding is the new black.
According to George Anders’ recent article on Forbes.com, LinkedIn is spreading the word about the significance of having a strong employer brand, and at the same time providing more tools and resources to help companies promote one on their platform.
This is great news for talent acquisition professionals who are on the front lines of trying to win the hearts and minds of top talent everywhere. And while there are many who question the economic recovery, U.S. unemployment levels have dropped to a three-year low and in the IT sector, many companies are offering employees up to $10,000 in referral bonuses. The message is clear: it’s time to look at your employer brand.
So you’re not Apple, Amazon, Deloitte, or Disney. Don’t despair. That doesn’t mean you can’t have an employer brand or employer value proposition of your own.
Here are four things to tell your boss when you’re putting it into your 2013 budget.
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- It’s not a headline or tagline within your recruitment marketing materials. Your employer brand is the essence of the employer/employee contract. It’s the reason people join your company and the reasons they stay. (Intuitively this information may be known to some or all of your organization, but going through the exercise of defining your brand architecture — your differentiators and employer value proposition — will make sure that you’re all speaking in one voice.) Once this is defined, it may never appear in any of your recruitment marketing materials or internal communications. The essence of the employer value proposition can be communicated in a multitude of ways, varying by business unit, country, or corporate initiative.
- It makes the company money. A well-defined employer brand will be integrated with the business strategy and articulate the shared responsibilities for achieving success. The ROI is not an HR metric (cost-per-hire, time-to-fill) but rather revenue growth. In March 1994, Harvard Business Review wrote about the service-profit chain. Employee satisfaction drives customer satisfaction/loyalty and revenue growth. This relationship still holds true today. Employer branding fuels employee engagement, engagement fosters productivity, and productivity fuels profitability.
- It saves the company money Good employer branding connects employees with cultures — and the chance of a hiring misfire is greatly reduced. There is transparency in the employer-employee contract and everyone knows the deal going in. Turnover goes down. Recruiting costs go down.
- It doesn’t cost a lot of money. Communication audits and employer branding surveys can get the ball rolling, and executive interviews and internal focus groups can be selectively added. For a small research plan, costs can be as low as $10,000 – $15,000. If you’re lucky enough to get a bigger budget, I recommend you survey or speak with external constituents to really provide context and color to your internal findings.
- You will have more fun at work. Yes, it’s true. Once you have gone through your branding exercise and embedded the essence of your competitive differentiation into your careers website, videos, recruitment, and social media marketing, and internal communications, you’re all set to reap the rewards. Happy hiring managers, increased employee referrals, more unsolicited resumes coming in from top talent, lower turnover, and greater retention. You’ll have more time to work on other critical initiatives like workforce planning, talent management, or diversityand inclusion. Or maybe just steal a few extra minutes to read another ERE article or two.