The Best Employment Brands (Spoiler Alert: Google Didn’t Rank No. 1!)

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Oct 28, 2015

Last year, we published the first-ever rankings of the Fortune 500 employment brands in the U.S. This year, we sharpened our pencils — and our perspective — and did it all over again. The 2015 Fortune 500 Top 100 Employment Brands Report is here, and filled with a quite a few surprises.

The biggest surprise? Tech pioneer Google isn’t at the top of the list. That honor goes to Johnson & Johnson, the 129-year-old medical and pharmaceutical giant that runs some of the best-known brands in your medicine cabinet. Johnson & Johnson is engaging candidates — and its existing employees — in all the right ways.

We began our research in much of the same way we did last year, looking at the various dimensions of the employment brand: career pages, job boards, employee reviews and candidate engagement, accolades, recruitment marketing, and social responsibility. But we recognized the need to make adjustments based on the ever-changing employment landscape. With the digital transformation happening, candidate behaviors have shifted. Based on the industry’s evolution, we gave more emphasis to employee reviews and candidate engagement — the criteria that showcase the employee voice. Above all, we wanted to show that the employment brand can be quantified and measured — a message that should be welcome in marketing and HR leadership, as well as in the C-suite.

Top organizations were:

  • Johnson & Johnson (79 points)
  • AT&T (72 points)
  • General Mills (71 points)
  • Coca-Cola (68 points)
  • Intel (67 points)
  • Southwest Airlines (66 points)
  • Google (65 points)
  • (65 points)
  • P&G (64 points)
  • Goldman Sachs (64 points)
  • Nordstrom (64 points)
  • Coca-Cola Enterprises (64 points)

Reviewing our data, it isn’t difficult to see why these 12 companies ranked so high. All of them performed extremely well in two areas: recruitment marketing, and employee reviews and candidate engagement. They are clearly doing a good job of telling their story and encouraging employees to do the same.

2015 employment branding report - top companiesThe top companies also demonstrated excellence when it came to career pages. These pages are so important because they make such a strong impression — they are often a candidate’s first formal point of contact with an employer. All of the top companies went way beyond job listings with their career pages: Employee voice, specificity, and transparency were key themes communicated through photos, videos, social media links, and microsites for various job groups and locations.

Those who scored highly for their career page often also scored highly in recruitment marketing, and candidate engagement and employee reviews. This proves you need to engage candidates in multiple ways to get your brand across.

As we put the report together, two trends stood out. First, align your brand to your existing corporate culture. Candidates have access to social media and Glassdoor, and can tell if you’re not being truthful about your employment experience. Try to be as transparent as possible. Second, don’t look at employment branding as a strictly external exercise. You want to share your brand with current employees, and get them involved in shaping it and getting the word out. Your employees will feel more engaged if they feel ownership of your brand.

While our 12 leaders are impressive, we know that you don’t need to be a Fortune 500 giant to launch or refine your own employment brand. Employment branding doesn’t have to be expensive — in fact, many of the elements, such as social media platforms, are free to use. Other components, like multimedia content, can be produced with a smartphone. Start telling the story about who you are — and get your stakeholders to become storytellers too — and you’ll have a strong foundation for a compelling employment brand.


image from Shutterstock

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