The candidate market has changed a great deal since the beginning of lockdown, and with the world beginning to transition back to normality, many companies are beginning the process of rebuilding their teams and continuing plans for expansion. With so many businesses increasing their recruitment efforts, how can you position yourself as the employer of choice?
Whether you’re aware of it or not, your employer brand already exists. Your brand is the sum of all interactions an individual has with your business, whether directly or indirectly. Put simply, your employer brand is your reputation as an employer and employer branding is the process used to shape that brand.
A powerful employer brand connects your values, people and strategy. It is the reason why more than 2 million people per year apply to Google. Many will say ‘well Google is a very cool, unique business’ and they would be correct. But that is a result of vast efforts to develop an employer brand that would attract the world’s best talent. We may not all be able to put 30 ft slides in our offices and provide first-class benefits, but we can make incremental steps to improve the working environment of our employees.
Your employees know your business better than anyone else, they have already been through the recruitment process and they understand your business. An employee survey is a great tool to better understand how your people view your company culture. You can help employees to feel comfortable providing honest feedback by making surveys anonymous, remember, it’s honest and accurate feedback that will provide the most value.
The aim is to build up a picture of what your employees value most, why they come to work and what motivates them to do a great job. It could be money, teamwork, the goods and services you provide, stability or a career path. Everyone has a different story to tell but you might start seeing patterns in their answers.
You can acquire more detail from your questionnaires through a follow-up focus group session. These sessions allow you to delve deeper into responses and create a conversation about what makes your business a great place to work, and what could be improved on. Again, it’s important to create an environment where your employees feel comfortable and that they can talk freely.
Here’s a few examples of questions that have proven to be useful in employer branding focus groups;
- What led you to a career with us?
- Why did you choose this company/industry?
- What type of person is successful here?
- What motivates you to come to work and do a good job?
- Which of the company values resonate with you most, and why?
The data produced from your questionnaire and focus groups will give you insight into what your people really think about your business. Look for trends, both good and bad and start to build a list of what’s working well for you and could be improved. This creates a great opportunity to look at the areas for improvement and put plans in place to make changes needed.
EVP – Employer Value Proposition
Your EVP (Employer Value Proposition) is the messaging that describes the value your business provides its employees. This does not need to be a marketing slogan, the objective is to create a proposition that is realistic and reflects your business. Another way to consider this is to ask yourself questions from the perception of a candidate. ‘Why should I work for you? What makes you a good employer?.’ Your answer is your EVP.
Testing your EVP
A brand that fails to live by its EVP is likely to leave candidates misled and employees disappointed, so honesty and transparency are paramount. Test your EVP by introducing it to our employees. What are their thoughts on your messaging? Do they feel it’s an accurate representation of your culture? Engaging your employees in the development of your employer brand is a great way to gain their support, and create brand champions. Employees who are engaged can act as brand advocates who can describe your EVP and attract friends and family to your business.
The recruitment process provides an excellent opportunity to separate yourself from the competition. We have all experienced standardised job descriptions, generic email templates and had not so interesting interviews. Capitalise on the opportunity and introduce your employer brand. Why not invite candidates for an office tour, write job descriptions that avoid generic terminology or provide welcome packs that people actually want. It is the small differences in the way you operate that will help differentiate you from your industry.
Visual identity plays a vital role in bringing your employer brand to life. The aim is to create visual cues that help people recognise your brand, and what it stands for. Some of the ways you can introduce your visual identity include brochures, signage, exhibition stands, clothing, stationary and internal/external advertising.
Social media has the potential to put your business in front of new audiences, show off your company culture and help candidates get to know your organisation. Social media is a long-term investment, but with the support of your employees, you should be able to build a community relatively quickly. If you’re unsure where to start a content calendar can help you to think of ideas and tools like Hootsuite enable you to schedule posts in advance.
An effective careers website helps prospective candidates understand your business far better than any advert on a job site. User-friendly sites offer you the opportunity to share information about everything your business can offer, from rewards and incentives to career development. Some great features we have seen include ‘meet the team’, ’employee interviews’ and ‘a day in the life of’. Candidates come away from your site feeling like they know more about your business, and whether they would be a good fit for your business.
The broad scope of employer branding is both challenging and exciting, the rewards, a pool of talented individuals wanting to work for you and a workforce who are happy in their roles. If you’d like to know more about employer branding or want some friendly advice, please get in touch.
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