The cornerstone of any successful business is its employees. Great ideas and great analytics can only get you so far. To really succeed, you must have great employees. Yet this is no secret, and top talent knows it’s in high-demand, which means you’ll need to work hard to catch people’s attention and encourage them to apply for openings at your company.
Developing an employer brand is one of the most effective tactics for doing this. It works in the same way as traditional branding, but this time the products are your open positions and the audience is the labor market. A strong brand will help draw people towards you, especially those who know they have the power to be choosy about where they work.
However, as you might expect, building a strong brand is much easier said than done. Here are some tips to help you improve your recruiting efforts so that you can bring in the top talent needed to grow your business:
Define What Makes You Unique
The first step in building your employer brand is to figure out what makes you unique. Every company is different, so what will people get working for your company that they can’t get somewhere else?
Answering this question starts by asking your current employees. You should already be having regular one-on-one meetings with your employees—or at the very least you should be encouraging managers to meet with each member of their staff on a regular basis—so use these meetings as opportunities to figure out what people like about working for your company.
But you’ll also want to focus on defining a clear vision and mission statement. What is it your company stands for? What is it trying to do? Every business has a purpose, so make sure you’re clear on what yours is, as this is what you’ll use to distinguish your company from others and attract top talent.
Treat Recruiting like Marketing
Once you’re clear about your own identity, it’s time to work on broadcasting this information to your target audience, which in this case is the pool of people looking for a new job. At this point, recruiting starts to feel an awful lot like marketing. You’ll need to make sure you’re crafting communications that both highlight your unique characteristics, but that also address the needs of your target audience.
It’s important you use language in your job postings and advertising that speaks to the group you’re pursuing. Most people nowadays are looking for much more than a salary when searching for a job. Millennials are known for favoring companies that stand for something or that will help them get a sense of meaning and purpose for their job. And flexible schedules are becoming increasingly important to today’s job seekers. Don’t make promises you can’t keep, but also do your best to offer the things people care most about.
As you can see, to build an employer brand, you really need to treat your recruiting efforts like a marketing campaign, with potential candidates as your customers. This will help ensure consistency across all your recruiting messages, making it easier top talent to find you amidst the noise.
Don’t Forget Social Media
It’s safe to say social media is now one of the primary ways companies will find new employees. Job seekers are responding by using these platforms to find jobs and to learn about companies with opening positions.
To succeed in building an effective employer brand, find out where your target market looks for jobs and make sure you’re marketing on these platforms. But you need to do more than just post jobs to social media. Use these platforms to broadcast company culture and demonstrate to people who you are. Ways to do this include:
- Posting comments and starting conversations that highlight your employer brand
- Create useful, engaging content for your target audience so they can begin to see you as an authority and make the right associations with your company.
- Respond to user-contributed content by answering questions, retweeting or reposting comments, or by simply showing that someone’s paying attention. All of this is instrumental in establishing and maintaining your employer brand in the digital world.
Improve What You Have to Offer
To successfully improve your employer brand, you need to position your company as a great place to work. Traditionally, this meant offering a good salary and not much else. But nowadays, employees expect so much more. Think of this step as improving your product so that more people will buy it.
There are a number of different things you can do to help make your open positions more attractive and to improve your employer brand. For example, you can expand the benefits package you offer to employees. This might sound expensive, but you can outsource your HR function to help you create and manage packages that are both attractive and affordable.
Go Beyond Just Benefits
There are other things you can offer employees. Gym facilities and child care are huge draws, as is remote work and flexible PTO. However, perhaps the best things you can offer are those that reinforce your brand.
For example, if you want to position your company as a laid back, innovative and active place to work, then consider redesigning your office to reflect this, or offering perks that help people enjoy their lives outside of work, such as discounts to state and national parks, or summer schedules.
There’s no one combination of benefits that people are looking for. But working to find the best mixture of what you can afford and what people want, then you’re well on your way to building an employer brand that will effectively attract top talent.
Highlight Your Values and Develop Company Culture to Match
Workplace culture has a significant impact on engagement, and it has an equal role in determining the success of your recruitment efforts. As a result, it’s important you do everything you can to broadcast to potential candidates what you stand for. Clearly identify your core values on your website, and make sure you include information about company culture in all of your job postings.
However, it’s important you go beyond just saying what you believe. You also need to prove it. If you say you’re a company that supports the local community, make sure you have initiatives in place to actually do this, and then make sure people can easily learn about them so that they know there is substance behind your words. Also make sure your systems and processes reflect the type of culture you want to build. And include employees in the process so that culture can grow from within.
Ideally, if you do this right, your cultural development and recruiting efforts will work together. You’ll slowly start to attract more candidates who mesh well with your culture, and their addition to the team will help foster cultural growth, making your employer brand more pronounced more authentic.
Monitor Your Brand and Adjust Constantly
Perhaps the most important thing to remember when building an employer brand is that you’re never done. Constantly monitor the perceptions people have of your company as a place to work. And also run frequent tests to see if you could be doing things better.
For example, consider writing up two different job postings and uploading them to the same site. Then, evaluate what kind of response you get and from whom. This will help tell you how your ads are being received, which will give you valuable insight about how to improve.
Yet even though you’ll never be done, if you follow the steps outlined here, then you’ll be well on your way to building an employer brand that can attract the type of talent you need to make your company grow.