Opinion: Five steps to improving your employer brand

Managing the way your business appeals as a place to work is crucial to good human resource management, according to Kristine Berry, Director of the recruitment and HR company Peopleconnexion. She calls it the ’employer brand’. How good is yours?

Peopleconnexion’s Kristine Berry believes companies should manage their ’employer brand’.

You’ve got your hiring plan mapped out. Your job descriptions typed up. Job ads published. Recruitment team on standby. But your application inbox is empty. Why? Maybe it’s your employer brand.

One estimate by the Harvard Business Review found that a company with 10,000 employees could be spending an additional US$7.6 million in additional wages to compensate for their poor employer brand.

Why? Employers can expect to pay an additional 10 per cent in wages to convince candidates to come on board an organisation that has no branding, or a poor brand.

Employer branding is thereforean essential aspect of recruitment, even though it is often outside of the control of HR, or the team undertaking hiring.

One negative moment in the press can affect an employer brand years down the track.

With so many aspects out of your control, what steps can you take as an HR leader to improve your employer brand?

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Step 1: Complete an employer brand audit

Before you set to work on revamping your employer brand, you need to first ask yourself—do you have one at all? Ask yourself:

  • Do you have a career site?
  • Does it need a makeover?
  • Do you discuss your company culture in recruitment collateral?
  • How smooth is your application process?
  • Do you follow up?
  • How effective are your HR team at interviewing?
  • Do you have a clear onboarding process?
  • Have you made a few regrettable hires?
  • Put yourself in a candidate’s shoes for a moment.

How can you ask ‘why do you want to work for _____?’ if you haven’t already given them a clear reason to?

Step 2: Decide what kind of brand you want to convey

What do you want candidates to know about your workplace? No employer brand is complete without a clear message.

Develop your messaging by creating a list of strengths and weaknesses, then tease out those strengths and weave them into your recruitment marketing material (yes, all of it).

Make sure you speak to your organisation’s culture. Are you an office full of energised coffee-loving extroverts who bond together over drinks on a Friday afternoon, or working mums and dads who value flexibility and work-life balance?

If you convey the culture of your workplace clearly, your chances of finding like-minded professionals will go through the roof.

Step 3: Create an employee advocacy program

Your current employees are your greatest asset. This is why it is so important to encourage the entire team to contribute to your branding strategy where they can.

The easiest way to do this is through an employee advocacy program—one where your employees are an essential part of distributing information and messages across social media and their own networks.

In addition to this, encourage your workforce to keep an eye on your organisation’s social media and blog posts, then share them with their own network.

If employees are actively involved in advocating your employer brand, it becomes easier for potential candidates to see what kind of workplace they could enter into.

Step 4: Like attracts like—encourage employee referrals

Like attracts like. If your workplace is full of high performing professionals, chances are your employees’ networks are, too.

If you haven’t already created an Employee Referral Program (ERP), it’s never too late to start.

An ERP will help you to source top talent and provide your employees with an incentive—read: a bonus, gift cards or even a well-deserved day off!—to be engaged in recruitment and spread positive messages about your organisation.

To implement this initiative, make sure you are reaching out to function-specific teams, or sending out company-wide messages about open positions.

Step 5: HR + Marketing = strong employer brand

Join forces with your marketing team to create a strong and cohesive brand that is impossible to ignore.

Make sure you are posting regular information about your workplace culture and company updates on social media to show what it’s really like to work for your organisation.

Create blog posts, images and videos that showcase your story and represent the attributes important to your organisation—like leadership, innovation or creativity.

Try asking your marketing team to run their eye over all material or templates before they are sent out, so your messaging and brand is consistent and clear.

In reality, it isn’t always easy to control candidate perceptions or prevent that viral video from creating a PR nightmare.

But there are practical steps you can take to improve or create your employer brand.

Place the focus on why your organisation is a fantastic place to work and use creative ways to get the word out, then watch the applications roll in.

Kristine Berry is Director of the recruitment and HR company, Peopleconnexion.

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