4 foundations for a good employer brand
Gone are the days when you could rely on a good paycheck and a few perks to attract the best talent.
Candidates are increasingly clued-up about what they want, the standards they’ll accept from employers both professionally and personally – and who’s lying.
That’s why good employer branding is essential when hiring great talent. It also reduces hiring costs, promotes you to a wider talent pool and inspires loyalty and engagement from the employees you have.
Good hiring in today’s competitive market depends on offering what the candidate wants – not what you think they want to hear.
And because retaining the people you have means cementing that employer brand internally, too, you’ll need to make sure it’s grounded on the things that really matter.
So what are the foundations of a good employer brand? And how do you put them in place?
It’s easy enough to post about Black Lives Matter or Pride on Instagram. But an effective employer brand is about showing what you do, not telling. So talk about your networks, how you manage bias, what you do to promote (and enforce) inclusivity and prove that you champion fair pay and opportunities.
Being a good employer isn’t just about telling people you follow the right guidelines. It’s how you speak to (and about) your people and your clients, the way you interact with them and how you ensure everyone is included and treated fairly.
Remember: if what you say and what you do aren’t the same, your employees will talk.
Have you ever checked that your employees actually align with your values?
And if they don’t, have you ever asked yourself who your values benefit – them or you?
Here’s an example. Values like ‘Resilience’ and ‘Agility’ might sound good to you, but are they just code for unfavourable conditions like expecting employees to work long hours, come in when they’re sick and put up with chaotic working practices?
Employees are wise to self-serving values these days. Yet it’s amazing how many employers are still using values to further their own ends rather than those of the people who give them their time and effort.
As a candidate, who would you rather work for: a company that values ‘Support’ or one that puts ‘Resilience’ at the top of its list?
As an employer, you’ve more responsibilities than you realise. Like it or not, you’re not just accountable for your employees’ professional development and productivity. You also have a big impact on their personal lives.
That’s why your employer brand should always lead with the support you offer your employees – not your perks.
Nice-to-haves like free coffee, pub lunches and breakfast on the house are all very well, but employee loyalty is built from offering help when your staff really need it, like when a child is sick, they’ve had a bereavement or they need an operation.
Employees who experience compassion and genuine flexibility when life gets tough will repay you in spades, so make sure your employer brand is based on support.
Ok, it’s not very sexy, but there’s no point creating an employer brand if you don’t measure how it performs. Do you know what your candidates want – or are you guessing? Do you have an atmosphere of open, honest communication in your company – or are people penalised for speaking up?
Without data, employer branding is meaningless. Knowing how candidates and employees are responding allows you to reposition, tweak and refine as necessary to make sure all that investment actually brings you dividends.
Some things you can measure:
- Candidate quality and source. Where did your best candidates come from? Which branding messages did they respond to?
- Employee experience. Have you ever asked your existing employees how they found their own hiring and onboarding experience? If you’re making mistakes in your first impressions, you need to correct them – and fast.
- Employee retention rates. On average, how long do people stay with your company? What percentage turnover do you have? If your retention rates are low, it’s easy to pass it off as individual reasons for leaving. But the reality is, if people don’t tend to stay, there’s always something you need to change.
Recruitment has changed, and candidates are no longer just grateful for a job. They demand to be treated like humans, supported in their personal lives and valued for who they are.
All this means that in today’s climate the candidate is the prize. It’s no longer just up to them to show they’ll be up to the job – the employer has something to prove, too.