Could employer branding help to win the war for talent?

5 min read

As the war for talent seems to be at its climax, traditional recruitment methods are no longer effective. With the most desirable candidates being contacted by headhunters several times a week, companies must look for more innovative ways to attract top talent.

Could employer branding be the way to gain advantage in the battle for top talent? 

According to Journal of Brand Management; corporate positioning, employer branding and related practices are powerful tools for attracting employees with high potential. What’s more, the recent report released by Jobbio revealed that 75% of survey organisations seen improvement in the quality of candidates in response to their investment in their employer brand. This went hand-in-hand with cost reduction as 79% of respondents reported that their EB efforts led to a reduction in hiring costs.

How can a company create a successful employer brand?

We looked at some of the most successful organisations in terms of attracting top talent and created a list of the 4 elements that they all have in common in this area.

 

1. Clear message

Having a clear business message is the first step in the creation of an employer brand and something that all successful employers have in common. Afterall, in order to build a relationship with your audience, you need to be able to tell them who you are. In fact, this is what brings marketing and HR together: the aim to communicate your brand’s identity in an authentic, consistent and creative way. 

Take a look at Lush - the international, organic and handmade cosmetics retailer. As the brand states, they believe in "making effective products from fresh organic fruits and vegetables" and in "happy people making happy soap". This message is clearly expressed across all their products, in the way they provide their service and on all their marketing materials. 

Sources: www.smartcompany.com.au & sites.tufts.edu/jguarracinoexcollege62/
Sources of the images: www.smartcompany.com.au & sites.tufts.edu/jguarracinoexcollege62/

As a result, potential employees have a clear perception of what it is like to work at Lush:

 

2. Well-defined and consistent company culture

Peter Drucker, one of the most widely-known and influential thinkers on management once said that “‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. A great company culture though is more than just wages, wine o’clock, free fruit and perks. While the previous point described the identity of a brand, the culture is the personality of a company. It refers to the environment in which employees work, its mission, values and ethics.

Twitter is just one of the examples of excellent and effective organisational cultures. Many of Twitter’s employees would swear by the statement that Twitter is “the best place I have ever worked”. When asked why they feel this way, they explained that it is to do with the “amazing culture”. Some of the specific elements they listed when describing the company’s culture were rooftop meetings, friendly coworkers and a team-oriented environment. What’s more, employees pride themselves on being part of an organisation that is doing something that matters in the world.
 

3. Smooth and positive candidate’s journey

A candidate journey refers to all the touchpoints candidates have with your company, from the first interaction to the moment they come on board.  Every candidate will go through 6 stages throughout their journey - awareness, consideration, interest, application, selection and finally hire. The most successful employers offer a recruitment process that candidates enjoy. One that is clear and consistent with the employer brand. Communication, transparency and personalisation are the key ingredients to creating a positive candidate experience.

Below are a couple of examples of what some employers did to improve their candidates journey:

  • Deloitte conducted a survey among 3,000 candidates about career goals as part of their research aimed at improving their Careers Site.
  • Accenture built a mobile interview app that can be customized by the recruitment consultant for candidates to better prepare them for interviews.
  • Intel set up a Candidate Care team that was tasked with researching candidates and finding better ways to build relationships between recruiters and hiring managers.

 

4. Careers page or website 

According to the Talent Board’s 2015 Candidate Experience Research,  64% of surveyed candidates considered companies’ career sites to be the most valuable resource when researching new career opportunities. The way your career site shows your company to candidates plays a crucial role - it can spark the interest of a potential employee or lead to being written off completely in their minds. All great careers websites meet 7 main requirements:

  • being responsive
  • optimized for search engines and therefore easy to find in Google
  • lead candidates through their journey
  • have pages rich in various types and forms of content
  • their application process is seamless, easy, personal and candidate-centric
  • their website is constantly tweaked and changed based on data analysis
  • their company story is presented in a compelling way

 

If you’re looking for a practical example to see what makes a great careers page, check out Airbnb with their clear and simple layout, ease of use and inspiring mission statement. The page explicitly describes the type of employees the company wishes to attract, discusses their core values and showcases life at the company by using real-life images.  

Careers Site - AirBnB

Final Thoughts

The employer brand is nothing more but simply the set of associations and beliefs that candidates have in relation to your organisation as an employer. While it’s impossible to fully control the perception of your brand, some of the most successful companies send a clear and consistent message to their potential candidates. Striving to share your story as a way of showcasing your brand identity is proven to be effective way of standing out in this competitive, candidate-driven market. 
 


 

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