One of the biggest challenges in the recruitment process is persuading candidates that your organization is a great place to work. The best talent has plenty of opportunities; differentiating your organization as a preferred employer is critical. The time to start thinking about positioning your company as a great employer is long before you ever post a job or interview a candidate.
Employment branding forms the foundation for an effective recruitment strategy and can make a significant difference in attracting talented employees again and again.
A strong employer brand aligns with your business, culture and reputation. It gives job seekers and candidates a realistic and authentic preview of working at your company.
So how much does a company’s reputation as a place to work—its employer brand—really matter when it comes to hiring? And what exactly makes up a bad reputation or a good one?
Your Employer Brand Can Set You Apart
A company’s employer brand communicates why the company is an attractive place to work. It also sets you apart from other companies competing for the same talent.
According to a study from recruiting network MRINetwork, 69% of job seekers would reject a job offer from a company with a bad employer brand, even if they were unemployed? What’s more, 92% would consider leaving their current jobs if offered another role with a company that had an excellent reputation. The same report goes on to note 45% of 35–44 years old would leave their current job for less than a ten percent pay increase to join an excellent company.
Top Factors Tied to Brand Reputation
In 2016, Harvard Business Review partnered with ICM Unlimited to conduct a survey among a nationally representative sample of 1,003 full-time professionals in the U.S.
The research found that the top three factors that contribute most to a bad reputation as a place to work are:
- Concerns about job security
- Dysfunctional teams
- Poor leadership
The top three factors associated with a good reputation as an employer are:
- Opportunities for career growth
- The ability to work with a top-notch team
Resources like LinkedIn, Glassdoor and ZipRecruiter are a deep well of information for job seekers. These platforms put powerful tools in the hands of candidates and have flipped the script on the interviewing and hiring process by turning it into a review by all parties.
Meanwhile, many companies have failed to step up their game when it comes to talent acquisition. Employee feedback and reaction surveys can help companies build a great employee brand, but attracting top talent requires those organizations to market and advertise that attractive brand and employee experience to a wide audience. Smart companies need to take steps to reduce the gap between their intended and perceived brand, as well as find external avenues for their employee stories to be shared.
How to Strengthen Your Employer Reputation
Employers who deliver on the experience they promise enjoy better recruitment, engagement, employee brand advocacy and retention outcomes. Because of this, their employees are more likely to recommend their employer as a place to work, to post or share praise about their employer online, and to put more effort into their job than is required.
In an article from Sarah Clayton, Executive Vice President of Employee Engagement and Change Management at Weber Shandwick, she offers the following steps to achieve a more authentic employer brand:
- Live Your Brand Truth.The most effective employer brands have a clear corporate purpose and set of values, which serve to attract job seekers who share those fundamental beliefs.
- Deliver on Promises.Many brands can benefit greatly from assessing the distance between their recruitment marketing and the actual employee experience. Talking to new hires, conducting employee engagement surveys and exit interviews, engaging in social listening, and paying close attention to online reviews that employees have written about the company can all help address claims the company is making and what it’s actually delivering.
- Utilize Employee Advocates.Candidates see employees as a window into the true nature of your organization. In an era when only 12% of employees put a lot of trust in what employers say about themselves, companies must increasingly rely on their employees to be their spokespeople on the employee experience.
- Allow for Continual Progress. The aim for authenticity shouldn’t stop companies from aspiring to be better. Without aspirational elements, your employer brand is likely to be a bland collection of heard-it-all-before promises that will do little to compel candidates to look closer.
Having a reputable employer brand is a must for an organization’s strategy because it helps companies recruit better candidates, reduce hiring and marketing costs, and improve productivity. A staggering 83% of employees and job seekers are likely to research company reviews and ratings when deciding on where to apply for a job, and 7 out of 10 people surveyed changed their opinion about a brand after the company replied to a review. So having a strong employer brand that potential candidates can access at any time, especially online, allows them to see their potential fit with your company.