Job candidates are much more selective these days and almost all of them will give some consideration to a company’s culture and values before taking a job – or even applying.
People want to LOVE their job.
So if you want to attract the best talent to your business, your employer brand needs to be on point.
It’s as simple as that.
What is “Employer Branding?”
Employer branding is:
‘…a set of attributes and qualities, often intangible, that makes an organisation distinctive, promises a particular kind of employment experience, and appeals to those people who will thrive and perform best in its culture’. The CIPD
It’s basically all about positioning yourself as an “employer of choice;” as the place to work in a certain industry, sector or even location.
It’s not about how big and successful you are – although this does have an impact – it’s about how your employees feel working for you.
Building a powerful employer brand will make recruiting much easier, improve staff retention and boost your general brand as well – it’s win, win, win!
But unfortunately, it’s a lot easier to ruin an employer brand than it is to maintain one.
So, let’s take a look how you could be ruining yours…
1. You are not a good employer.
If you don’t actually treat your employees well, then it’s highly unlikely that you’ll have a good employer brand (makes sense).
It just doesn’t work if you don’t have a happy, engaged and appreciated workforce, willing to shout about exactly how happy, engaged and appreciated they feel.
With a huge number social media sites, forums, and company review sites (like Glassdoor) used on a daily basis, if your employees aren’t happy, you can bet that it will get out into the public eye.
Especially if you handle a situation badly, like for example, letting an employee go.
Unfortunately, it’s much more common to find angry people complaining, than happy people praising. So it’s dead important to make sure most of your employees are happy – and to quell any bad feelings as quickly as possible.
And how can you make your employees happy?
There are a variety of ways to ensure you have a happy, engaged workforce, but here are some of the most important things (according to UK employees)…
- Involve them in the big picture decisions.
- Offer fair salaries.
- Say “thank you.”
- Be positive.
- Give feedback and check in, often.
- Trust them.
- Support them.
- Encourage teamwork.
- Stick to company values.
- Actually do care.
For more advice, check out our blog post on the topic: 15 Easy Ways to Improve Employee Engagement at Your Company.
So, before you start worrying about your employer brand and how you look to other people, it’s important to actually become a good employer.
2. You do not respect your candidates.
In exactly the same way, you need to make sure your candidates’ experiences are positive, respectful and fair.
Think about it; they have no loyalty towards you, so they’re even more likely to write a bad review or slate you on social media if they have a bad experience with you.
And if you can’t even treat your candidates with respect, people will wonder how well you treat your employees and even clients.
How can you keep your candidates happy?
- Be respectful (obviously).
- Communicate with them throughout the process.
- Follow up, even if they didn’t get the job/interview.
- Give fair and honest feedback (without being offensive).
- Make a fair offer.
- Offer extra value, like advice and resources.
- Answer any questions as and when they come up.
Think about how you would like to be treated if you were a candidate and make sure everyone else who is involved in the process does the same!
(That means your current employees and any outsourced recruiters too).
If you’d like to find out more about the candidate experience, check out this great article.
3. You are trying to force it.
This is a trap that far too many companies fall into; they decide what they want their employer brand to be, based on what they think makes them look good and then they try to “fake it.”
You’ll probably have come across this kind of thing before; companies that constantly go on about how much their staff love them, but the whole thing just sounds false?
Perhaps you hear a couple of bad reviews or maybe the customer service team seem downright miserable or do the social media posts appear really fake and staged?
That’s the thing; people can tell when something isn’t quite right.
Instead of faking it, actually think about…
- Who you are.
- Who you want to attract.
- Your wider brand and company culture.
- How you go about recruiting people.
- Why your employees stick around.
- What makes you different?
- What have you got or do you offer that people would be interested in?
And build an honest employer brand based on that (just like you did with your normal brand and USP).
Need more info on this? Check out our 10 tips to building a powerful employer brand.
Thing is, it’s pretty much impossible to fake an employer brand these days (because of the same social media and review sites we mentioned earlier).
Your message needs to be honest, clear, coherent and strong (with evidence) and most importantly, your staff must be able to back it up and genuinely believe in it too.
If your employees and candidates are all really unhappy, it will never work.
4. There is no consistency.
One of the biggest issues you might have is when there’s a clear disconnect between the brand you’re showing your employees and the one you show customers.
You need your brand to support and strengthen your employer brand and vice versa.
For example, if charity work is a big deal to your company, it should also be a big deal to your current and therefore future employees – so you could offer (and shout about) time off for voluntary work or boast about the charitable events you’ve hosted.
Represent your clear and consistent employer brand in everything you do during the recruitment process and afterwards, including:
- Your job advert.
- All communication (telephone and email).
- Your interviews.
- Your on-boarding process.
- Employee engagement strategies.
- Your LinkedIn Company profile.
- Employee events.
- Performance reviews.
- Disciplinary procedures.
Set expectations really early on and then follow through with your promises. This is how the best companies build strong, renowned brands.
5. You forget your secret weapon.
What do you think is more believable and impressive?
- You, going around telling people how well you treat your employees?
- Or your employees going around telling people how well you treat your employees?
Job candidates want to hear about real-life experiences, in much the same way clients like to read testimonials and case studies.
I know, it can be scary to let go of the reins and let your team promote you – in fact some companies actively ban employees from mentioning them across social media – but that’s a mistake. Your employees really are the best-placed people to sell your company!
(Unless you actually are a bad employer of course, but if that is the case, go back to number 1.)
- Encourage them to write articles, posts and updates about your company.
- Encourage them to share videos and photos and talk about their experiences.
- Allow social media in your workplace!
Do all of this and they’ll be spreading the news about how great you are – without getting paid to do so. Free publicity!
What kind of things could they post?
- Photos of a team-working activity to show how much fun you all are.
- A write-up of a charity event you hosted/ attended to show you like to give back.
- Funny gifs, inspirational quotes and articles that sum up life at your company.
You (and they) can post a variety of entertaining things which will boost your profile and make your workplace look like a great place to work.
Don’t miss out on great publicity, because you don’t trust employees or in fact, because you don’t think they’ll be bothered to post anything.
You’d be surprised.
Building a likable and believable employer brand will make your company more appealing to potential new employees and prospective clients.
But to build a likable and believable employer brand you need to…
- Actually be a good employer.
- Ensure that your culture and brand are clear and in harmony.
- Respect candidates and employees.
- Trust your employees to spread the word.