8-Step Process To Create An Effective Employer Brand Strategy6 min read.
Every business knows that the better their reputation as a place to work, the more they will attract the kind of people who are reliable, productive and less likely to leave for competitors. In an article published by McKinsey, nearly a third of senior leaders cited finding talent as the biggest managerial challenge. All successful businesses should drive to be the employer of choice in their sector, but not all of them have a strategic plan to improve their recruiting and retention efforts across the board.
In this article, Ph. Creative uncovers the eight-step process on how to create an effective employer brand strategy.
What Is Employer Branding?
An employer brand is all about sharing what it feels like to work in your organization to the outside world. Instead of drawing in potential customers, employer branding aims to attract and keep good employees and improve the industry's perception of your company. You might tell customers that you offer high-quality products and good customer support, but that doesn't tell potential employees what your company is like to work for. Instead, you could tell them about your excellent benefits or commitment to diversity.
Creating your employer brand means presenting yourself as the ideal employer to meet various goals, such as talent acquisition and retention. You may also use your employer brand to position yourself as a respected industry leader.
Like all other aspects of branding, reputation as being a good employer is only achieved by demonstrable positive staff experience throughout your organisation. Building an attractive workplace is wide-ranging — from the layout of the offices to the staff development opportunities — and it needs to be part of the culture of the organisation.
So, how do you improve your employer branding? Firstly, address the culture of your business. Once you have assessed your employer branding, most companies see areas for improvement. This is where training comes in.
Many different people can be involved in employer branding, from the CEO to recruiters. Some branding parts, like an overarching vision, will need to come from the top of the chain. Other parts, like creating a positive experience for applicants or building up your status as a trusted employer, will fall to certain workers, like recruiters and marketing teams. For smaller businesses, just one person might be responsible. An employer branding strategy is diverse and can come in many forms.
There are numerous options for introducing strategic employer branding into your organisation — so how do you know what you need and which training package to choose?
Why Is Employer Branding Strategy Important?
Virtually every candidate out there will consider your company’s reputation before applying. There’s an increasing requirement for accountability, responsible business and transparency, which are all areas that can benefit from good employer brand management. During the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly, the way that employers supported and continue to support their staff has been brought into the spotlight. Reputational damage can be made or broken in uncertain times… Having a coherent strategy across your business is key to employer branding success.
In addition to job seekers, your branding strategy might target current employees, company alumni or other industry figures. An employer brand might, for instance, build loyalty in your current staff and cultivate a better workplace culture. Your brand could also position you as an industry leader and a company that attracts top talent, helping you cultivate respect in the field. Employer branding is important because it is a major part of your company's reputation and can affect your success far beyond the bottom line.
Some aspects an employer brand can help you develop include:
- Mission and values: Many colleagues and employees will learn about your company through your employer brand. It will dictate their understanding of your goals and mission. Creating an effective employer branding strategy can make sure the information they get puts you in a good light.
- Company culture: Use your employer brand to share your company culture. Prospective and current employees will know what to expect and see what kind of behaviour the company values.
- Diversity and inclusion: Your employer brand is a great way to promote your diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. More people can feel comfortable and confident about working with you, knowing you're contributing to a more equal industry.
How to Develop an Employer Branding Strategy
Like any strategic planning within your business, employer branding needs to start with research – an audit, if you like – into your current reputation as an employer within your sector and within your own organisation.
Once you have a clear idea of your strengths and weaknesses, implementing a strategy involves specialised training to ensure that the brand not only focuses on recruitment but on people management. Areas of focus for employer branding strategies include:
- Induction: Engaging your new employees in an inclusive way.
- Performance management and reward: What incentives are there for productivity and excellence within roles?
- Managing internal communications: Ensuring that all comms represent the same language and messaging to all staff.
- Promoting effective management behaviours: Developing a culture of effective leadership across the board.
- People leaving the organisation: Ensuring that their reasons for leaving are analysed, implementing universal strategies for keeping staff onboard and aiming to maintain a good reputation, even among leavers.
Employer branding strategy is most effective when it involves a systematic plan. This can, of course, be developed within your organisation, but for many businesses, it is more time-saving and cost-effective to use the services of experts in the field. Typically, an employer branding strategy involves the following stages:
Determine your goals and plans for the brand strategy by:
- Clarifying expectations and demands and how you want your employer branding project to be run
- Outline service level agreements
- Work out how you will apply consistency to the project — from the logistics of planning workshops to the regularity of strategy meetings
This is the data collection phase, where you'll figure out what your strategy needs. Start by assessing where you are now and measuring things like regrettable loss, such as losing employees to the competition, ill health or change of lifestyle.
Next, look at the percentage of valued applicants versus those that do not measure up to your ideal employee demographic.
In this phase, you'll work out your distinctive value proposition, which usually includes:
- Determining brand attributes: Do your brand values reflect your culture within the organisation?
- Identifying your overall employment value proposition: How do you want to present yourself as an employer?
- Behaviour and attribute mapping: Create a toolkit for assessing effective and ineffective performance within your workplace: what works and why?
The discovery stage is all about researching impact, purpose and belonging in your company. It may include:
- Workshops with senior management
- Internal and external focus groups
- In-depth employee surveys
- Auditing the candidate journey
Now that you've collected all your data, you'll need to condense it down into actionable resources by:
- Distilling down all the data collected: Get your information ready for presenting research to stakeholders and getting buy-in, agreement and signoff.
- Developing an overall creative brief: A brand is a creative endeavour. It combines actual intrinsic change with a clear and enticing messaging to draw in the best employees — and keep them there.
- Closing any gaps between perception and reality: Work on closing the gap between how people perceive your employer brand and the real deal, making changes to ensure your brand is authentic.
This stage lets you put your information to work with these tasks:
- Applying new elements of your strategy within your organisation needs to involve stakeholder buy-in
- Applying new branding concepts to induction, applicant information, briefings for recruiters, interview and assessment process
Finally, you're ready to deploy your strategy far and wide. Launch your brand internally by making sure everyone is on the same page, from HR to marketing and from business development to IT. Then, you can apply the brand to the organisation’s website and social media communications and launch your employer brand to the wider world.
Once it's in place, you'll need to measure, maintain and optimise your strategy over time. Like all good business planning, the implementation of a strategy is not an end-point. Employer branding needs to be an ongoing part of a company’s culture — which means ensuring that the stakeholders maintain engagement with brand policy, that new recruits are consistently treated with the employer brand in mind, and that employees consistently feel engaged and motivated. Ongoing maintenance can involve:
- Reviewing internal and external response and perception of the new brand — and making changes if the reputation is not improving
- Measuring improvements in the recruitment and retention metrics by collecting data on an ongoing basis, not just a one-off snapshot
- Assessing the authenticity of the brand values with demonstrable actions that indicate whether a business is following through on its employer brand principles
- Consideration of ethical practice, ensuring that the business continues to develop and engage current and future potential employees
Enhance Your Strategy With Our Employer Branding Agency
Ph.Creative is a group of experts in employer branding and strategies. Our specialist teams have been advising and implementing creative branding management to companies in the UK and in New Zealand.
There's a lot to learn about employer branding, but we make it simple with our Sprint Series. This intensive program can help employees take their branding skills to the next level and create a competitive advantage for the company. Participants get:
- Access to a plethora of educational content
- A senior peer-to-peer community
- Three in-depth masterclass events with Q&As with experts
- World-class case studies, templates and other resources
In this program, you'll learn from the minds behind the Give and Get approach and get recertification credits accredited by the HR Certification Institute (HRCI). If you want to supercharge your employer branding strategy, fill out our contact form to get in touch with us today!