Employer Brand: A Weapon in the Recruitment Arsenal

Stand Out with a Strong Employer Brand

Good talent, to put it simply, is hard to find. But investing in your Employer Brand makes it so much easier.

Identifying and engaging individuals with the skills and competencies to be successful and who fit in with the company culture should be easy enough. Just post your job openings and among the hundreds of potential respondents should be a select few who have what it takes to be successful. But talent acquisition has become much more difficult in recent years, and it is something that organizations will continue to struggle with for the foreseeable future. The main reason? Competition for skilled, qualified workers is tougher than ever. That’s why no company who wants to hire quality talent can go without a strong Employer Brand.

Whereas companies formerly just had to compete against others in their industry, today anyone can be the competition when it comes to attracting and engaging quality candidates. The impact of this competition is clear, namely in the resulting skills shortages. According to Manpower Group’s 2014 Talent Shortage Survey, 36 per cent of employers worldwide report difficulty filling jobs. And as the war for talent heats up, simply posting a position on a job board, placing an ad in a newspaper, allowing your jobs to be scraped by aggregators or advertising on social and mobile channels will not get the right people to apply in this day and age. To win the war for talent, organizations must hone a type of weapon – their employer brand.

Why focus on employer brand

More and more, companies recognize the importance of employer branding and how it positions the company as an ideal place to work. By projecting a strong employer brand, which encompasses things like company culture, reputation as an employer and overall employee value proposition, the company can attract candidates who share the same values. Rather than relying on the now old-fashioned, text-based job descriptions that include the same corporate jargon as any other company, effective employer branding will show candidates the true experience of working for your company through dynamic content like videos and photos of the workplace. Not only will this help to engage right-fit talent, but with a strong brand and identity, it will be easier to retain current talent as well.

The importance of the employer brand was highlighted in a survey, which found that more than half of all job candidates research employers on Glassdoor to learn about a company and its culture before they apply. But as important as the employer brand is, candidates typically seek opportunities not just by the company but by occupation and vertical as well. Projecting what the company can offer employees is essential to account for this reality, but the most meaningful branding can and should be done on the vertical or occupational level.

As most people search for opportunities by a specific job title or group, rather than by the company alone, employers must meet them where they are. This means targeting audiences with information relevant to their interests and career aspirations — just as long as such messaging still aligns with the overall enterprise brand. So, how can today’s companies accomplish this? It’s important to understand the biggest trends in employer branding, what organizations can do to engage candidates at all levels and the best practices for winning the war for talent.

Why employer branding is so crucial

As organizations continue to struggle to find talent and – as turnover rates continue to rise – keep their existing talent, the experience they provide as an employer has become the biggest differentiator. Believe it or not, a strong culture can even trump salary. Research from Workopolis found that 36 percent of Canadian candidates would take a 5-to-10 percent pay cut for a job with a more positive working environment, and 31 percent would take a similar pay cut for a position offering more opportunities for career advancement. And as all companies scramble to figure out the best ways to attract the newest entrants to the workforce – the millennials – employer branding continues to become a major factor.

According to its “2014 Canada Student Survey,” Universum found that the top three things millennials want in an employer is a creative and dynamic work environment, a friendly workplace and respect for its people. The drivers that attracted previous generations, like secure employment, high future earnings and leadership opportunities, ranked lower on the list, showing how employer branding and its components have emerged as the top priority for attracting today’s talent.

When done correctly, employer branding can also help to streamline the hiring process – not only in getting the right candidates to apply, but also encouraging those who are not a good fit to avoid applying. Consider how employer branding enables companies to showcase the experience of working there. By seeing the company, its culture and values, as well as details of the job itself through video introductions by the hiring manager and potential colleagues, candidates gain more insight to help them decide if the job is right for them. This will enable those individuals who won’t be a good match to opt out early on, rather than discovering this after a phone screen or in-person interview.

Consider the example of an IT software developer looking for a job at three different employers: one’s a startup like Kik, makers of a mobile chat simulation, another one is an innovative company like Apple, and the third is a traditional employer like RBC. With the job duties and position requirements all the same, the issue comes down to the employer brand and what resonates best with him.

When researching the three companies, the candidate finds that the startup can offer an exciting entrepreneurial environment, but one with its fair share of risk. Working for Apple would provide him with the opportunity to be part of a world-famous brand known as a leader in innovation, while RBC offers a collaborative environment and support for long-term growth and development. Based on the individual’s own values and preferences, he decides against taking the gamble of working for a startup. And although Apple would enable him to work for one of the best known consumer brands, his career ambitions and goals convince him that RBC, with its numerous opportunities to grow professionally, would be the right choice for his career.

Leverage your Employer Brand – it’s your weapon for attracting and engaging the best possible talent.

Need help better articulating your Employer Brand and Value Proposition – contact ADVANCE Human Capital to chat about how we can help.

Published by Colette O’Neill