The Employer Brand – Your biggest candidate draw…

On the hunt…

Photo by Damian Zaleski on Unsplash

You know the sector you wish to work for, the skills you can offer and what drives you to succeed, but what influences your decision to apply? Whether you’re looking for a temporary role to cover a short period in-between jobs or your next big career break, some companies just hold more of a draw than others. Is it that you know someone who’s worked there and has had a great experience; have the company’s achievements been in the media lately; does their CEO inspire you? There are hundreds of different reasons why people apply for jobs and often, with those sought after companies, it’s not just driven by ‘I need a job’.

But what makes these companies so popular?

A variety of factors influence this, each exclusive to every company. These factors then come together to form what is the foundation of an organisations appeal – a strong, engaging and exciting employer brand. The strength of this brand is found in the strategy behind it, whilst its engaging and exciting depth comes from the unique identity of the company’s brand and workforce.

Adam Cole, CEB’s senior director, believes that the key to an enticing employer brand can be built and defined by:

Relevance: Do you know who your target audience are? And next, perhaps even more importantly, do you know what they are looking for? Keep your attraction strategy relevant to what the candidates seek, not just what you do.

Differentiation: What sets you apart from your sector? What makes working for your company better, more fulfilling and continually stimulating than any other? Why should a candidate want to work for you? This is your strength, make sure you find it.

Strength: Where does your offering stand among your competitors? Use what differentiates your company to stand apart from a saturated sector.

Sustainability: The brand that you’re selling must be true not only of today, but for the foreseeable future. Cole states:

“If we are misleading with our brand, we may get people in the door, but we create a secondary problem. The candidate will soon realize that they were sold a false bill of goods and will leave the organisation…we spent a lot of time and money recruiting and training them, but they’ve left too soon for us to realize the benefits of those investments.”

What are the benefits of an enticing employer brand?

As these factors are refined so is your employer brand and its impact. A recent study by Talent 2 shows that companies that engage with, improve and promote their employer brand reap benefits in many areas including:

  • 35% increase on employee engagement

  • 89% improvement in candidate quality

  • A cost per hire that is 2 times lower

  • Access to passive candidates has increased by 20 % 

  • 57% reduction in a company’s attrition rate

A strong employer brand increases the productivity, enthusiasm and engagement of a workforce and consequently poses that company as an exciting employment prospect.

What are companies doing to embrace and promote their employer brand?

Be the brand: adidas

One company that has really understood the strength of a great employer brand is Adidas. At the Universum Awards in March Steve Fogarty, adidas’s Head of Employer Branding, spoke about what their employer branding manifesto encourages – to  “be humble, build well but don’t brag, be honest, and don’t oversell” – and how a great candidate experience can not only be created through this but also supported by it.

The fundamental key to adidas’s employer brand is that they know their company, what they stand for and what makes them different. ‘Whilst their competitors turn athletes into demigods, adidas Group is more about the love of the game’. Their founder, Adi Dassler’s, dreams inspire how they conduct their employer brand, embracing a passion for sport, a drive to shape sport and to form a connection with the athletes involved in it. Their employees are all ‘passionate about sport and sport style’ and they look for this in their future hires also. It is felt at the core of their organisation and drives engagement and creative thought throughout it.

Become brand social: Nokia

A strong and exciting employer brand holds no draw if, externally, there’s no one talking about it. Whilst Talent2 found that 2 out of 3 employees are proud of their employer, only 19% of employees share their stories on social media. ‘People are a business’s greatest differentiator and its greatest asset’ so it is important that they are used to their maximum potential. There are many ways to generate discussion but, with the world’s current love of all that’s social media, the easiest and most direct avenue can be found here.

Nokia have embraced this by allowing all their employees to speak freely online across social media networks. Of course there are social guidelines and guidance in place, but every employee can ‘make full use of their personal opinion online.’

Employees are encouraged to join conversations online, sharing the exciting things that are happening at Nokia with their followers. By allowing this Nokia have given their employees the power to effortlessly become brand ambassadors.

Why is this important?

Gone are the days when a company’s day-to-day activities were kept behind closed doors. With the ever-growing social media landscape and the popularity of employer-review sites such as Glassdoor, an organisation’s internal culture has become increasingly visible to the outside world. By exposing the true nature of each company’s working environment to potential candidates, talented applicants will be driven to apply by excellent endorsements or sent running from negative reviews.

An exciting and engaging employer brand will draw talented candidates to the business, whilst a sustainable and stimulating employer brand will keep them there. However, even with the impressive benefits of a strong employer brand, Talent2’s survey reveals that only 14% of companies have a clear employer branding strategy. In the current climate the negative repercussions of this could be huge.