In today’s competitive job market – it takes more than an attractive salary to recruit and retain the best talent. In the Workhuman 2019 International Employee Survey Report, meaningful work landed as the #1 most important factor – beating out compensation and perks. Today’s workforce cares more about your organization’s mission, culture, and purpose than ever before - making a strong employer brand a key ingredient to attracting the right talent.
The tricky thing about building a strong employer brand is that it’s a long game that does require strategy and effort. There’s no quick fix solution or strategy that will instantly make your organization more desirable. The good news – is that as Talent and HR professionals – we have the ability to start to make little changes that can have a big impact, and begin to lay the foundation for strengthening our employer brand and culture.
If you don’t have an EVP created yet – start with small employee-led focus groups or surveys. Get inspiration right from the source. You want to find out what your employees think about when they think about your company, what keeps them motivated, and what they like most about working for your organization.
Your EVP communicates what sets you apart from other employers. It’s the ‘what’s in it for me’ that goes beyond the benefits package and focuses more on your mission – why does your company exist in the first place, and why do your employees choose to get up and come to work everyday?
From the moment a candidate first sees your job ad or opens that first inmail from a recruiter – they are starting to form an opinion about your employer brand. Map out the current candidate experience and see if there are areas where you can add value. Sometimes this might mean removing steps and other times it might mean adding things that will leave a lasting impression on candidates. For example – sending a welcome gift after they accept their offer and before their start date. We started this at Workhuman to ease the new job jitters and keep new hires excited – and it’s gotten great feedback and even some great social media shout-outs.
While we’re focusing on attracting new talent – it’s important not to forget your existing employees. These employees are the true owners of your Employer Brand. They impact the culture in the office every day, and can boost your brand up or down through word of mouth or employee review sites. Just as you evaluate the candidate lifecycle – look at your employee lifecycle. Are there opportunities for you to recognize different service milestones or life events? Recognition is key to making people feel valued and appreciated. It’s more than pool tables and cold brew – it’s about people feeling valued for the work they are doing. Partner with your HR leadership to see how investing in employee appreciation efforts can help improve both recruitment and retention efforts.
It may be an obvious place to start – but it can be one of the most painful to dive into.
As a best practice, a company representative should be responding to both positive and negative reviews equally. Negative reviews can be tricky, and our instinct might be to get defensive – but this approach doesn’t bode well for candidates that are scrolling through. Instead, be open and accepting of the feedback. Having a few templates on hand with pre-approved language from HR leadership can help to provide replies promptly.
Employee reviews are not a ‘set it and forget it’ type of project – so make sure you’re taking the time to continuously monitor, respond, and course-correct if needed. The impact these reviews have on your ability to attract talent is significant – in fact, a study from TalentNow states that 50% of candidates say they wouldn’t work for a company with a bad reputation – even for a pay increase.
Having buy-in from leadership on employee reviews is also important. Keeping them informed about the feedback you're getting online can provide them with insights into what is working well and where there challenges that should be addressed.
Pro-tip: Stay on top of responding to reviews by scheduling a “Follow-up Friday” with your team to go through each of your channels.
Social media is a great way to give candidates a behind the scenes look at what it’s like to work at your company. Internal events, company celebrations, and team highlights are all great ways to engage potential candidates while recognizing and celebrating your employees.
Employee spotlights are great – and one of the easiest ways to incorporate your people into your social channel. Share a questionnaire that includes questions about both what they do at work, and what they enjoy outside of the office. Ask them to send along some photos and boom – there you have it!
While your posting on social media – having a hashtag that represents employer brand activities will help make it easier for candidates to find more content. #Lifeat(CompanyName) is a great way to tag these posts, as well as empower employees to share content on their own social pages. If you’re looking for ideas – try following some employers who are doing it right, like @starbucksjobs @hubspotlife and @lifeattoast on Instagram.
If you’re just starting to embrace your employer brand - it doesn’t take a big investment to make a big impact. Making small adjustments and delivering a VIP level of service can work wonders - and will help you build strong advocates while getting the right talent excited about joining the team!
Written by Christina Spadaro, Employer Brand Manager @ Workhuman