What dictates a strong employer brand?
Much as we would like to control the stakes, an employer brand is a perception created in the mind of potential employees. While we can work on engineering it, we cannot always control it. A strong employer brand is a reflection of your company’s culture and values and usually comes down to a few aspects, such as:
Effective communication, inside and out
Do your employees often experience siloes? Do they have access to mentors and team leaders who set clear expectations and drive these expectations faster? Do the questions they ask on communication channels get lost in the endless void?
When exploring employment opportunities, potential hires have the option to look up experiences from past hires. These reviews shape their opinion of your organisation. In that context, the best way to build and nurture a strong employer brand is to communicate openly with every hire, even in the early days of building the organisation.
This also reflects how employees are encouraged to communicate transparently. Some of the strongest employer brands encourage open communication not just within closed circles but with the world at large. As that adage goes, it pays to be authentic.
Only those invested in growth can hope to go the furthest in a world of vast and diverse skill sets. Employees today look for organisations that encourage learning and development through structured learning opportunities.
In the past, organisations would worry about whether encouraging learning would lead to employee attrition. However, research shows that employees who learn within an organisation are more loyal to the brand and may work with the organisation for longer than employees with no learning opportunities. Moreover, being positioned as a learning organisation can help attract new hires thinking about their career trajectories.
Leading with values
Potential employees often decide whether to work for one organisation or another based on brand values. Several organisations have brand books with value systems laid out, but these values are somewhat difficult to translate into real-world contexts. Usually, the more abstract the values are, the harder it is to build and sustain a strong employer brand. In reality, employees can better learn brand values from their leaders than from brand books.
How to establish a strong employer brand
With a clearer understanding of the benefits of a strong employer brand, let us now consider what it takes to build and nurture it.
- A strong value proposition – articulating the value of working with an organisation can help construct how prospective employees perceive the organisation.
- The employer brand is not just a specific exercise to be undertaken at one particular time but an overarching persona that needs to be built continuously. The entire hiring experience, from scoping out candidates, accepting applications, etc., to their early days at an organisation, should be planned and mapped out as a single journey.
- It takes time and consistency to build a strong employer brand. It is imperative that leaders understand this upfront so they can set the right expectations for the people leading the employer branding process.
- Potential new hires tend to look up a company’s leadership prior to applying for a job opportunity. A credible and effective thought leadership position can be achieved by using different communication channels such as social media, press coverage, public speaking forums.
- Encouraging employees to gain from the organisation’s learning initiatives and sharing their experiences with potential new hires is a great way to demonstrate a strong employer brand and establish trust and credibility.
We hope this blog has sparked some thoughts on how to go about building and nurturing a solid employer brand. Building a strong brand is vital to keeping your hiring function viable in a market where more organisations compete for skilled talent.