In today’s competitive market, building a strong employer brand is crucial for fast-growing tech companies to attract and retain top talent. Data shows that candidates want to work for companies that align with their values, offer opportunities for growth and development, and provide a positive work environment. This is often where employer branding comes into play.
The best employers take a strategic approach to creating a unique identity and reputation for their company as a great place to work. A strong employer brand can make all the difference in attracting the best and brightest talent to your team.
What is Employer Branding?
So, what exactly is employer branding? In short, it’s the process of defining and promoting your company’s unique identity, culture, and values to create a positive image in the minds of job seekers and employees. It encompasses everything from your company’s mission and values to the way you communicate with potential and current employees. The ultimate goal of employer branding is to attract top talent, retain your current employees, and create a positive image of your company that resonates with all stakeholders.
Why is Employer Branding Important?
For starters, it can help companies stand out from the competition and attract top talent. A strong employer brand can also reduce turnover rates and improve employee engagement. According to data from LinkedIn, companies with strong employer brands see a 50% reduction in cost-per-hire and a 28% reduction in turnover rates.
If you are intentional about your employer brand, you can become a magnet for the talent who will help take your company to the next level—while also building up your company culture and retaining your existing team members.
Employer Brand Strategy
So, how can companies grow their employer brand? It all starts with a clear employer branding strategy. This strategy should outline your company’s mission and values, employee value proposition, target audience, messaging, and channels for communication. Then, you can jump into tactics to grow your employer brand.
For example, one approach to building a strong employer brand is to create a positive candidate experience. This includes differentiating yourself from the competition and showcasing your unique culture and values. It can also be helpful to create a messaging framework that outlines the key messages that you’ll communicate to candidates in your talent pipeline.
Here are 16 ways top leaders have built a successful employer brand strategy:
1. Create a people-first environment
At OneCause, we’ve reexamined how our teams gather, collaborate, and work. We believe the future is a people-first environment that fosters engagement, productivity, team development, and growth. So we focus on inclusion (practices that make everyone feel included), engagement (environments that promote involvement), impact (focus on Impact vs Output), mobility & flexibility (work from anywhere opportunities), and intentionality (practices that seamlessly connect work from home and work in-office).
Steve Johns, CEO at OneCause
2. Invest in your team
The reality is that employer brand can be fluff with no substance. Our goal has always been to focus more on creating dignity in work for our team and to serve our clients in ways that create value. Our customers are so important, but we believe investment first in our team leads to the best customer outcomes as a result.
Jackson Troxel, VP of Sales + Marketing at Multiply
3. Focus on professional development
Having a growth mindset is a core tenant of Elevate Ventures. We encourage lifelong learning and challenge each other to become experts in our focus areas. Professional development is built in everyone’s goals. This intentionality towards continuous learning has allowed us to attract and retain top talent by offering a platform for them to challenge themselves and grow. The results have led to year-over-year growth in investments and impact.
Jacob Schpok, Partner at Elevate Ventures
4. Use AI technology in your recruitment process
As part of our efforts to strengthen and grow our employer brand in 2023, we’ll be pioneering the use of AI technology by integrating real-time feedback from employee surveys into our recruitment process. This technology will allow us to open up job postings to applicants from a larger, more diverse pool of talented individuals who may have otherwise been overlooked during the hiring process.
By utilizing this unprecedented insight into potential candidates, we can make better decisions about which employees are best-suited for available roles and create an even more dynamic work environment than we could ever achieve before.
Michael Alexis, CEO, swag.org
5. Grow your brand by identifying personas
There is an old saying that “quality is better than quantity,” so we are focusing on growing our employer brand with the candidates that we feel are the best fit and will do this through identifying personas. Just like in marketing your products and services, if you don’t reach your target audience, casting the widest net will not guarantee that you will bring in additional customers.
Therefore, spending time to identify individuals who have factors such as the right expertise, transferable skills, applicable education, as well as a strong online presence, are the qualities we wish to pinpoint and showcase our opportunities to. In identifying specific candidate personas, we look to grow our brand with a specific target audience rather than just watering down our message to reach the masses.
David Derigiotis, CIO, Embroker
6. Encourage staff engagement through video social posts
If there is one thing that reflects positivity in an organization, it is telling the stories of the team that makes that organization up. What better way to grow an employer brand than letting the employees who work there already shout up about it in their own way?
So, alongside our own company posts, we will be encouraging our staff to post across whichever social media channel works for them. You can’t force this; it needs to come naturally. But if your organization is a positive place in which to work, many people will jump at the opportunity.
Video also helps tell a story about a business in a way that is much richer and more engaging. So, we will be investing in more video content focusing on our staff in 2023.
Ben Foster, CEO, The SEO Works
7. Invest in thought leadership
One way I am growing my employer brand is through thought leadership. I believe that by positioning ourselves as experts in our industry and sharing our insights and perspectives on important issues, we can establish ourselves as a go-to source for information and ideas. This can help to attract top talent and establish our brand as one that is innovative, forward-thinking, and a leader in our field. Therefore, I’m actively working on creating and sharing valuable content, such as industry insights, whitepapers, and research reports, as well as participating in relevant industry events and webinars.
Shaun Connell, Founder, Writing Tips Institute
8. Be present where it matters
In my opinion, to recruit top talent, we must extend a warm invitation to potential members of our community, asking them to share our vision and work with us to build our company’s future.
We’re not just searching for people with the right set of skills; we want people who can contribute, nurture, and expand the efficacy of our organization through their unique perspectives, experiences, and knowledge.
It’s important to get your name out there in places where a wide variety of potential employees hang out and can see it. Underrepresented groups, different age groups (colleges, universities), and areas outside of your office’s location are just a few suggestions for expanding your brand’s reach.
If you carefully consider the platforms through which you share your company’s story and value, you can increase both your brand’s visibility and the caliber of the people you recruit to work for you.
Daniel Foley, Founder, Daniel Foley Consultancy
9. Improve your onboarding process
In 2023, I plan to focus on improving our onboarding program. Onboarding is an essential part of any employer brand, as it can make all the difference when making a new hire feel welcome and excited to join the team.
To ensure that the onboarding experience yields positive results, I’ll be working with my HR team to design an effective process. We plan to study best practices in the industry and apply them to strengthen our job offers and create an enjoyable transition for new hires. This way, we are communicating our values as a company even before someone starts work and creating an environment of openness and respect from the beginning.
Rosmy Barrios, Director, Health Reporter
10. Use referral programs
One of the most effective ways to grow an employer brand is to use a referral program. The most powerful tool of marketing is no other than word of mouth, as it helps someone from the inside who experiences the company firsthand speak on behalf of the company and become a brand or company advocate. This is one of the best forms of advertising, as it doesn’t have room for bent truths or false advertising and just speaks about truth, facts, and actual results, making the results impeccable.
Denise Hemke, Chief Product Officer, Checkr
11. Encourage employees to build personal brands
We had a lot of success with employee advocacy in 2022, and we’re building on it in 2023! We’re encouraging all employees to build personal brands on social media, by demonstrating the value to our employer brand, as well as their own career development.
While this may seem obvious to employees in marketing and sales, those in other areas of business may need extra support and motivation. The key for us is not to force it; we don’t want employee advocacy to seem like an extra work task.
Emily Neal, SEO and Content Specialist, DSMN8
12. Listen and learn from employee feedback
As a company, we use a customer intimacy strategy in every facet, from hiring to keeping existing employees. When we take the time to get to know our customers, employees, and potential new business partners through open dialogue and the sharing of information, we are better able to deliver on their needs and set ourselves apart from the competition.
All of our current staff members joined our company for various reasons, and they all stay for many more. Prospective employees will be able to identify with their reasons for wanting to work here, whether it be due to the stimulating nature of the work itself, the possibility of professional development, the company culture, etc.
We can improve as a company and forge stronger bonds with our audience by asking questions and listening to their responses about the qualities they look for in a workplace.
Zephyr Chan, Founder and growth marketer, Living The Good Life
13. Develop culture through employee development
As we move into 2023 and beyond, the employer brand of many organizations will become increasingly important. To foster this growth and help create a long-term, sustainable branding strategy, one thing organizations should prioritize is cultivating their corporate culture through employee development initiatives like team-building retreats and professional workshops. These activities not only help to create a sense of community, but also highlight the organization’s commitment to improving its workers’ skill sets.
Grace He, People and Culture Director, teambuilding.com
14. Put your beliefs into practice
In my opinion, the previous years have caused a dramatic shift in how people approach their employment. People increasingly want to feel like their work makes a difference. Among younger generations, this change toward bringing one’s complete self to one’s work was already a notable tendency prior to the epidemic, but it has escalated in the last couple of years.
People would rather work for a company whose beliefs are put into practice rather than just spoken about. If you want to hire the most dedicated, enthusiastic workers, look for a company that not only talks the talk but walks the walk.
Talking the talk is fine as long as you’re also living the walk, so don’t be afraid to brag about your good deeds.
Timothy Allen, Sr. Corporate Investigator, Corporate Investigation Consulting
15. Offer unique and exciting benefits
My strategy to grow my brand as an employer is to offer unique and exciting benefits. Of course, I offer the usual benefits – medical and retirement savings. However, we’ve included some extras this year and included them in our job listing advertising for maximum impact. We’re paying for our employees’ gym memberships to promote physical and mental health, and have also included a healthy meal stipend to encourage healthy lunches in the workplace.
Hitesh Gupta, Dentist, The Smile Factory
16. Creating a culture of inclusion & belonging
By 2023, we are aiming to further grow our employer brand by creating a culture of inclusion and belonging that values diversity. We want to create an environment where everyone can bring their whole selves to work and feel accepted and valued for who they are. To accomplish this, we plan on implementing several initiatives such as increasing the representation of minorities at all levels of the organization and providing comprehensive training to our leadership on unconscious bias. Additionally, we are creating programs that provide mentorship opportunities for employees regardless of their backgrounds or demographics. We also plan on launching a global diversity and inclusion network that will allow us to better connect with diverse communities and learn from them.
Mark McShane, Marketing Director, Birmingham First Aid Courses
In conclusion, building a strong employer brand is crucial for companies looking to attract and retain top talent. By developing a clear employer branding strategy and utilizing platforms like LinkedIn, companies can stand out from the competition and create a positive image in the minds of job seekers, employees, customers, and investors.
We hope these employer branding tips from the community will help you attract and retain talent that will help take your company to the next level!
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