Complete Guide to Employer Branding with Strategies from Top Brands

CoachHub · 18 November 2021 · 13 min read

At the center of every successful organization is a talented and leadership-driven workforce. In today’s volatile markets and globally connected communities, finding and retaining the best candidates in your workforce is an ever-growing challenge. Large salaries and other old incentives of leveraging high potential employees are becoming outdated.

Modern talent now demands a great employer brand that focuses on well-being and career-building opportunities. To attract and retain the talent you need to drive your company forward, it’s necessary to build a reputation as a great place to work.

This is why we have compiled this easy guide, using tips from the best employer brands, to guide founders, talent managers and HR professionals in large international companies on how to build a strong employer brand.

The Basics of Employer Branding

What is an employer brand?

Your organization has an employer brand, whether it is actively managed or not. This is the perception of former, current and prospective employees about your organization as an employer and place to work.

Today’s employees have many platforms to communicate their honest and unbiased opinions about your organization’s culture, leadership and management style.

Your Employer Value Proposition is your offer to employees in terms of growth opportunities, work/life balance, and compensation, and your employer brand is built around your EVP.

The importance of employer branding in recruitment

An analytical summary by LinkedIn found that a great employer brand achieves positive bottom-line impacts. Here are a few:

  • 28% reduction in turnover
  • 50% cuts in hiring costs
  • 50% more qualified candidates
  • 1-2 times faster hiring process

A 2019 global research report by Randstad supports these correlations with findings that an astounding 86% of candidates would not consider applying to or working for a company with a bad employer reputation.

There is a lot at stake when you leave your reputation to chance, and while your organization needs a tailor-made EVP, it doesn’t hurt to learn from the best.

10 Great Employer Brand Examples (voted Best Workplaces)

SAP

SAP was the best employer of 2019 with the gold award for “2019 Grand Prix of Employer Brand Management.” As a top enterprise in the telecommunications sector, SAP encourages a wholesome working culture with the motto ‘Bring everything you are. Become everything you want.’ The company delivers its story through an honest and authentic employer brand channel #LifeAtSap.

Salesforce

Salesforce, a tech enterprise with a predominantly Gen – Z workforce, took one of the first place trophies in the 2019 UK’s Best Workplaces Awards. Salesforce provides its employees with a great work/life balance and continuous opportunities to learn. The organization holds a strong culture of feedback and transparency and teaches new employees how to give constructive feedback in a local ‘Feedback App’.

Equal Experts

Equal Experts landed 2nd place in the Best Places to Work 2020 UK list compiled from anonymous Glassdoor reviews. The firm attracts experienced and autonomous candidates with a clear and targeted message on their website’s hiring page. Equal Experts also encourages employees to tackle challenging issues in their craft to make a difference without moving to management positions.

Zappos

Zappos for Good, which provides employees with community service opportunities, and Zappos’ emphasis on a positive relationship amongst colleagues have helped cement its reputation as a good employer. Zappos uses Instagram and Facebook to engage consumers and potential candidates with authentic employee-generated videos on their day-to-day life at work.

Hubspot

Glassdoor recognized Hubspot as one of the best places to work in 2020 thanks to enthusiastic brand ambassadors. The software enterprise has a solid reputation of being supportive, inclusive, and cohesive, emphasizing autonomy and self-development. Hubspot’s employee perks are closely aligned with their hiring values and the extensive development opportunities they provide.

Google

Google has pioneered a lot of research on the working environment and culture, which has highlighted the need for psychological safety in the workplace. As an employer, Google’s employee value proposition includes great job content along with unique career development and personal fulfillment opportunities.

Capital One

Capital One was voted one of 2019’s best places to work by Glassdoor thanks to the company’s strong efforts in creating a no-blame workplace. Capital One’s perks are not cool and quirky, but tried and tested strategies ,such as providing dedicated spaces for wellbeing and developing talent through training programs.

Patagonia

Patagonia maintains a 6% turnover rate, 29% lower than the industry average, thanks to their combination of good values and a great employer reputation. The clothing enterprise offers their employees flexible work schemes for a healthy work/life balance.

Apple

Apple is often quoted as the most preferred workplace by tech talents, with former Apple employees proudly marketing themselves with the brand. Apple’s strong employer brand is built around making a difference and being a leader in innovation. Providing awesome benefits, a great culture and a family atmosphere to its employees have been key to creating a good perception among potential and past employees.

Here is an Effective 7-Step Employer Branding Strategy

Set Actionable Goals

To be effective, your employer branding strategy must be aligned with your organization’s needs to assist you to solve problems and meet targets. While your company has unique goals which need to be included, here are the key points to include:

  • Specific and reasonable targets the organization needs to meet
  • Metrics to measure progress and adjust along the way
  • Trustworthy resources, a content calendar and a timeline
  • Assign roles to the right players and create deadlines

Example: The recruiting team will be responsible for sourcing and hiring three full-stack engineers within the next five months and an additional two developers over the following five months after the company’s budget is refreshed.

Identify your Candidate Persona

A candidate persona represents your ideal candidate, formed by defining the traits and skills that make up your perfect employee. A candidate persona helps talent acquisition> managers and your recruiting team identify the talent that best fits your company in a much more effective way. Additionally, a candidate persona provides insight into the factors that motivate candidates to apply for and accept or deny new job offers.

A candidate persona can help your recruiters:

  • Create more relevant job descriptions and increase applications from suitable candidates
  • Understand the most effective recruiting channels to reach out to your target candidates
  • Align your talent acquisition strategies to draw better talent

To create accurate candidate personas, you need to research, identify trends, and gather your data into personal stories.

Your candidate personas need to be based on actual data from employees, key players in the recruiting team and candidates, and they should cover at least each category in your team.

Begin collecting data from your existing employees, as they have the traits you typically look for in new hires. Ask questions that will give insights into your perfect candidate’s goals, interests, motivations, and skills. Here are a few questions to guide your survey:

  • What do you enjoy the most about your role?
  • What made you decide to apply to this company?
  • What aspects of our culture appeal to you?
  • Which online channels do you enjoy the most?
  • What skills do you believe help you succeed?
  • What are your primary goals?

Discussing with the major stakeholders in the hiring process will give you information into the qualities they would like to see in new hires. Hiring managers and recruiters will give you information on:

  • The specific companies that provide the best hires for your company
  • The skills set of the perfect hires
  • Their level of experience
  • The ideal personal traits of the best candidates
  • Where do they currently work?
  • The typical goals and aspirations of ideal candidates
  • The online channels you can use to interact with them

With the data in hand, the next step is to analyze and look for trends, which will be helpful when you’re creating multiple personas. For example, you may find that successful hires from sales and marketing are very driven and come from Ivy League Universities.

Pull together the research and trends you have observed to create a useful overall profile of your ideal candidate. Here is a good candidate persona to guide you.

Define your employee value proposition

An employee value proposition tells prospective candidates and existing employees what to expect from your company and what you expect from them.

An EVP is crucial for effective onboarding and employee retention, as it helps you articulate what your organization can offer beyond the usual salary and benefits.

For example, HP’s EVP explains what the company offers to employees – leadership development, opportunities and rewards – and what HP expects from its employees – customer focus and drive.

A great EVP is based on feedback from current and potential employees and is optimized towards your organization’s goals.

Surveys, one-on-one interviews, focus groups, and entrance and exit interviews are great ways to gather data. Here are a few guiding questions:

  • Why do current employees choose to work for you?
  • Why existing employees stay?
  • Why they consider your company an ideal workplace?
  • What drew former employees into the organization?
  • Why did former employees choose to leave the organization?
  • How do prospective candidates view you?
  • Which benefits and perks do potential hires value?
  • What do prospective employees expect from an employer?

Quantitative and qualitative analysis will help you make the most of this data to find patterns that provide insights and uncover why certain factors and perks matter more than others.

Example: An enterprise finds that 90% of its employees consider a large salary a vital factor. After deeper analysis, the company discovers that employees aren’t just attracted to a big salary; they also want to provide financial security for their families. In line with this discovery, the company decides to partner with a financial advisor to provide experts who can help their employees work towards financial security. As a bonus, here is an in-depth look at 30 companies that have successfully defined their EVP.

 

Define the candidate touch-points

Before you start working on your employer branding materials, it’s essential to determine your company’s touchpoints. These are the best channels to communicate with potential candidates. Many companies have successfully used a career page and social media channels to give employees an insight into their culture. It would be best if you considered leveraging employee-generated content to gain trust.

Include a plan for employee retention

Working on your employer value proposition with employee retention in mind creates:

  • Better Engagement – asking for feedback from your employees demonstrates that you value their input and creates a more engaged workforce.
  • Higher Profits – An engaged workforce is more effective in meeting its targets, and your business will register more profits.
  • Ambassadors – a team that appreciates the factors that make your organization a great employer is willing to advocate for you in their personal networks.

Develop a plan to Measure the results

A measurement plan will assist your organization to track its progress and make necessary changes along the way. There is a whole range of tools to assist with this, including your company’s Application Tracking Software, web analytics tools and business metrics tools. A good measurement plan touches on:

  • The data that needs to be tracked.
  • How the data will be collected.
  • The frequency of measuring progress.
  • How the data will be analyzed.
  • How insights will be presented to stakeholders.

Improve your application process

 Potential candidates first interact with your company culture during the job application process. Many companies often retain an inaccurate ‘insider’ perception of their application process. To get an outsider perspective, talk with candidates and recent hires to learn about their experience applying for a role at your company. Here are the key questions to include in your interviews:

  • How did your candidates and existing employees find you?
  • Which channels did they use to reach out to you?
  • How did they learn about your company?
  • Which resources would have been beneficial in their job application?
  • What were the key points of communication though the process?

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Actionable Ideas to Improve your Employer Brand(from Top Companies)

Whether you are just getting started or looking to improve your existing employer brand, here are seven ideas from the best employer brands that will be valuable in creating your own.

Leverage Social media

Zappos and SAP connect with their employees through social media channels. Creating an employer brand channel using employee-generated content will show prospective employees what it’s like to work in your company. Create a careers page for your company website to state your organization’s EVP and working culture.

Create a career page on your company website

Tableau and DRW have great career pages. Your company website is one of the major touchpoints for prospective employees; it should provide potential candidates with useful information. Your careers page can communicate to prospective hires through employee testimonials, a list of perks and benefits, and a behind the scenes look at the hiring process.

Include flexibility

SAP provides customisable benefits and a flexible work schedule. Your employees’ benefits should ideally align with their personal and professional needs to help create a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. A flexible schedule is key for a sustainable lifestyle as it allows employees to work at a time and place where they are at their best.

Attract high-potential employees

Equal Experts and Hubspot encourage a culture of autonomy. A pragmatic company culture is central to attracting autonomous high potential individuals. Employees who can work with minimal management create teams that are low on politics, where ideas can be shared openly. High-potential employees with the ability and aspiration for upward career mobility in the company value pragmatism and autonomy and are more likely to seek a role in your company.

Encourage a sense of purpose

Zappos and SAP provide opportunities and time off for volunteering. Encouraging a culture of giving back to the community in your organisation attracts employees who are passionate about their work. Volunteering opportunities also give employees a chance to improve their skills and get a sense of purpose in their roles beyond the office.

Encourage open, honest conversation

Capital One creates a culture of transparency and trust. Your employees will be more willing to share the challenges of your business in an environment where they can give feedback and be heard. Your organisation’s executives need to lead the way with authenticity and take employee feedback into action.

Attract a great millennial workforce

Salesforce provides its employees with flexibility and mobility. Remote working is becoming a reality in the modern workplace. If your company has the internal technology to allow remote collaboration and a millennial workforce, consider letting your employees create a flexible work schedule. Welcome employees to the company’s offices worldwide and provide them with the opportunity to travel and work from anywhere.

Provide corporate training for professional development

Apple and Google providedigital learning platforms forbprofessional development. For your employees to remain relevant and agile, they need ongoing learning. Provide the development tools, corporate training and support that your employees need to develop their careers. A great idea is to create a Corporate University where employees can find the resources they need to improve their skills. Today’s cutting-edge technology allows for innovative training methods such as experiential learning and blended learning. Consider creating an L&D platform that uses a blend of in-person and virtual classroom experiences in addition to self-paced mobile learning resources.

Grow talent through professional coaching

Squarespace develops company talent through professional coaching. Professional coaching is based on the DISC theory that an individual’s personality can be influenced by different situations and environments rather than the MBTI theory that personality is fixed and unlikely to change. DISC vs MBTI tests will allow you to have insights of your team members’ personalities. An effective way to provide coaching to your employees is to partner with a team of professional coaches

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