Employer Branding: What Companies Need To Know

  | 7 min read
Employer branding

The Ultimate Guide to Employer Branding

Ask a few people in your office, what is it like working at Google. They will probably reply with words like innovative, collaborative, fun or free lunch. But chances are, those colleagues of yours have never worked for Google. This is the power of an employer brand. Reputation precedes the experience.

An employer brand is the market perception of what it’s like to work for a company. It’s your value proposition to your employees. It’s critical to not only recruiting top talent but retaining it. Key message: It’s central to business success. But you already know this. What can you do to make your employer brand stand out from the competition?

Define your Employee Value Proposition

Ask yourself the question; What does it mean to work here? The answer is your employee value proposition (EVP). The key traits you would like associated with your company as an employer. These attributes should differentiate your organisation from other employers. It should be relevant, distinctive and most importantly true.

Be clear about what you stand for: Define and actively communicate your company’s mission, vision and values. Let’s take a look at Starbucks as a case study. Starbucks don’t just sell coffee; its mission is to: ‘To inspire and nurture the human spirit — one person, one cup, and one neighbourhood at a time.”

This is supported by its values:

  • Creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome.
  • Acting with courage, challenging the status quo and finding new ways to grow our company and each other.
  • Being present, connecting with transparency, dignity, and respect.
  • Delivering our very best in all we do, holding ourselves accountable for results.
  • We are performance driven, through the lens of humanity.

Assess your current employer brand

Truthfully ask yourself; do you walk your talk? Is the image that your prospective, current and past employees in line with your desired employee value proposition? Or is there a different reality of employment experience at your company?

To collect high-level insights, there are easy questions you can ask:

  • The self-assessment: Why did you join the organisation? What do you enjoy about working there?
  • The employee check: Do you get employee referrals? What do employees tell their friends about working for your company?
  • The candidate survey: During interviews ask candidates why they want to work for your company. Do they mention anything about your company culture or work environment?
  • The logo test: On your employer branding materials, if you cover the company logo and ignore the brand name. Look at the images and read the text. Could it be any number of companies or is it clearly a unique company with a strong culture.

These initial insights will be your guide and you go deeper into assessing employee ‘touch points’. Your organisation’s way of recruiting and managing people. If your EVP is not lived in its actions, the effectiveness of any employer branding initiatives will be less than none.

Employer branding

Image source: brettminchington.com

The Employer Brand Excellence Framework is a great guide on the areas to critically assess. Follow it and you will ask questions about your company’s leadership style, performance management policies, recruitment processes and other critical touch points. This will allow you to identify any gaps between employer brand thinking and practice.

Finally, for effective employer brand analysis, you should discuss and agree upon with key stakeholders KPIs you will track on an ongoing basis to assess how your company is developing its employer brand. They may include but are not limited to these top 10 pointers:

  1. Employee turnover
  2. Employee happiness scores
  3. Cost per hire
  4. Average job applicants per advertised role
  5. Average time to fill open roles
  6. Session on career website page
  7. Average number of training hours per employee
  8. Tone of voice when employer brand in mentioned online
  9. Performance review scores
  10. Revenue per FTE

Measuring KPIs will keep the benefits of strong employer brand top of mind and allow you to continually improve.

Strengthen your employer brand

Go take your marketing manager out for lunch. Ask them questions like; how do they build the company brand? What channels do they use? What tactics do they employ? How well do those initiatives work for connecting with people? Take that inspiration and apply it to your employer branding.

No lunch money? No problem. Here are 5 tactics to get you started:

  1. Employee advocacy

You know this is true: People are far more likely to trust a company based on what its employees have to say than on its recruitment advertising. And the rise of social media has made people thoughts on brands more transparent.

Attracting talent relies more heavily on employee advocacy. Do your employees’ social media profiles publically recognise they work for your brand? Do your employees refer friends for open roles? What are your employees saying publically about working for your brand? People talk about what they like, inspire your employees to talk about your organisation.

  1. Partner for trust

When you think about it, you will see employer brand partnership opportunities around every corner. To get the creative juices flowing, why not consider:

  • Becoming a member of trusted industry organisation.
  • Enrol your company for employer of the year awards.
  • Open your offices to a journalist to review your employer brand – you’re probably wondering who you could contact to help build your brand to potential job seekers, you’re reading the blog of one such partner right now. Send us a message on LinkedIn or Twitter.
  1. Engage in corporate social responsibility

If there is one accurate stereotype about millennials, it’s that the tend to care more about what impact their employer has on the world around them. In fact, a survey by Cone Communications found that 62% are willing to take a pay cut in order to work for a socially responsible company, and two-thirds will promote CSR activities on social media. This is the generation who are or soon will be your cornerstone employees. It’s time to put your money where your mouth is when it comes to your values. Budget tight, then you can also consider foster opportunities for employees to give back at work.

  1. Create employer branding communication spaces

If you don’t already have a careers page on your website, get one! If you do, when was it last updated? What about social media pages dedicated to sharing what it’s like to work for your brand? You need digital spaces to communicate why it’s great to work for your company. Where your employees can be advocates. Pro tip: Feature your actual employees is your branding materials.

  1. Be visible to jobseeker

Be seen on Kenya’s leading career website. You probably already use our job ad services. But we take supporting your employer branding seriously, so have just released dedicated Employer Pages.

So now you know what to do. Define how you’d like to be seen as a compelling Employee Value Proposition. Evaluate your current employer brand awareness and reputation against that goal, making changes in company culture where needed. Then communicate by any and all impactful channels to share with the world what it’s like to work for you.


Jessica Stiles


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