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Employer Branding: What Companies Need To Know

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.

How Great Recruitment and HR Practices Help Build A Brand

Corporate branding remains the backbone holding up any great company that you can think of. Building a strong corporate image can be tough but it is worth it. However, seemingly minor mistakes may bring down a successful corporate brand if not handled properly. The devil is always in the details.

Build a great brand through simple HR practices

For most business owners, recruiting the right people and implementing good HR practices is all about the bottom line, i.e. about how these new employees will perform. And while remains the main reason why you want to do great recruitment and HR, in the modern world, being a smart employer is also a way to build a brand and promote it.

Consider this, many job seekers often have a list of companies that they would like to work for. This is driven by the brand’s reputation which makes it so attractive to job seekers and customers. Employees are brand ambassadors so, when you treat them right, they will be proud to work for you and sell your brand. You might want to be a smart employer if that marketing budget is giving to shivers.

Here is how you can build a great brand through great recruitment and HR practices.

Skills and great performance

skills

At the core of every great brand is the performance. The Nike swoosh, perhaps the most famous branding element in history, would be nothing if Nike didn’t make above-average sneakers and athletic equipment. The same goes for service providers. Brands need to deliver on their promises in order to become something more than just a fleeting phenomenon.

In order to deliver, every company will need as many great employees and the way to get them is through recruiting. This is really the most obvious and direct way in which good recruiting builds a brand – through an employee base which will do great work and stay with the company. Of course, it is the job of the HR to keep such great employees happy to contribute to the brand, as well as stay with the company.

A great example of this is Starbucks, a company that grew into one of the world’s most recognizable brands through smart HR practices and keeping their people happy. Grow your brand by recruiting the right people and keeping them happy and you will never have to worry about your brand’s growth. Like Richard Branson always says “Take care of your employees and they will take care of your customers.”

At the same time, create growth opportunities and help employees achieve their goals. They will stay motivated and keep performing well. It is not enough to bring on board the best if you are not willing to create growth opportunities. Motivated employees constantly improve their performance and are proud of the brand.

Brand ambassadors

ambasador

Everywhere you look these days, you will hear and read about brand ambassadors being an essential part of the brand experience and there is definitely something to it. Brand ambassadors are people who are so engaged with a company’s brand that they cannot help but do everything in their power to spread the good word about it.

In the beginning, brand ambassadors were genuine, “natural” ones who promoted certain brands because they liked them and because they wanted the world to know about them. Over time, like everything else, brand ambassadors turned into a profession, with people effectively selling their (mainly online) influence to promote a certain brand.

Today, as most leading brand developers will agree, the best brand ambassadors for any company will be its employees. Since most people are online 24/7 these days, it is highly likely that they will talk about their jobs too. If they work for someone who they like and if their jobs are enjoyable, they will present such a company in a positive light to other people.

If you do your recruitment the smart way and identify the people who will not only be perfect for the position but also involved with the brand, you will be hiring yourself more than just workers. They will be people who will promote your brand too. Their passion and commitment to the brand will endear your brand to clients and help you grow. Your employees represent your brand so if they are not happy, your customers will not be happy and you are headed for bad days.

The importance of doing good

do good

Millennials have long become the most important market for most companies and their brands. One of the things millennials are really serious about is the wish to make the world a better place, either through charity or social programs that are envisioned to help the less fortunate.

As a result, every brand that wishes to become successful with millennials needs to convey a message that they are involved too. In recruitment, this should entail hiring a diverse staff or getting involved in equal employment programs. In addition, this might include making social and environment awareness one of the subjects that are touched upon during the interview process.

When HR is in question, it is a well-known fact that the HR people are usually responsible for organizing various charity events and initiatives in their companies. With a bit of marketing savvy, these initiatives can become another way of promoting your brand. The catch is, your brand must sincerely want to do good otherwise, insincerity can bring you down and millennials will not want to be associated with you.

Listen to your employees

Listening

When recruiting, the HR asks potential a set of questions to ascertain how well the candidate’s skills match the job and how well the person fits within the company’s culture. The recruitment process should help you get the best employees who will not only do a good job but also fit within the organization’s culture so that they can work comfortably.

In the same breadth, the management must be willing to listen to employees. A listening employer comes across as being caring and approachable, something that makes employees not feel like robots. They want to contribute to the company’s growth and this gives them ownership of the brand. When employees take ownership, they will most likely promote the brand and drive growth through personal efforts.

Closing Word

In short, one must never forget about their brand when recruiting or handling human resources within their company. In fact, these might become branding tools that will help a company rise above the competition. It will also cut your recruitment budget as you will be able to keep the best on board.

All it takes is a bit of care.

What Job Seekers Need to Know About Company Branding

Employer branding and the digital era

One of the best ways for a job seeker to increase their chances of getting employed is to learn about what employers are looking for in candidates and how they approach hiring new people. Over the last twenty years, employer branding has become a big part of the way employers approach the job market and a truly savvy job seeker will know how to use this to his or her advantage. Today, we will be talking about how employers do employer branding and how learning about it can help you land your dream job.

The Basics of Company Branding

Employer branding is a practice where companies present themselves as fantastic places to work. They promote all of the great things about themselves that will attract as many candidates as possible and increase their chances of landing genuine top talent.

For example, when a company features a post on their blog about the latest company teambuilding outing where everyone had a great time, that’s employer branding. They are showing their potential employees what is waiting for them if they become part of the organisation.

This is mostly done by companies in highly competitive industries such as software development, cloud computing, data analytics and such, where the number of qualified candidates is very low and yet, it is crucial to attract the best job seekers out there. They are not the only ones doing it, however. Companies from other industries have started doing it as well, recognising the importance of having the best people working for them.

How Do They Do It?

The first step towards learning about employer branding is knowing how to recognise it and in order to be able to do so, you need to know what it is that companies do as part of their employer branding efforts.

Today, the majority of companies do their employer branding online since it is affordable and can be very effective. For instance, they will create a fantastic Meet the Team page where they will show off their team and their fancy offices. Their blog will be full of stories from company outings and stories written by their employees. They will also use social media to show off and let you know how great it is to work for them.

These companies will also be present on various job search websites and other places, managing their employer reputation and making sure to respond to every bad word their former employees may write about them.

They will be present at job fairs and their brochures will always be the best out there. In addition to this, they might organise charities and local events where their employees will be present and where the company in question will show it is dedicated to helping the community, by getting their employees involved.

Behind the scenes, employers will be using a lot of data analytics and research where they will use paid surveys and other data sources to find out how they are perceived as an employer and what their potential employees think of them.

What This Means For The Job Seeker

Once you identify a company that does employer branding, there are a few ways in which you can use this knowledge to your benefit.

For one, if the company is doing employer branding, this means they are very serious about their hiring and they are only looking for the most serious candidates. This is why you should always approach applying to their job ads with utmost commitment and seriousness. Your CV will have to be in tip-top shape and you will have to prepare for the interview like never before.

You should also raise your expectations when you apply for such a company. If you reach the interview stage, make sure to let them know you expect them to be the employer they paint themselves to be. If they boast amazing benefits and chances for promotion, make sure to inquire about it during your interview stage. Let them know that you are serious about working for them and that you expect them to deliver on their promises.

Most job seekers make the mistake of limiting their expectations so that they do not seem like they are taking advantage of the company’s reputation but it is perfectly fine to expect the company to hold up its promises. Demonstrate that you are just as serious as the company is because you are bringing your A-game on board.

By examining what they put forward on their website, their blog and through their other employer branding efforts, you will be able to learn a lot about them as a company. For example, if they organised a charity event aimed at helping the local hospital, you can mention that you are also involved in similar charities during your interview. If the company has an amateur football team that they write about on their blog, maybe mention you are good at it.

The point is, demonstrate that you hold similar values to those of the company and that you can fit in very well within the culture. At the end of the day, companies also want to recruit people who can fit into their cultures so that they do not feel out of place when required to participate in certain activities.

A Word of Warning

We feel it would be very remiss of us not to mention another possibility, and this time a negative one. Namely, there are some companies that do employer branding because their past practices have garnered them a poor reputation among professionals. Their past employees do not have anything good to say about them and their employer branding is more damage control than anything else.

This is why you always need to do your research properly if you suspect a company is doing employer branding. Do a bit of Googling. If you notice any red flags, approach the people who raised them and find out what happened. This is the digital era and everyone is trying to paint a good picture about themselves so sometimes, you have to dig a little deeper to ensure that what is said is what is done.

Employer branding has become an inseparable part of the job market and most people think job seekers do not have to worry about it. As you can see, job seekers can gain a lot by learning about employer branding and the ways in which their potential employers might be using it.

In the end, it is all about landing that perfect job.

Corporate Branding Fails You Can Avoid

While corporate and personal branding initiatives are often well-planned activities, sometimes, even the best plans fail. Other times, crises occur and if not handled properly, they lead to major corporate branding fails.

A PR failure is every company’s nightmare, especially in the connected internet age. From United Airlines to Pepsi, corporate branding fails can hit giants as well. Here is a list of some of the biggest fails involving prominent brands.

  1. United Airlines

United Airlines

In April 2017, United Airlines, a low-budget airline operating across the world, found itself in the middle of a PR storm. A video emerged online of a passenger being forcefully evicted from the overbooked airline so as to make room for the airline’s members of staff, who were to be on standby. After the video was posted online, the company’s CEO made the mistake of issuing an apology that was not really an apology, seemingly pushing the blame on the passenger, despite the obvious mistake of having the flight overbooked. After intense online pressure, boycott threats, and a drop in the company’s stocks, the CEO finally issued the appropriate apology saying, “We have committed to our customers and our employees that we are going to fix what’s broken so this never happens again.”

Lesson learnt: In today’s interconnected age, it is best to take your time to issue a statement than to issue a wrong statement. Even if you are doing what a leader should do by protecting your staff members, showing sensitivity to customers still counts.

  1.  Korean Air

Korean Air

Sometimes, branding fails can manifest themselves through seemingly well-thought-out advertisements. An advert can either sell your brand or leave you with egg on your face, depending on how your message is crafted. In June 2012, Korean Air found itself in trouble with an advert, which claimed that Kenyans are primitive while announcing the exciting news of direct flights being launched to Kenya. The offensive advert read, “Fly to Nairobi with Korean Air and enjoy the grand African savanna, the safari tour, and the indigenous people full of primitive energy.” Well, the ‘primitive energy’ part did not go down well with Kenyans online, who used Twitter to express their displeasure. Thankfully, the airline pulled down the advert and published a sincere apology through its Twitter handle.

Lesson learnt: Brands ought to craft their messages properly, taking into account the socio-cultural aspects of the society, otherwise, what may seem like the ultimate punchline may end up being the ignition of a huge PR storm.

  1. Adidas

Adidas

A critical part of advertising is to be aware of the tone and the context. Well, Adidas learnt this the hard way, after sending an email whose subject line read, “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!?” The email was sent to participants of the Boston Marathon and while it was meant to be humorous, it turned out to be a bitter pill as this was sent some 4 years after a bombing at the finishing line of the Boston Marathon. Thankfully, the company quickly issued an apology for their insensitivity, saving them a potential PR storm.

Lesson learnt: Don’t push the joke too far.

  1. Pepsi

Pepsi

It is always refreshing when brands join popular movements as part of their socio-cultural awareness efforts. However, this has to be done right or else, they, like Pepsi, learn that the devil lies in the details. Earlier on in the year, Pepsi released an advert featuring Kendall Jenner. In the advert, the company meant to stand with protesters of the Black Lives Matter Movement. In the advert, she walks away from a photo shoot to hand over a Pepsi to a police manning the protests. Well, netizens were not pleased with the advert, which was criticized for being insensitive to the issue at hand. Pepsi later pulled down the advert and issued an apology.

Lesson learnt: It is important to be involved in social issues of the moment but the involvement should be culturally appropriate.

  1. Dove

Dove beauty products

Dove has been trying to market its brands as being suitable for people from all races. Only that this message comes across as being racist. In a series of ads run on social media, the company shows ‘before’ photos of black women and ‘after’ images of white women. Well, this has not gone down well with many people especially on social media, where the ads have been criticised for being racist. Dove recently issued a statement claiming that the intention was to indicate that the products cut across all races but people are having none of it.

Lesson learnt: Tone-deaf ads will not fly even with the best explanation. It is best to simply create ads which do not have racial or in our case, tribal undertones in them.

How Great Recruitment and HR Practices Help Build A Brand

Corporate branding remains the backbone holding up any great company that you can think of. Building a strong corporate image can be tough but it is worth it. However, seemingly minor mistakes may bring down a successful corporate brand if not handled properly. The devil is always in the details.

Build a great brand through simple HR practices

For most business owners, recruiting the right people and implementing good HR practices is all about the bottom line, i.e. about how these new employees will perform. And while remains the main reason why you want to do great recruitment and HR, in the modern world, being a smart employer is also a way to build a brand and promote it.

Consider this, many job seekers often have a list of companies that they would like to work for. This is driven by the brand’s reputation which makes it so attractive to job seekers and customers. Employees are brand ambassadors so, when you treat them right, they will be proud to work for you and sell your brand. You might want to be a smart employer if that marketing budget is giving to shivers.

Here is how you can build a great brand through great recruitment and HR practices.

Skills and great performance

skills

At the core of every great brand is the performance. The Nike swoosh, perhaps the most famous branding element in history, would be nothing if Nike didn’t make above-average sneakers and athletic equipment. The same goes for service providers. Brands need to deliver on their promises in order to become something more than just a fleeting phenomenon.

In order to deliver, every company will need as many great employees and the way to get them is through recruiting. This is really the most obvious and direct way in which good recruiting builds a brand – through an employee base which will do great work and stay with the company. Of course, it is the job of the HR to keep such great employees happy to contribute to the brand, as well as stay with the company.

A great example of this is Starbucks, a company that grew into one of the world’s most recognizable brands through smart HR practices and keeping their people happy. Grow your brand by recruiting the right people and keeping them happy and you will never have to worry about your brand’s growth. Like Richard Branson always says “Take care of your employees and they will take care of your customers.”

At the same time, create growth opportunities and help employees achieve their goals. They will stay motivated and keep performing well. It is not enough to bring on board the best if you are not willing to create growth opportunities. Motivated employees constantly improve their performance and are proud of the brand.

Brand ambassadors

ambasador

Everywhere you look these days, you will hear and read about brand ambassadors being an essential part of the brand experience and there is definitely something to it. Brand ambassadors are people who are so engaged with a company’s brand that they cannot help but do everything in their power to spread the good word about it.

In the beginning, brand ambassadors were genuine, “natural” ones who promoted certain brands because they liked them and because they wanted the world to know about them. Over time, like everything else, brand ambassadors turned into a profession, with people effectively selling their (mainly online) influence to promote a certain brand.

Today, as most leading brand developers will agree, the best brand ambassadors for any company will be its employees. Since most people are online 24/7 these days, it is highly likely that they will talk about their jobs too. If they work for someone who they like and if their jobs are enjoyable, they will present such a company in a positive light to other people.

If you do your recruitment the smart way and identify the people who will not only be perfect for the position but also involved with the brand, you will be hiring yourself more than just workers. They will be people who will promote your brand too. Their passion and commitment to the brand will endear your brand to clients and help you grow. Your employees represent your brand so if they are not happy, your customers will not be happy and you are headed for bad days.

The importance of doing good

do good

Millennials have long become the most important market for most companies and their brands. One of the things millennials are really serious about is the wish to make the world a better place, either through charity or social programs that are envisioned to help the less fortunate.

As a result, every brand that wishes to become successful with millennials needs to convey a message that they are involved too. In recruitment, this should entail hiring a diverse staff or getting involved in equal employment programs. In addition, this might include making social and environment awareness one of the subjects that are touched upon during the interview process.

When HR is in question, it is a well-known fact that the HR people are usually responsible for organizing various charity events and initiatives in their companies. With a bit of marketing savvy, these initiatives can become another way of promoting your brand. The catch is, your brand must sincerely want to do good otherwise, insincerity can bring you down and millennials will not want to be associated with you.

Listen to your employees

Listening

When recruiting, the HR asks potential a set of questions to ascertain how well the candidate’s skills match the job and how well the person fits within the company’s culture. The recruitment process should help you get the best employees who will not only do a good job but also fit within the organization’s culture so that they can work comfortably.

In the same breadth, the management must be willing to listen to employees. A listening employer comes across as being caring and approachable, something that makes employees not feel like robots. They want to contribute to the company’s growth and this gives them ownership of the brand. When employees take ownership, they will most likely promote the brand and drive growth through personal efforts.

Closing Word

In short, one must never forget about their brand when recruiting or handling human resources within their company. In fact, these might become branding tools that will help a company rise above the competition. It will also cut your recruitment budget as you will be able to keep the best on board.

All it takes is a bit of care.

WRITTEN BY
Jessica Stiles
Notification Bell