College for America Blog

4 Employer Branding Essentials to Close Your Talent Gaps


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Posted In: Workforce Insight

Apr • 5 • 2019

4 Employer Branding Essentials to Close Your Talent Gaps

Idea in brief:
Strong employer branding is critical in a tight talent market, and savvy employers are taking measures to improve it.

Just as a strong corporate brand can help an organization stand out to consumers, good employer branding can showcase a company as a desirable place to work. According to Glassdoor research, 69% of job seekers were more likely to apply for a position if the employer actively manages its talent brand.

In an increasingly competitive talent market, understanding the employer branding story you’re telling is important. Among professional services firms responding to the Hinge 2017 Employer Brand Study, 56% said that recruiting and attracting top talent was one of the largest issues they’re faced with today, while 43% agreed that reducing staff turnover and retaining talent was an issue for them.

Reviews on job search sites like Glassdoor, social media posts, traditional media articles and word of mouth all influence how potential employees see a company’s employer brand. As with the corporate brand, some things are impossible to control. But there are also very clear things organizations can do to establish a strong employer brand.

1. Offer the working conditions employees are actually looking for

A competitive salary is important, but getting top dollar doesn’t always top the list for potential employees. In the Hinge survey above, respondents listed both “working with a growing firm” and “having the option to work remotely/telecommute” as more important than “getting the top salary available in the marketplace.”

The survey also analyzed the gap between what talent evaluators believed candidates consider and what candidates actually consider. The three most underestimated areas were:

  • Office location/commute distance
  • Ability for remote work/telecommuting
  • Benefits

Candidates are clearly putting more emphasis on work flexibility and convenience than employers assume, which means that highlighting those things in your own company is low-hanging fruit for creating a strong employer brand.

Listen to what prospects actually want out of their jobs, then put that front and center when telling your employer brand story.

2. Give your employees opportunities to learn

Whether or not a company provides good training is an increasingly important factor for job seekers, according to the Randstad Employer Brand Research 2017 survey. It ranked as the number 8 factor, with 28% of survey respondents agreeing it was important, up from 24% in 2014. (North American respondents especially tended to take good training opportunities into consideration when compared to other areas of the world.)

A 2016 Gallup poll showed that nearly 60% of millennials said career development was extremely important when applying for a job. Another survey by Manpower similarly showed that learning opportunities are a huge differentiator among millennial job applicants.

Those learning opportunities can include continuing education credits, tuition reimbursement programs, microcredentials and other learning and development initiatives designed to help employees improve their skills and make progress along their chosen career path.

3. Be a brand that makes a difference

Job satisfaction is more than what an individual person gets out of the job. Job candidates also want to feel good about the company they’re considering working for.

An emphasis on community social responsibility (CSR) can improve your reputation not only with your current employees and consumers, but with potential recruits.

One organization with an emphasis on community social responsibility is Walgreens, which gives back to its community through initiatives like Red Nose Day, the Get a Shot, Give a Shot campaign and their new Helping Veterans with Educational and Retail Opportunities (HERO) program. These types of CSR initiatives make them an employer of choice.

4. Empower your employees to be employer brand advocates

The other part of employer branding is getting the story out about your flexible work options, learning opportunities and CSR initiatives. This is especially critical when it comes to attracting passive candidates who may not be actively searching for a job.

Your employees are already talking about your brand in person with their colleagues and on social media, and potential candidates give those personal stories greater weight than the official story your organization is telling. And for many, social media discussions feel more authentic.

For example, when researchers for the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer Study asked respondents which was more believable — a company’s advertising in traditional media or its social media — 62% said social media versus 38% who chose advertising.

That’s why companies like Cisco are trying to tell a more authentic story about their employer brand by handing over corporate social media channels like Snapchat to their employees.

Further reading: 4 Learning and Development Drivers for High-Performance Organizations

Take control of your employer branding

To remain competitive in today’s war for talent, employers need to redouble efforts to attract top talent through their employer brand. A story is already being told about what it’s like to work for your company. It’s more important than ever to actively shape and share that story.

Contact us to learn more about how SNHU works with employers to create effective learning opportunities for working adults.