Whether you know it or not, your organization has an employer brand. Every company that has employees has one whether they spend time developing it or not. Essentially, an employer brand is the ‘personality’ your organization projects to its employees and prospective talent. It’s the reputation your organization has as a workplace, as opposed to the overall reputation your organization has to its customers and general audience.
And it’s important. Really important.
For one thing, having a strong employer brand can save you a lot of money. Harvard Business Review found that companies overspend on salaries by 10% when they have to compensate for a poor reputation. That’s not to mention the loss in prospective talent, which they found reduced by nearly half when organizations had a reputation for lack of job stability, dysfunctional teams, and faulty leadership.
According to Randstad, 96% agree that a crucial component influencing employee satisfaction is how well company values are aligned with employees' personal values. And prospective employees seem to know that since 50% of job seekers would pass over a job with a pay increase if it was at an organization with a poor reputation.
The benefits of actively creating and managing your employer brand are well worth the effort—not to mention the value in avoiding the drawbacks of not doing so.
So, how do you develop a good employer brand?
1. Review your current brand.
Start by talking to your team and taking an internal temperature reading of how your current employees view your organization. Look at employee reviews of your company on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed. Check out our company’s social media and see what language you use around your employees: how you recognize them, engage them, and motivate them.
Take the time to go through your current employee-facing documents like your employee handbook to get a feel for how your organization is already communicating with employees. Finally, look at your competitors and get a feel for how they present their employer brand to identify how you stand apart from them. See what prospective talent is navigating when looking for a job in your industry.
2. Develop a message
While you may have heard of a regular value proposition, an employee value proposition (EVP) might be an unfamiliar term for you. Essentially, it’s a concise explanation of why your organization is desirable to work at, what sets you apart, and what it’s like to be a part of your culture.
Creating an employee value proposition can be a fairly involved process, but it’s definitely worth the time it takes to develop. Creating a strong EVP requires serious introspection about your company values, research into your employees' needs and desires, and thoughtfulness about the future of your company. It will become the foundation of your employer brand, creating language for your recruiters to center their message around, and offering a guiding light for your company culture, priorities, and leadership style. And it will play a crucial role in helping prospective employees determine if they are interested in working at your company.
3. Create employee ownership
Before releasing your new EVP and clarified company values and culture into the world at large, it’s crucial that you create a foundation for it to take root and grow within your organization. Make sure that you’re projecting an accurate message that reflects what it’s like to work for you.
To ensure you’re communicating from a place of honesty, work with key employees (leaders, managers, and individual employees) to help execute and implement your vision. Review and update your policies, benefits plan, and managerial approach to find ways to align them to your EVP. Create ways for employees to take ownership of it so they can act as stewards, ushering the values and culture throughout the organization.
Ask if it’s reflected in:
- New employee onboarding process
- Employee benefits and perks
- PTO policies
- Employee development opportunities
Once you’ve created an employee value proposition that reflects the clarified values, culture, and priorities of your organization, you’re ready to begin sharing your employer brand with the world! Offer your EVP to your hiring manager, add it to your careers page, and use it as a guide for how you interact with potential talent.
Begin telling your story as an organization on social media, through how you interact with and promote your employees online. Team up with your marketing team to determine how best to communicate your message and start telling the story of your organization from within. It’s crucial to keep returning to your employer brand to determine if it needs to be updated as your organization changes and grows. Remember, since your employer brand exists with or without your effort, it’s so much better to actively maintain your employer brand than it is to let it exist on its own, without your guidance and ownership.
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