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Employer Branding - What is it and Why is it Important?

Employer branding is the promotion of a company's identity and differentiation to candidates they are interested in hiring. Employer branding is not something new. You have an employer brand - it just might not be the one you want! 

Why should you care about your employer brand? As noted in a number of my previous blogs, identifying and attracting top talent is getting harder and harder. In addition, social media and sites like Glassdoor make finding out what others think of you as an employer more easily accessible than ever before. Not just big companies need to worry about their employer brand. Many small- to mid-sized companies have Glassdoor profiles, and are competing against the bigger companies for the best talent. If you are not doing what you can to influence the conversation about your company, then you may not like the results.

So how do you go about employer branding? Well, it involves determining what employer brand image you want to have, then looking at and maintaining everything candidates may encounter on your website, in the application/recruitment process and on other sites where you are mentioned/ranked/reviewed.

First, think about what your EVP (Employer Value Proposition) is. What are the unique policies, programs, rewards and benefits you offer your candidates? Your EVP is made up of your values, culture and employee experiences. Once you have a clear sense of who your company is and what differentiates you, you can begin promoting this EVP.

There are a number of places that candidates go to learn about your company, the work environment and about the position they are interested in. These include blog posts and e-newsletters, white papers, videos, customer testimonials, job posting sites, Glassdoor, etc. Getting your EVP message across in these places is a great way to start improving your employer brand image.

An often untapped source of employer brand promotion is your current workforce. Candidates are more likely to believe what an employee says about their workplace, than what a company publishes on their website or on a job site. Include employee stories, videos or testimonials about your company on your website, on social media and on job posting sites. Ask employees why they chose to work at your company and what makes them excited to come to work each day. It will give your company a more human connection and provide credibility with your target audience. Colleges and universities have used student videos and testimonials in their new student recruitment for years, why not traditional businesses?

Don't forget the job description and application process. Candidates want to see a clearly defined job description that shows them what is expected as well as how this position can lead to greater opportunities. Don't lose a candidate because the job description is unclear or vague. In addition, make the application process as simple and seamless as possible. Is your online application process relatively quick and easy to complete? Don't just guess at this. Go through the process yourself to see how long it takes and that all links are working and information is clean. According to Beamery Inc., a talent acquisition company, as many as 60% of candidates will quit in the middle of filling out online job applications because of their length or complexity. You finally got the candidate at the door, don't lose them now! Many employers believe that a lengthy application will weed out apathetic applicants. However, the truth is that it is just the opposite. The most talented applicants have plenty of opportunities and are not willing to jump through hoops if there are easier processes elsewhere.

Finally, actively maintain your online presence. "Active maintenance" means that a member of your team is responsible for joining relevant conversations, responding to reviews and messages, and giving candidates an attractive preview of the work environment, culture, and available opportunities. This interaction cannot just be robotic job alerts. You must interact with people and be in the conversation.

Employer branding may seem like a daunting process. However, in an age where top talent has the advantage of being able to choose the job they want, companies who refuse to address their employer branding will lose out on attracting the best employees to lead their companies into the future.

By Ann Condon - Communication Manager, E.A. Dion, Inc.