Discover the importance of employer branding, and how it influences the perception of your brand. Learn how to improve your company's image as a place to work, by implementing effective strategies such as events and awards, shared values and culture, testimonials, and social benefits.
How to Eat an Elephant One Bite at a Time?
What do human resources and marketing have in common? They can influence how your brand is perceived. Choosing the right company to work with or work for is a complicated process, that is focused on a few factors including how employees are treated and if they like what they're doing. Let’s ask a hypothetical question: would you choose this company as a potential employer? If not, then it’s a red flag and employer branding should be improved.
What’s employer branding about?
It’s a company’s image as a place to work. It includes values, work ethics, a reputation shared by staff members, environment, and HR processes. But you might think that EB is almost the same as HR and Recruitment. It’s a good intuition, but you’ll get a full spectrum if you add marketing, employer’s ethics, and even the company’s vision to it. Employer Branding focuses on future candidates and the company’s opinion but is also heavily concentrated on current employers that work in… and in the name of a company. It works both ways. On one hand, EB has to take care of the opinions of people that the company wants to recruit, and on the other - on the comfort and commitment of employees already working in it. Looking at employer branding in this way, you can see that it applies to everyone. EB is a carefully curated opinion or a unique image, that shows the company’s values to potential and existing work staff.
Ok, now that we have an idea of what it is, let’s see some examples of employer branding:
1. Events and Awards - Being nominated or speaking publicly at events builds brand awareness and its professional image but it also shows the people behind the company. An expert team can build up EB by sharing their knowledge on events offline and onsite. This goes to show that a brand works with experienced people, that are not afraid to be classified by a company’s name. If they can teach strangers, imagine how much you can learn from them as a new employee.
2. Values and Culture - shared ethics is one of the key aspects of EB. It helps to form strong communication, based on a level of mutual understanding for every member of the team. Of course, this sounds already a bit too philosophical, but - let’s face the facts - our worldviews are different. Expressing the company’s values makes it easier for everyone. Current employees have a reference on what might have gone wrong or on how they should act, and candidates know what to expect.
3. Testimonials - “I like working here!” is an opinion straight out of the Employer Branding Holy Grail. Nowadays, a company is judged not only by the product or services. Working conditions and team satisfaction are also huge indicators. Have a look at your own preferences toward a brand. If you know that the staff is treated poorly, it influences the way you see a certain company. On the other hand, testimonials placed on social media, such as LinkedIn or Facebook, can bring positive attention.
4. Social Benefits - integration camps, discounts or even working from home are an extra option for employees and can be used as a part of employer branding. They might be the cherry on the top of the cake when it comes to choosing a new workspace or staying with the current employer. We all know money is important, but it’s not everything there is. A friendly team, clear communication, additional training, events, and a space to learn and grow are also crucial. Imagine making twice as much but being stressed, burned out, and overworked. Would it be worth it?
These are some examples of Employer Branding followed by companies day-to-day. Why? Employer Branding can bring new clients but also save a lot of money in recruitment. An ideal candidate is someone that is competent and loyal to a brand. The first virtue - competence - can be seen as a saving when recruiting for senior positions. Professionals can be picky when it comes to salary, so the company’s values, characteristics, ethics, and perspectives are often considered. The EB image will make a huge difference when your bid is not the highest on the market. The other one - loyalty - saves money on the recruitment processes. People hesitate to leave their positions, enjoy working for that brand, and are eager to hop in if there are new openings. Less recruitment for the same seat equals fewer costs, and let’s face it - nothing screams a “red flag” more than constant t employee turnover.
Back in the day, I wish I knew about EB a little more. My first job was followed up by a very pleasant meeting and nothing raised my suspicions. It was only a week or two later that waking up for work was accompanied by a sick stomach, heavy breathing, and nausea. Why? I was yelled at constantly, and the first drama was caused by me making a coffee… taken from an alleged “management shelf”, that was not meant for regular employees. Yes, they had better coffee for the CEO, and the cheapest, poor-quality discount one was for regular workers. In the new business department, people had a lifespan of a fly and by the time, I was there, two of them were prescribed sick leave because of stress. Have I only read the opinions on the internet… Now, working for Score Digital is so much different - a good example of why EB is truly important in every company. The roles have changed with time. I have enough experience to choose whom I work for, and what convinces me the most are the designs, portfolios, and projects I will participate in. Also, clear, laid-out recruitment processes and further communication are key factors, especially when working online. Here, in Score Digital, every step is explained with deadlines and expectations. A big plus also is listing values and team members on the website - straight up, without any further reading - you can explore and see if this is the culture you want to contribute to. Finally, the wages are known from the beginning. Simple communication, a friendly environment, and being proud of clients & projects? Sounds to me like a company to work for.
EB shows to be crucial in the IT environment - it’s an employer’s market, and there are plenty of positions to choose from, so it’s up to specialists to make the rules. The demography scale in Europe & lower birth rate also shows that there will be fewer employees in the future. Based on the "Employer Branding in Poland 2020" report we can see that almost half of the companies (51%) are either implementing or working on an EB strategy and 26% are working towards having one. The most valued aspects of an EB strategy, from an employer’s perspective, are better communication, improved organizational culture, and better matching when it comes to candidates. Employees are also more involved in the company’s life, they less frequently change their job, which allows for reducing recruitment costs. We live in a world where working online, introduced especially during the Covid pandemic is a standard. And explicit, understandable communication - that is a part of employer branding - has to follow. Feeling connected to a company, even if working from home, is a challenge that HR and marketing teams have to face to build a good employer branding strategy. Having staff members that are engaged and proud of the brand that they work for is almost as important as having client recommendations. Such a team can influence the way a company is viewed on the market and make an empty talk sentence, such as “a pleasure to work with” actually true.
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