10 Tips to Build Your Employer Brand

10 Tips to Build Your Employer Brand

Most companies are familiar with the concept of branding: it’s cultivating a public image and reputation that’s synonymous with your strengths and competitive differentiators as a company. It means becoming known for certain qualities that specifically appeal to your customer base. 

But that’s branding aimed at the customer. Fewer companies realize that they have another brand entirely: the employer brand. According to a 2015 survey by BLR, only 27% of employers have an articulated employer brand, a clear image and reputation for what kind of employer they are. Yet this kind of branding is just as important as customer branding, because it can impact how well your organization attracts job applicants. Better yet, a strong employer brand can help cultivate loyalty and engagement among current employees, instilling a sense of workplace pride and achievement.

In fact, strengthening your employer brand among current employees is nearly as important as among prospective workers. A strong brand can even live on after an employee leaves your organization in how they speak of their time with you. Given the rise of social media and the Internet, prospective job applicants can do nearly as much due diligence on you as you can do on them. If they come across online chatter that speaks ill of your organization as an employer, potential workers – especially top talent – may simply decide to give your company a pass.

One common problem: figuring out who owns the employer brand (HR? Marketing? The CEO?) and making sure it’s consistent across the organization. Without sufficient buy-in, employer branding efforts end up too isolated and inconsistent to have any real impact on recruitment, much less business results.

Given that so few organizations have a clear employer brand, what can you do to get started?

Here are Ten Best Practices:

1. Determine who owns employer branding. 

2. Define your employer brand and translate it into an Employee Value Proposition.

3. Base your employer brand on a realistic understanding of your strengths and differentiators.

4. Align your customer and employer brands together: they should complement each other.

5. Tailor your employer brand to your ideal target job candidates.

6. Make use of Big Data to inform your employer brand strategy, just as you would with customer branding.

7. Evaluate your current reputation, even if it’s neutral or poor, to identify the gaps you need to overcome.

8. Solicit buy-in from different functional units within the organization. Your employer brand will fall apart if it’s not consistent for all employees.

9. The Harvard Business Review recommends “using social media to share inside stories that highlight your strengths.”

10. Get an objective outside perspective; because organizations pay relatively little attention to their employer brand, they sometimes struggle with identifying and articulating how they stand out.