Employer branding attracts the best talents in your organization

As more companies digitalize their operations and commerce, competition over the best IT professionals continues to heat up. This means that to attract and retain the best talent, you’ll need to develop a strong employer brand.

In a nutshell, employer branding sits at the matrix of how your current and potential employees see your company as an employer and how well your company is promoted to prospective employees. This complex function combines both experiential and communicative elements resulting from managers’ strategic decisions, talent acquisition activities, people operations, and external as well as internal communication efforts.

Why does your employer brand matter? Because if you’re not seen as an attractive employer it will be difficult to recruit the best talent, or if you are having difficulties to retain your employees, you will lack resources to answer your customers’ needs, your business will not grow and it will be slow and difficult to develop new solutions to market.

You might wonder what all the fuss is about. But think about it: it’s a simple supply and demand issue. Don’t you want the best, most experienced software talent to ensure that your business flows smoothly? Of course you do. And sadly for you, so does everyone else. And that’s the problem: everyone needs to ensure their product offers the best, simplest digital interfaces for their customers faster than all their competition. And the companies who can provide the best working environment and meet the needs, expectations, and desires of the best talent will attract — and retain — the best people. Meanwhile, the most skilled software talents know this. And they want to work for the places that have the strongest reputation for being a good place to work and that offer them exactly what they need. That can mean a wide range of benefits, best compensation, or a working environment that suits one’s personal life situation the best, to mention a few.

So let’s say you lack the resources to maintain a strong employer brand. Eventually, you will fall behind your competitors and endanger your business’ continuity. That’s why employer branding matters. Companies must find ways to differentiate and promote themselves – it is not enough just to offer a high salary – in order to stand out from the crowd. In this piece, we will walk you through the most important terminology of employer branding, as well as the most common challenges and how to resolve them so you can pave the road to success in recruitment and employee retention.

Employer branding terms

When you set out to build - or strengthen - your employer brand, there are a few terms that will come up again and again when talking about employer branding. To make things easier for you, we put together this glossary of employer branding terms.

Employer branding (EB)

Employer branding refers to a company’s active efforts to promote a clear view of what makes it unique and desirable as an employer. These efforts can be taken both within and outside the company, and can be summed up to three main steps:

  1. Develop your employer value proposition (EVP)

  2. Communicate your EVP both inside and outside your organization

  3. Keep your employer brand’s promise your current and future employees

It’s important to note that whether or not you’re actively building your employer brand, your current employees have a sense of the culture you’ve built so far, and whether that’s a positive or a negative opinion impacts your employer brand. Things like employee turnover and retention rates are good ways to gauge how strong your employer brand is, and what to change or codify as you begin your employer branding effort.

Employer value proposition (EVP)

Your employer value proposition is the unique set of benefits that employees receive in return for the skills, capabilities, and experience they bring to your company. Defining your employer value proposition is about refining the essence of what your company is – what makes it unique and what it stands for – as well as giving your team’s work a meaningful purpose. Your EVP will prove important both for attracting and retaining the best talent.

Employee experience (EX)

Employee experience considers the complete journey an employee takes in your company, from the first communication upon their hiring to the exit interview, and everything in between. The key to successful employer branding is to provide an employee experience that is aligned with your employer value proposition: This ensures your target talents find you – and that they want to work for you.

Employee retention

Employee retention is a metric defined by a company’s ability to keep their current employees. It is strongly tied to means to engage and motivate them.

Employer Brand Image

Every company has an employer brand image, whether they actively manage it or not. Similar to a consumer brand image, this is what people think of working for your brand when they hear your brand name. It’s based on your values, motives and beliefs, and it extends beyond both your current employees and potential recruits.

Common employer branding roadblocks

Unknown employer

Nowadays being an unknown employer is very costly. If your target group, in this case IT talent, does not see your company as a digital employer, it’s as if your company does not exist for potential software employees. This makes recruiting technical roles very slow and costly. Making this even more difficult is that it’s often a completely different employer value proposition and recruiting methods that draw in software development talent. But this is also true for young digital companies or startups who need to build brand awareness from scratch as they scale their teams.

This can cost you big: not only do organizations with weak employer brands need to offer 10% higher salaries (HBR) to attract talent, they also face the following challenges:

  • Few or no inbound applications

  • Poor applicant quality

  • Lacking enough resources to meet customers’ needs

  • Higher recruitment costs

  • Failure to meet growth targets

  • Need to offer higher compensation to attract talent

Poor differentiation and offering

More and more employees are choosing their employer based on individual needs, life situation, and interests. The better companies can differentiate themselves from their competitors and define a unique culture that appeals to the type of employees they are looking for, with great benefits and perks in what they have to offer for their teams, the better they can attract the right talent.

In today's competitive talent landscape, poor differentiation and offering creates the following challenges:

  • Low retention

  • Few or no inbound applications

  • Poor applicant quality

  • Not enough resources to meet customers’ needs

  • Slow and costly recruitments due to poor employer brand

  • Failing to meet growth targets

  • Need to pay higher compensation to secure talent

Negative employer image

Your employer image is formed in people’s minds based on what they see, hear, and how they interact with your company even before they become potential employees.

In the new era of digitalization, both good and bad word spreads fast. A damaged employer image makes it more difficult to succeed in recruitment, employee experience and employee retention. This means more effort, time and money needed for each hire, and you’ll sink more and more resources into less and less successful recruitments over time.

In its Jobseeker Transparency Report, Indeed stated that 32% of jobseekers say they distrust a company with a negative online reputation. According to Glassdoor, 86% of employees and job seekers research company reviews and ratings to decide on where to apply for a job. And CommitForum reported that 69% of candidates reject a job offer from a company with a bad employer brand. This doesn’t even take into account what your former employees can say to potential applicants who reach out to ask them about their experiences working for your company.

At the end of the day, all this means that in order to win top talent, you’ll have to combat:

  • A low amount of inbound applicants;

  • A lack of credibility;

  • Difficulties in attracting new talents;

  • Higher recruitment and recruitment marketing costs;

  • Needing to pay higher salaries down the line than your competitors do to attract talents… and then continue offering raises to keep them down the line.

What does successful employer branding look like?

Benefits of strong Employer Brand and positive Employer image

According to Glassdoor, a strong employer brand can reduce the cost per hire by as much as 50%. Furthermore, according to researchers Les Binet and Peter Field, companies that have built their brands long-term grow their turnover on average 47% and their revenue by 36% in comparison to companies that merely focus on advancing sales.

A strong employer brand and positive employer image also help you stand out from competitors - both for talent and in your market. At the same time, the positive industry buzz associated with your employer brand generates organic visibility and curiosity towards your company. They also contribute to a decrease in overall recruitment costs, and a good reputation and solid EVP translate to spending less on payroll, because you won’t need to offer higher salary to draw in top talents. Best of all, top talents attract other top talents.

The steps to successful employer branding are:

  • Define your EVP

  • Create Career pages on your website

  • Produce the relevant career/employment content for your target audience

  • Set up your recruitment campaigns

  • Devise and employer brand communication plan

  • Ensure that your current employee experiences truly do reflect what you communicate to your potential employees - it’s important to walk the talk above all else. Think about it - if you don’t, it’s akin to advertising a vegan burger that contains eggs.

  • Find what matters to your target group and adjust your cultural and fringe benefits offerings to meet the target talent group’s needs and draw them in.

Benefits of a well-defined employer value proposition

With an attractive EVP, you can enhance employee commitment and retention. This will snowball into better person-organization-fits. It will also minimize your recruitment costs so you won’t have to offer higher salaries in order to attract talent.

To create a positive employee experience, one of the most important things you can do is to involve the existing employees in employer branding development. Find out what they appreciate about working in your organization. Then, communicate this authentic and realistic picture of who you are and how the everyday work is to potential employees. It's also important to encourage your employees to share your stories.

Can you really afford not to invest in employer branding?

The competition over talents is tough, but with the right guidance you can build a strong employer brand and positive employee experience that do miracles in boosting your employer image and culminate in successful recruitments that snowball into winning teams comprised of top talent.

At the end of the day, not investing in your employer brand is costly, you really can’t afford not to do so. If you don’t, that’s a surefire way to sink your resources and permanently alienate the talent you’ll need to even stay competitive - let alone win in your markets - down the line.

Witted helps you to attract and retain the experts you need by building and communicating your employer brand, developing world class employee experience and aligning your employer brand and employee experience. We can also help you to build talent-friendly recruiting practices.