Building a recognizable and trustworthy brand isn't just about attracting and keeping customers. As we have explained before, branding influences our products, our marketing, and even the way we vote. But did you know branding also influences who wants to work for us?
Even if our products are successful and we have a loyal customer base, job seekers want to know about more than just business success when choosing where to work. Prospective employees want to know about our company culture and our employer brand, which are essential to attracting the most talented and creative workers out there. TPD (an international talent management firm) discusses the importance of employer branding in attracting talent, claiming that:
“Prior to getting hired, candidates want to know that they’ll be valued as an employee and gain an understanding of their fit with corporate culture… Firms with strong employer brands attract at least 3.5 times more applicants per job post than other firms in the same industry.”
That kind of boost makes a significant impact on a company's ability to attract the kind of people they need to grow. Let's examine a few questions we can use to help build our employer brand and ensure that we're able to bring in the best talent possible.
1. What Makes Us Different?
This is often the first question we ask before initiating R&D or conducting a competitive market analysis, so it's a logical place to start when examining our employer brand. Just as we do when selling products to a customer, we need to identify several ways in which we distinguish our employer brand from our competition.
Let's look at Google as an example of a noteworthy employer brand. Google promotes an environment that is simultaneously innovative and comfortable. It has built cafés, activity centers, and gathering areas into its office space to provide employees with arguably the most unique and welcoming experience found in corporate America. Their employer brand touts an open, innovative, and unique culture that attracts job seekers from all fields and across all ages.
We can start building our company brand by reflecting upon what it is that we do differently from other companies. Is it our business practices, growth opportunities, or commitment to developing talent? Perhaps it's our work environment, or a company culture that helps employees feel valued. Just as consumers gravitate to brands with which they identify, prospective employees seek out workplaces that share their values.
2. What Do Our Current Employees Say?
Companies across the globe are working to position themselves as suitable employers by empowering their employees. Just as our customers can be our greatest brand ambassadors, our employees are the greatest proponents of the company culture we have created — so it's important to hear what they have to say!
We can help build our employer brand by engaging with current employees to find out what makes them loyal. Why do they continue working for us? What do they enjoy about their work that they share with their families and friends? If they don't have clear, concrete answers, we may not have the employee brand we desire. Our brands are often defined by honesty, trust, quality, or creativity, and our employer brand should be just as easily defined by those most important to it.
Further, these employees are the building blocks of our employer brand. Matt Hunkler, founder of Verge HQ, explains in Forbes that this is a key part of employer branding strategies:
“It’s great for founders and executives to share the story of why the business was founded. But employers shouldn’t expect that to be the thing that gets their employees up in the morning.
Everyone is unique and employees should be given permission to share those unique qualities in a way that expresses their individuality while supporting the employer brand. So, help your employees craft their story by listening, remaining open, and building on their ideas.”
In this way, the individual brands of our employees are key in crafting our broader company brand. This is a good reminder of why it is so important to hire great people from the outset.
3. How Are We Telling Our Story?
When looking for a new employer, most job seekers look beyond our company website in favor of personal insights and stories about our offices, which is why sites like Glassdoor are so popular. Prospective employees are far more likely to be interested in coming aboard if this kind of information is both positive and easily accessible.
This is why it's a great idea to share insights into our company daily workings and company stories on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Ensuring that these pages are communities where our employees can interact and share the everyday happenings that make them love working with us will increase transparency and build brand authenticity, both among job seekers and customers alike.
Reflecting on these three questions can provide a strong foundation for building and sculpting our employer brand — which we would do well to not ignore. After all, it's this brand that allows us to build the exceptional teams that create our exceptional products.
Do you have your own strategies for employer branding and building company culture? Share them with us @EidsonPartners on Twitter!