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Employer branding and how your company can attract top talent

August 8, 2022 - 18 min read

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What is employer branding?

What is the purpose of an employer brand?

Why is your employer brand important?

4 employer branding examples

How to build an employer brand

3 tips to improve your employer branding

Your company’s reputation says a lot about what your organization stands for. The things shared about you, and the way your services are perceived determine whether a customer returns to your company or leaves a scathing Yelp review. It can also help a potential applicant decide whether to be an employee or pass for a better offer.

Because most organizations are aware of this impact, they put effort into advertisements, social media influencing, and other marketing techniques to win customers. However, one often overlooked territory that deserves an equal amount of energy from your organization is your employer brand.

In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of having a good employer brand and look at the different ways this form of branding is important in the long term as well as the short term.

We’ll consider how to properly position your organization as a leading employer and share steps you can take to build your reputation within the market. We’ll also look at popular branding examples your organization can learn from.

What is employer branding?

Think of your employer brand as a scorecard given by past, present, and future employees. It is the sum total of how your hiring process, work environment, and even Fun Fridays affect staff perception of the workplace.

There are many reasons to maintain a positive workspace that encourages employee satisfaction. Within the workforce, almost 95% of job seekers consider a company’s reputation as a major factor when exploring career opportunities. 

This means everyone from top talent, to budding performers will likely avoid a company — no matter how groundbreaking their offerings — for a chance to work at an organization ranked highly among employees.

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What is the purpose of an employer brand?

One of the most important benefits of a strong, positive employer brand is retention. As we mentioned earlier, an employer brand can be the differentiator between accepting one job offer over another. When attracting (and retaining) top talent, it is crucial to develop and maintain an employer brand that truly reflects your company's culture and values.

What is an employer value proposition?

An employer value proposition can be described as a quid pro quo of the benefits a worker stands to gain, in exchange for their services to the company.

As highlighted, one of the starting points of building an employer brand is a union between company values and what the employer hopes to expect from workers. Employer branding can gain when potential candidates are reeled in and remain interested in the values of, and promises made by the employer, should they take up the role.

The benefits of your employer value prop usually reflect the vision of your company. It gives employees a strong reason to remain interested and invested in working for the company.

A value proposition is usually intended to invoke passion in workers. It is tied to a sense of meaning, purpose, and belonging and may not always refer to monetary compensation. It is usually effective with current employees and may be shared with potential and new employees by the human resources team or recruiters.

Why is your employer brand important?

A few generations ago, it was perfectly normal for one worker to mark their 25th and 60th birthdays while working at the same organization. 

However, with job boards and other spaces providing up-to-date information about employment opportunities worldwide,  employee turnover has taken quite the beating over the last few years. 

In 2018, The US had a turnover of 22%, with 15% making up workers that left the workplace voluntarily. This latter movement cost companies an estimated $618 billion. This is even more important in the wake of The Great Resignation which followed the COVID-19 pandemic— a whopping 4.4 million workers in the US quit their jobs, while the UK reported one million job vacancies in the second half of 2021. 

To properly understand how branding is important not just for your bottom line, but the future sustainability of your organization — consider the many benefits of strong employer branding:

It attracts the best crop of talent

Imagine you are given two delicious cups of coffee to choose from. You’re told one is perfectly fine and sure to add an extra spring to your step. The other, however, could worsen the odds of having stomach issues throughout the day. Chances are, you’d pick the energizing coffee over the other option, no matter how delicious each promises to be at that moment. 

For a majority of the workforce, this is how employment opportunities are weighed. A whopping 69% of job seekers claim they would reject a job offer from an organization with a poor reputation, even if they were unemployed at the time the opportunity came up.

This means given a choice of two companies, there’s a high chance that job candidates will gravitate towards the company with better perception and reputation in the market — that is, the company with a better employee brand.

In the very competitive job market, employer branding could be the edge that attracts top talent and hard-to-get, in-demand talent and encourages employee retention in the long run.

Employer branding puts you in the best light on social media

As an employer, the last thing you want is word spreading about employee dissatisfaction and general unhappiness within your company.

Creating a great product that adds value isn’t always the most important objective for a company. It is necessary to invest in and focus on the people power that ensures not only that your product and offerings are up to par but that you are continuing to innovate and deliver new value that exceeds expectations for your customers. This could set your brand apart from others.

The effects of a good reputation are seen in the social media age, where swift praise is given to organizations that prioritize workers’ welfare, while viral callouts are reserved for brands found lacking in growth and development opportunities, care and respect for employees or those with poor working conditions or unethical practices.

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More employees recommend your company to others

There’s a saying that goes: “people will forget what you said, but they’ll always remember how you made them feel.”

A worker might not remember the exact contents of their employment letter, but they will remember how easy it is to speak to a superior about a nagging issue at the workplace. They’ll always treasure the ease of taking a mental health break for the day, and how paid time off is a normal part of company culture.

Very importantly, current employees and past workers are sure to relay their happiness with your organization to prospective employees, and anyone who cares to listen.

Employee referrals are a good yardstick to measure how well your business is doing in the area of workforce affairs and employer brand.

Cut down on recruiting and retention expenses

A bad reputation can cost you a lot—customer patronage, a chance at expansion, etc. But notably, being known as a company where employee welfare isn’t top priority can literally cost your organization a lot of money.

When your corporate brand excludes employee satisfaction, this has the domino effect of first keeping top talent away from your organization. This then impacts how much money will be required to convince high-performing workers to join your operations.  

It is believed that employers with poor branding have to pay a 10% premium on every single hire made. This might come up to an average of $5000 spent on every hire when recruiting costs, testing fees, external agency charges, and other fees are put into consideration.

In comparison, there is less of a hassle, and much lower costs, with a good reputation. Top candidates will automatically vie for openings in an organization when they are sure that they will be treated well and valued.

4 employer branding examples

  1. Salesforce
  2. Starbucks
  3. Google
  4. Canva

1. Salesforce

This organization has been praised for its ability to appeal to workers across the younger and older generations. Its employer branding has a heavy focus on employee development, with staff members given opportunities for talent acquisition and all-around improvement.

Salesforce also stands out for its philanthropic efforts, as well as an interactive management system.

2. Starbucks

Another example of good employer branding is Starbucks. Workers in this company are certain of the important role they play, and are even named for it. 

Starbucks partners report a sense of pride in their work. These sentiments are shared in company testimonials and social media pages, where partners enjoy a separate account dedicated to their work and personal achievements.

3. Google

There’s a reason Google receives millions of applications yearly, and a large part of it is related to their employer branding. This company has earned a reputation for being innovative and impactful, which supports the rush to be associated with it.

Google also strives to support a positive work environment, placing an emphasis on employee emotional well-being.

4. Canva

Canva has lasting documentation of generosity to employees. This company deftly uses social media to its advantage. This organization also provides a safe working environment for workers, ensuring that employees feel valued for their efforts.

How to build an employer brand

There has never been a wiser time to cultivate a positive employer brand. With organizations like Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Hired, and more — employees now have the sharper edge in deciding what companies are worth investing their time and abilities into. And with the move to remote work, office place perks aren’t going to be enough to cover for a work environment that lacks respect, belonging, or meaningful work and growth opportunities.

However, while it is important to build a brand, it’s valuable for your business to achieve this correctly for seamless employee engagement, attraction, and retention. Here are tips on building an employer brand:

1. Craft a unique value proposition

When looking to make new hires, retain workers, or promote an interactive workplace, you’ll want to focus on people that align with your organization’s objectives.

To do this, it’s necessary to return to the drawing board—the same one that contains your company values, mission, and vision statements.

By having a reference to the fundamental principles and aspirations of your company to customers, it becomes easier to create and align an employer brand that matches with these propositions.

2. Carry out a self-audit

As an employer, it’s easy to assume that workers are satisfied with the status quo, provided no outright complaints are being made against company practices. However, while assumptions are great to have, they aren’t always an accurate representation of the state of things, especially where worker fulfillment is concerned.

For a proper diagnosis of how your brand is assessed by current employees and potential candidates in the job market, conducting research using internal surveys, hiring firms that observe reputation, or even looking through social media searches can help to evaluate your employer brand.

3. Improve the onboarding process

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. This is especially true for new employees who may be encouraged to begin searching for new opportunities, after a bad onboarding experience.

As an employer, consider it a worthwhile investment to pull all the stops to get new hires excited about their role. This means making the right introductions, equipping them with the right tools, and informing them of all the perks that come with helping to achieve the company’s mission.

4. Provide development opportunities for employees

As a worker, it’s normal for routine and drudgery to set in when carrying out the same role for some time. It falls on the employer to remain invested in continuous employee development. This means providing initiatives that permit workers to learn new skills and improve existing abilities.

It also means thinking through career paths and making these career development paths transparent to employees.

This can help to prevent complacency and boredom with daily activities. It can also keep workers invested in learning and growing, not just retaining their positions within the company. 

5. Prioritize diversity and inclusion within your organization

One of the strongest indicators of a good employer brand is a commitment to not just accommodating, but including, appreciating, and valuing, diverse people throughout the organization.

Setting your organization apart as an equal-opportunity, merit-based employer permits applications and input from different backgrounds. Make sure that your commitment to diversity extends beyond a commitment to hiring or recruiting. Your employer brand will reflect the experiences people have once they join your organization as well.

Diversity is also a good measure of a positive work environment, a big plus when looking to develop your employer brand.

employer-brand-team-around-conference-table

3 tips to improve your employer branding

1. Take advantage of current employees

Billboards and paid advertising can be big promoters of your business, but sometimes, all that’s required to spread the word are the stakeholders with company ID cards.

Employees are an untapped resource when it comes to letting others in on the impressive work environment your organization observes. 

Interested candidates can get firsthand information on worker expectations by reading testimonials shared by current employees. These testimonials may be displayed on the company website/careers page. Staff members may also be encouraged to publicize company events and fun outings on their personal social media accounts.

This adds authenticity to how workers perceive work culture and can encourage a positive outlook from outsiders. 

2. Be more deliberate with job descriptions

As one of the first forms of contact during the hiring process, job descriptions are an early way to stand out positively from other organizations. 

Your human resources team should be encouraged to craft job specifications that reflect the values and nature of the organization. This might require using witty or relatable language to signal what might be expected of the role to a prospect.

3. Adopt a social media-friendly approach

When looking to build a good employer brand, social media and alternative communications are easy routes to shape how the job market perceives your organization.

This can mean having interactive pages on Facebook, Twitter, and even TikTok. These pages should display everyday happenings and major developments in the workplace. 

Your employer branding strategy can also include a company blog, newsletter, and other means to promote the organization.

The bottom line for building an employer brand

Employer branding is a sure way to place your organization on the map where workers are concerned. By recognizing the value in the candidate experience, onboarding processes, and ensuring the best employee experience at the workplace — your organization will gain repute as a welcoming employer.

While there are many human and financial rewards to this strategy, building an employer brand needs to be done with care. Execution and consistency are as important as intent. This should be achieved in collaboration with HR professionals, the right recruitment marketing teams, and should reflect a willingness to support job satisfaction and the best employee experience.

Ultimately, a successful employer brand begins with building a great employee experience.

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Published August 8, 2022

Maggie Wooll

Managing Editor

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