Coburg Banks | Multi-sector UK recruitment agency

10 Tips For Building a Powerful Employer Brand that Attracts the Best Staff for Your Business

By Mark Wilkinson | Mar 21, 2016 | Attracting Staff

Cartoon of man handing woman a blank sheet saying... "Here's a blank sheet. Let's remake ourselves."Employer branding is ‘…a set of attributes and qualities, often intangible, that makes an organisation distinctive, promises a particular kind of employment experience, and appeals to those people who will thrive and perform best in its culture’. The CIPD

It’s all about positioning yourself as an ‘employer of choice’ – a place where (the right kind of) people actually want to work.

Building a powerful employer brand will make recruiting much easier, improve staff retention and boost your general brand as well – it’s win, win, win!

(Click here to check out some more key benefits!)

So this week, to give you a helping hand, we’ve come up with 10 important things you need to consider when building (or improving) your employer brand.

1. Who are you?

Before you can begin to get your employer brand out there, you need to decide what that brand is going to be – basically, who are you?

That means asking some investigative questions…

  • What’s the most appealing thing about your company?
  • Why do your employees stick around?
  • What causes your employees to leave?

This will give you a great starting point to begin actually building your employer brand.

For example, do you have a creative, fun and carefree environment? Are training opportunities a major perk? Are you innovative and “techy?”

Of course, the qualities, attributes and perks you choose must all complement each other.

2. Can you prove it?

You must put (or already have) concrete things in place to back up your employer brand.

(Despite anything else, there’s no point saying ‘we’re this, that and the other’ – without having evidence to prove it).

Perks, rewards, benefit packages, salaries, employee engagement techniques, training opportunities etc. are all concrete things you could shout about, that back up your brand.

For example, if you’re all about “nurturing your staff” – you should emphasise great training schemes, opportunities for progression, time off for study etc.

Recruiter Pro Tip

Don’t make the mistake of trying to “fake” an employer brand.

Your message needs to be honest, clear, coherent and strong (with evidence) and most importantly, your staff must be able to back it up and genuinely believe in it too.

If you’re really struggling to think of the positives – and you’re not even sure your staff are happy – then I’m afraid you may need to take a serious look at your company culture as a whole.

Click here for more advice.

You can even ask your staff for their ideas and opinions on your company – to help build your employer brand – what do they enjoy/like/love?

3. Who do you want to attract?

What type of person do you want to hire for your business?

Your employer brand should be aimed at exactly this type of person.

Trying to attract “techy,” modern, millennials? Creating an employer brand based around old-school, traditional values might not be the way forward.

If you’re trying to attract a completely new breed of employees (who are quite different to your current staff) then your actual company culture, vision and values may need some work – especially if they are at odds with the personality you’re hoping to attract.

But do remember – if it ain’t broke – don’t fix it.

4. Is it clear enough?

Intangible qualities and values can be difficult to recognise.

It’s your job to communicate such things to your customers, employees and the rest of the world in a clear, understandable way.

Your employer branding message (like your company brand) should filter through to all of your marketing materials (including your website) and employee communications.

Here’s a great example…

Click here to watch some more brilliant, effective (and hilarious) recruitment video examples!

Social media is extremely helpful for getting your values and culture out there – show off your events, your staff, your knowledge and interests with blogs, pictures, updates and by sharing similar things posted by others.

5. Are your brand & employer brand in harmony?

If there’s a clear disconnect between the brand you’re showing employees and the brand you’re showing customers – people will notice.

You need your brand to support and strengthen your employer brand and vice versa.

For example, if charity work is a big deal to your company, it should also be a big deal to your current and therefore future employees – so you could offer (and shout about) time off for voluntary work or boast about the charitable events you’ve hosted.

6. Have you focussed your recruitment?

Throughout the entire recruitment process, you need to continuously be backing up your employer brand…

  • Your job advert.
  • All communication (telephone and email).
  • Your interviews.
  • Any technical and aptitude tests.
  • Your LinkedIn Company profile.

All should represent the brand you’re trying to portray.

And all should be professional, friendly and positive – even if you don’t necessarily like the candidate and don’t choose to interview them.

Make sure everyone on your team is on board – you don’t want one rude person ruining it for you – remember, just one bad candidate experience could lead to a bad Glassdoor review.

Recruiter Pro Tip

Your employer brand doesn’t have to be ultra-quirky and uber-fun.

You can just as effectively portray an appealing professional, direct and experienced kind of culture – but you do still have to come across as friendly!

Just make sure all stages of your recruitment process are coherent with your overall employer (and company) brand.

7. Is your on-boarding process good enough?

Your on-boarding process should cement company values, strengths and qualities, so that all employees are aware of what’s expected from them.

(And why your company is so great!)

In this way, they are more likely to reflect and shout about those values themselves.

Also, in general, supporting new employees to settle in well, will increase staff happiness and retention, which will naturally improve your culture – and thus, employer brand.

If new employees don’t settle in and end up leading, people will hear about it – either through word-of-mouth or online (social media, review sites etc.)

8. Are you sabotaging your brand?

It’s so easy to sabotage your employer brand, when you’re faced with someone who is leaving the business – either through their own choice or not.

If someone has a bad experience as they leave your company, there’s really nothing to stop them badmouthing you – and word-of-mouth travels fast, especially online.

Always, always leave it on a good note.

Put on exit interviews to find out what went wrong and always handle the situation delicately.

There’s nothing worse than a pissed off ex-employee!

9. Are your staff actually happy?

Now, obviously, for all of this to work, your staff do actually have to be happy!

So in reality, the best way of creating a strong employer brand, is by creating a happy, engaged and friendly workforce.

They’re the ones out on the frontline, talking to customers and potential employees.

If they’re giving off the right impression – reflecting the right, relevant values, ideas and sentiments – people will find your employer brand a whole lot more believable.

You can’t force employees to do this, but if the brand you’re trying to present is actually honest, strong and positive, it should happen naturally.

10. What makes you different?

Marketers know that by offering something a little bit different, they gain a competitive edge.

It’s exactly the same with employer branding.

If you can offer your candidates something different (and ultimately better) then they’ll want to work for you.

(Try and come up with your own, amazing employer USP!)

Now what?

Once you’ve got it right, you must make sure you keep on top of your company culture, values and happiness etc. and therefore, your employer branding.

Keep putting it out there at every opportunity and make sure everything you do reflects it.

But also, make sure it’s still true!

Are your staff still happy? Do the same things impress them? Or has the culture changed?

If things change (for better or worse) you may have to rethink the focus of your employer brand.

Recruiter Pro Tip

If all of a sudden, you’re faced with an unhappy, demotivated and stressed team – something has gone wrong – and you need to solve the problem, quick.

Without a strong, positive culture and workforce, you can’t have a strong, positive business – and you certainly can’t have a strong, positive employer brand.

Click here to check out our staff retention and employee engagement blogs to learn more.

Things like employee satisfaction surveys will help you to keep an eye on this kind of thing.

If you’d like more advice on how to become and position your company as an employer of choice – check out this fantastic post from Ere Media.

Or click here to subscribe to this blog (you’ll just receive a quick weekly email with the latest).

Good luck.

- Mark Wilkinson
Mark Wilkinson

Mark Wilkinson

Mark is one of the founders of Coburg Banks and heads up the permanent recruitment division of the business.  Every day he helps companies with their recruitment projects, sourcing the very best individuals for their vacancies.  He understands recruitment inside-out.

> More blog posts by Mark Wilkinson

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