"Your brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room," said Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos.
In other words, your company already has an employer brand, whether or not it has made any efforts to define it and communicate it are another story.
The importance of your employer brand
In today's candidate-driven market, a positive, well-defined employer brand is essential to attracting and retaining top talent. According to Glassdoor research, 69% of active job seekers are likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand. (Glassdoor U.S. Site Survey, January 2016)
If the concept of employer branding is new to your company, getting started building and refining yours is probably easier than you think. The basic ingredients of your employer brand are already in place; it's just a matter of shaping them into a coherent whole and communicating (and promoting) the results.
How to Build an Employer Brand
For each of the following steps, you'll want to consider your employer brand from an internal and external perspective.
Research. What does your current employer brand say about your company? Internally, find out by checking employee satisfaction surveys, focus groups and feedback from hiring managers. Exit interviews and candidate feedback will provide additional clues into how the culture of your company is perceived.
Your external employer brand includes content on review sites, press and word of mouth. The Edelman Trust Barometer notes that people trust an "average employee" or "a person like yourself" more than the CEO as sources of information about a company. Evaluate all the external sources of information and identify themes. It's also useful to do competitive research to see how you compare against other employers in your area.
After gathering this intelligence, create a document that identifies key internal and external themes. You may find strengths that you can emphasize and weaknesses that need to be addressed.
Strategize. What are your company's goals and how can your employer brand help you achieve them? An internally focused goal might be to increase retention rates or employee satisfaction, while an externally focused goal might be to increase candidate quality.
A technique commonly used in branding is establishing a brand value proposition, which identifies a brand's key benefits for its customers. Meanwhile, an employer value proposition (EVP) does the same for your employees. It incorporates your company's core values and unique elements of your workplace culture.
Assemble a team to come up with an EVP that works to move your company forward.
Communicate. Where should you communicate your employer brand? Internally, your EVP comes into play through your company's choice of benefits and perks, employee development opportunities and team events. Externally, your EVP can show up across your careers website, job descriptions, social media and employer profiles on sites like Glassdoor.
Create a plan to both reinforce regular communication with employees as well as upgrade externally facing communications.
Evaluate. No branding effort is complete without a plan to measure its effectiveness. By tracking key metrics like cost-per-hire, employee satisfaction, social media sentiment and visits to your employer profile on Glassdoor, you'll learn how well your efforts are working what needs adjustment.
Remember, measuring your employer brand is an ongoing process of reinforcement and optimization, not a one-time exercise.
Employer branding helper
As you get deeper into identifying, communicating and managing your employer brand, you'll probably have a lot of questions. Luckily, you can follow the paths and guidance of experts who've gone before. Our popular eBook Employer Branding For Dummies®, Glassdoor Special Edition gathers many of their insights into a comprehensive manual for creating a top-notch employer brand. Download it today!