During volatile times, like recessions, employer branding is often neglected. Leaders can get bogged down in the gloom and doom of the economy and feel pressured to focus on profits over people. The truth is, investing in your employer brand during difficult times is pivotal. It's a chance to remind current employees of what makes them proud to work for your company, and it helps build a positive reputation with future employees. Setting the foundation now could help you keep your top talent and attract candidates in the long run.
Even when the budget's tight, there are cost-effective ways to promote your brand. Let's look at the current employment landscape, the hurdles to promoting the employer brand in recruiting, and some ways to highlight your company's values, culture, and employee experience.
Shift your business strategy
According to a recent Gallup poll, 83% of Americans described current economic conditions as "only fair" or "poor," and 72% believed the conditions were getting worse. And those sentiments make sense, given the news over the last year. Massive layoffs at some of the world's biggest companies have dominated headlines for months. Inflation has continued creeping up, and economists keep warning about a looming recession.
But it hasn't been all bad: The U.S. unemployment has remained under 4% for more than a year, and U.S. employers have added jobs every month for the last two years, with the most recent data showing job gains in professional and business services, government, health care, construction, transportation and warehousing, and social assistance.
As companies brace for a recession, experts recommend that employers focus on retaining and capitalizing on existing talent. That includes seeking feedback from current workers, showing employees that you value them, (both through compensation and non-monetary signs of appreciation), and clearing obstacles so teams can increase their productivity.
"A company's most important asset, regardless of economic conditions, is its workforce," Randall Leach, CEO of Beneficial State Bank, told Forbes. "Employees who feel valued and connected to a company's mission or purpose are more likely to stick around during tough times. It's essential, then, to invest in cultivating a strong and healthy team culture."
Why an employer branding strategy matters
Fundamentally, an employer brand is the external representation of a company's internal values and employee value proposition. When it's strong, it shows candidates your core values and highlights why people love working there.
On the other hand, when companies don't have a distinct employer brand, a candidate can only gather data from the hiring manager or the teammates they speak to during the interview. Little things like being late or responding to messages during an interview, could have a major influence on a candidate's impression of your organization. Those actions may not accurately represent the company culture as a whole.
Employer branding plays a prominent role in retention of current employees, too. When a company brings its values to the forefront of interactions with candidates, it reminds employees of why they're excited to work there.
Low-cost ideas for refining your employer branding
You don't need a five-figure production budget to craft an employer brand that resonates with candidates. A smartphone is enough. Raw employer branding is still authentic and can be very effective. Here are some budget-friendly tips for building and promoting your brand:
- Interview a hiring manager about the role they're hiring for and publish it on your company's blog
- Create a short podcast or video blog featuring the different departments within your company
- Read and respond to employee reviews on Glassdoor
- Use Glassdoor reviews to validate internal surveys
- Ask for feedback from employees who leave and candidates who decline to identify areas for improvement
- Establish employee resource groups that align with your company's values
- Engage with employees in a Glassdoor Company Bowl™
Remember: Before you start to amplify your employer brand, decide how you want to show up to job seekers. See how your core values show up in your workplace, and let those values lead your decision-making.
Look to the future
Even though some companies are experiencing layoffs and hiring freezes right now, an employer brand will have an impact long after the economy has rebounded. A strong employer brand resonates with the modern interviewer or candidate: It tells them you have an exciting company to work at, and it gives you the edge over other companies that can't tell that story. If you want to attract the best people to your company, start by bolstering your employer branding.
Check out Glassdoor's Employer Branding Hub for more ideas.