Employee engagement is a subject that garners plenty of attention. Higher engagement rates lead to more satisfied and productive workers, but that presumes that engagement begins when the job does. In reality, the foundations of a strong employee-employer connection begin by creating a positive branding experience during recruitment, hiring and onboarding.
This is especially true during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Companies have ramped up virtual applicant sourcing and interviewing, switching from in-person to online touchpoints. As such, employers must communicate a strong and immediate branding proposition. Early in the evaluation process, candidates want to envision what it would be like to work for that specific company.
At the same time, applicants crave information so they can make informed decisions. This puts the onus on recruiters to offer tailored candidate journeys dependent upon both the business and the job type. It's a whole new ballgame, and the companies that hope to snag talented recruits will need to focus on presenting unique employer branding.
What Is Employer Branding - and How Is It Evolving?
It can be tough to understand the basics of employer branding. It's not the same as developing a corporate brand entity for customers. Rather, employer branding illustrates the employer's workplace reputation and value proposition in a straightforward and easy-to-understand manner. It helps candidates immediately know why they should apply for positions and what opportunities they can expect.
With employer branding, companies can leverage several emerging recruitment trends. For starters, they can make the most of virtual, high-tech solutions for everything and every moment. Job applicants expect prospective employers to use technology to boost camaraderie, foster teamwork, drive cultural expectations, and improve productivity despite uncertain circumstances. Consequently, forward-thinking businesses should be ready to showcase how they use their tech stack to source and recruit superstars.
Another buzzworthy trend in the recruiting world pertains to meeting expectations for corporate transparency related to diversity, inclusion, and employee health and safety. Specifically, companies need to express how they handle the mental health of their workers. Why? A 2020 CDC report found that four out of 10 adults admitted to experiencing mental health and substance problems related to the pandemic.
Employers that brand themselves as empathetic partners with their employees may strengthen initial candidate connections, improving the odds that applicants will see their organization as one to join.
Improving Employer Branding in Recruitment Situations
Is your organization planning to recruit soon? You might want to consider undergoing an employer brand refresh campaign. Start by exploring the following steps to boost the strength of your messaging and unique qualities.
1. Take a hard look at where you stand now.
You can't leverage the full power of your employer branding in recruitment if you're not sure what it is. Start by writing down clear, concise, and compelling differentiators. When you have descriptors in hand, measure them against how candidates actually see your brand. To get that information, you'll need to gain applicant feedback from people you've both accepted and rejected.
Gathering candidate information will give you a comprehensive idea of how outsiders experience your employer brand. Do your job descriptions hold up under scrutiny? What kind of first impression did your team members make? What was your recruitment process genuinely like? Use the data you gather to pinpoint gaps between what you want your branding to be and what it actually is. Then, bridge those gaps by defining key performance indicators (KPIs) to meet in the coming quarters.
2. Facilitate hearing your candidates' personal branding.
Your applicants want to sell you on their "beyond the résumé" skills. If you're not already giving them the chance to shine during their candidate onboarding experience, offer a tool to foster a bit of bragging. For instance, you may want to implement online screenings by relying on an interactive AI chatbot. Conversational AI can help recognize personality traits while removing unconscious bias from the interviewing process.
Another way to give prospective employees a chance to wow you is by arranging group interviews or interviews with a couple of different team members armed with effective interview questions. That way, applicants can get their questions answered, tell a variety of stories about themselves, and get a better feel for what they can expect should they receive and accept a job offer.
3. Standardize your recruitment tech and applicant journeys.
Candidate experience matters, and any resource you can use to make it as simple as possible bodes well for your company. For 28% of job candidates, a great experience strengthens the talent-employer bond while a negative one adversely affects the relationship for 25% of candidates. Although you don't want every recruit's journey to be identical, you will want to promote a sense of uniformity that enhances your employer branding.
Construct a tech stack that seamlessly takes candidates from the application process all the way through to the end. Give every candidate the same amount of care, attention, and insight into their potential job so that they can make informed choices about the position and the company as a whole. Any employer that puts thought into creating a uniform candidate experience through technology can help themselves stand out to potential talent.
Striving for 100% employee engagement is a smart goal. Nevertheless, the seeds of satisfaction aren't sown with a job offer. They're sown from the moment your applicants get a taste of your employer's brand reputation. Your job is to make sure that taste keeps them coming back for seconds.
Megan Couch is the chief experience officer at Integrity Staffing Solutions, a full-service staffing agency that ranks in the top 2% of agencies across the country for quality service based on ClearlyRated's "Best of Staffing" client survey.
Your people will never forget how you cultivated the employee-employer connection when they're first starting at your company - and that first impression will show up in reviews. To get involved in the conversation on Glassdoor and start managing and promoting your employer brand reputation, unlock your Free Employer Profile today.