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Employer Branding: Employees Are Your Best Marketing Asset

Dive In
  • Writer's pictureThe CareerBeacon Team

Updated: Mar 25

Employees are your most valuable marketing resource

What is involved with employer branding? Search the top companies to work for in Canada and check out the results. Names like Desjardins, Dell, Google, and Lululemon are often some of the first names to appear. Branding is significant, not just from a customer relations perspective but also from a hiring perspective. A company’s brand image impacts a candidate’s decisions, with about 75% of jobseekers considering an employer’s brand before applying

If you’re fighting for talent in a tight marketplace, your hiring strategy may win or lose based on your employer-brand abilities.

So, what is employer branding exactly?

Employer branding isn’t necessarily how you market your company to the outside world but is more about how you market it internally and to prospective candidates. It is the reputation a company has in the workforce which is bolstered by the employee perception of the company. 

The value of an employee’s viewpoint is powerful as it can tell a candidate how the company may operate or treat its workers. The more positive the employer branding is, the more likely the employer is to retain talent, hire engaged employees, and attract the right candidates for job openings.

This goes beyond the branding created around a company’s goods and services. A potential candidate cares less about what you sell to the public and more about what you can “sell” to them. 

This means the messaging around employee relations, culture, values, and the company’s leadership is imperative. Luckily, creating a strategy around communicating the brand internally can impact the external view of the company, as well. Consider this a storytelling moment.

Who is the company? What are they contributing to their staff and the environment around them? What sets them apart?

The candidate will seek answers to these and want to know what it is like to work for the employer. Help them discover the solutions by being open about the day-to-day management and operations, the company’s values and morals, the workplace culture, and how other employees feel about the company. A company’s greatest asset is its employees, so let them shine. 

Why is employer branding so important?

Employer branding is great for employee retention. It impacts the bottom line, where on average, many companies saw a 28% reduction in the organization turnover rates. By sharing your brand’s mission and story, it’s more likely that your organization will hire an employee that aligns with your story and vision. Thus, creating a space where there’s mutual respect and support.

Employer branding allows the organization to control and positively change the dialogue surrounding the company to ensure higher talent acquisition and retention.

At its most basic, employer branding is how you market your company to jobseekers and what employees say about the company as a workplace. The power of employee voice and the messaging around a company can’t be undervalued, especially when 52% of candidates first look at the company’s website and social media to learn more about an employer

Ultimately, working on and cultivating an employer brand humanizes the company. It shows what can set it apart and how it may relate to the candidate. This ability to connect can inspire a candidate to apply for a job or want to take a chance on a company. 

The hiring process goes both ways, so you should entice a candidate as much as they may want to impress you. Employer branding clarifies things using transparency as the foundation of its storytelling. In the end, trust is more easily established between the candidate and the employer. This will ensure the right candidate is selected, someone who is a good fit for the organization.

How can you improve/implement employer branding?

Value Proposition

This is the company’s mission statement, values, vision, and culture. Creating an identity for your business and what it is about can help attract the right employees. When building a mission or brand, you may need to consider what the business needs are and then work to understand the kind of talent or skills required for said needs. The clearer the statement or mission, the more likely an organization will have the right talent applying for open positions.

To further understand the value proposition, it may be helpful to talk to current employees. This can happen through anonymous surveys, one-on-one discussions, and internal audits. You may also want to look at their reviews online to see what previous, and current employees say about them on social media, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, etc. 

The main objective here is to look for areas of improvement in the messaging and conduction of a company but also to understand the pieces of the organization that are already working well. It would be wise to highlight what employees like about working for the organization.

Once everything is gathered, writing the value proposition should combine the research, the list of values, and the company’s benefits. This can be used for recruiting purposes, on the company site and social media, and internally.

Onboarding Process 

Part of what makes the employer brand so powerful is consistency, which even impacts the onboarding and hiring process. You will need to commit to maximizing the candidate’s experience. Every candidate should feel treated with respect and fairness from start to finish. Knowing that jobseekers share their experiences of the hiring process online is enough to say that a company’s reputation can be at the hands of the person interviewing.

Learning and Development

It is best not to ignore the power of online reviews and social media. This is part of the consistency factor. It isn’t just about the messaging on these channels but also how often you respond and monitor social media. Jobseekers look at review boards and social media reviews/posts as a barometer of how up-to-date a company is because they are often seen as less biased vantage points of a company. 

Places like Glassdoor tend to have honest or first-hand stories about what it is like to be an employee. By responding to reviews and seeing what people are saying, an organization can react quickly and help to cultivate a stronger narrative — especially if there is a negative review. These reviews can be development opportunities for brands. So showing the willingness to change based on a more negative experience will signal to a jobseeker how aware and evolutionary the company can be.

Employee Stories

Candidates are more likely to engage with the words of employees rather than HR or executive members. The Muse said this about employee experience: “Sit down and ask the employee, ‘Why did they join the team? Why have they stayed? What aspects of the culture and ways of doing business excite them?’” 

Share the employee experience on social media and be genuine. Don’t just choose people and tell them to say nice things about the company. Ask the team if they’d like to share their thoughts and experiences related to the above mentioned questions. Record or take notes of the interview. Ask the employees to be honest.

Asking these questions can be challenging, but it is pretty simple. Hearing from internal sources what they may like or dislike about the company can be clarifying to the employer’s brand. It shows areas of opportunity as well as success. Once a company obtains information from an employee, this can be used as part of the storytelling.

Real-life Examples of Employer Branding Done Well

If you’re looking for examples of how to implement or show an employer brand strategy effectively, look to these companies for inspiration:

HubSpot’s Culture Page begins with a document called the Culture Code, which publically pronounces every vision and value HubSpot hopes to promote and instill in its employees, candidates, and customers. As you move further down the page, you will find sections discussing opportunities for learning and development, HubSpot’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, and interviews with actual HubSpot employees. 

The language also consistently focuses on the jobseeker: “Here’s how we can help you grow.” The page ends with a “day in the life” video by HubSpot employee Matthew Watkins, demonstrating HubSpot’s relentless commitment to communicating its culture via its employees. The page is a powerful example of how one might use interactive media to promote the employer’s brand.

Eventbrite demonstrates its commitment to recruiting high-quality talent. The company created a web page introducing jobseekers to its recruitment team. There is a relatability, and causal sense to the information shared, along with fun facts about each recruiter. 

The Eventbrite recruitment team page states, “Interviewing shouldn’t be nerve-wracking — it should be exciting. It should spark great conversation. We believe in respect, transparency, and timely responses (we don’t leave anyone in the dreaded recruiting black hole).” This language reflects their values, likely inspiring jobseekers to apply. 

Starbucks is a famous brand, but what is it like to work there? They do an excellent job of cultivating a strong community among their employees. For instance, they refer to current employees as partners, instilling a sense of pride in each employee.

Additionally, Starbucks created Instagram and Twitter accounts specifically for @StarbucksJobs, which they use to promote their employer brand and interact with jobseekers. By creating social media accounts to demonstrate appreciation for current employees and evoke passion in potential candidates, Starbucks shows its commitment to being more than just a product. 

Rather than posting about its products, Starbucks uses its social media accounts to share their company mission, congratulate employees on college graduation, and share personal employee stories. The company also utilizes the platforms to demonstrate its commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Employer Branding Matters

Employer branding tells candidates and internal sources what the company is and where its values lie. This perpetuates and fosters the potential for a positive image. It also aids employee retention, hiring the right candidates, and cultivating a strong company culture.

Making employer branding should remain a priority. This isn’t about stagnating the brand. Relevancy and evolution should be the core of the brand story’s ongoing narrative. It shows how willing an organization is to change, value inclusion and diversity, and remain up-to-date with what is going on. New platforms and trends are starting every day. Constantly auditing, checking, and updating the branding materials will give your organization a leg up and have them keep up with the times. 

Remember, how a brand is communicated is the first line of connection for potential candidates. It clarifies the company’s mission and vision — and most importantly, it allows the organization to remain in control of its story.

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