At the time when talent scarcity is at its peak, employer's reputation has become even more critical to attract the right talent. Job seekers want to know they can count on the company to help achieve their purpose and foster their professional growth. Candidates these days look not for companies but cultures they resonate with.
With the presence of social media, a plethora of digital recruitment tools and job sites, the corporate world has become quite transparent. Candidates no longer depend on word of mouth while deciding which company to join; rather they research about the company and learn about their best practices. Here's where presence of a well crafted employer brand will play a crucial role for the company. How vocal and transparent the employer has been on these various platforms shall impact the candidate's decision. Besides the frequency, the amount of presence and the quantity of information about the employer available on the internet, it is also the quality of the content that is important.
While many organizations realize the importance of crafting a good employer brand, they also often struggle to put all the pieces together. To understand what it takes to build an employer brand that attracts talent and how some of the companies are doing it, People Matters and Indeed, organized an exclusive roundtable discussion. HR and Talent Acquisition leaders from various companies and diverse sectors came together and there were some key themes that emerged from their discussion.
Here are a few key takeaways from the session and a few essentials to keep in mind while crafting an employer brand that attracts talent:
HR & Marketing Collaboration
The stark similarity between the various stages a job seeker and a consumer goes through has been realized by many now. So, it is time that employers accept the connection between employer brand and corporate brand as well and put their marketing and HR teams to work together.
“Marketing has the capabilities and skills needed to build a strong employer brand, but they don’t understand the job market as well. They don’t understand the job seekers’ audience as well. HR understands the culture of the company the best, and the job seeker’s mindset,” exclaimed Sashi Kumar, Managing Director, Indeed India.
If these capabilities are combined, employers can churn the best from both worlds and craft an employer brand that attracts the best talent.
At Godrej, for example, the marketing and the employer branding team sits closely and works together to build a brand that attracts talent. They don’t believe working in silos and do not treat employer brand separate from corporate brand.
What drives the job seekers?: Purpose
When we look at the core elements of an effective employer branding, the first is crafting the message. What are the stories you want to tell your job seekers?
As per Indeed’s survey, the majority of the 500 surveyed job seekers believe that it is the company’s mission and vision or its purpose that drives them or connects them with the company. The workforce today cares about the impact a company is making and choose to be with them if they relate with the company’s purpose.
Relay the culture: Stay authentic
Communicating what matters to the job seekers is critical. Every candidate out there wants to know what team they would be joining and what values are appreciated in the company. When job seekers are able to learn about the values of the company that they resonate with, they are able to see themselves working in that company.
Further, it's important to let the job seekers know the hard truths as well. For instance, for sales and front-line roles, if the job requires to work late and hours, it should be conveyed. In this case, if a candidate is not comfortable with such work arrangement and is rather looking for more flexibility, they would not go for the role and the company.
As authentic the message, the more right talent the employer will attract.
Customize & Localize: Right message for right audience
For brands with operations spread across geographies, or for conglomerates with many businesses under them, ‘one size fits all’ approach does not work. It is not necessary that the story a brand wants to communicate is the same in all the regions.
For Johnson & Johnson, for instance, the challenge was that the majority of the job seekers community recognized them as a company that makes baby products. However, the American multinational corporation also develops medical devices, and is also in pharmaceutical goods. They had to educate the candidates about each of these verticals and this required personalizing employee value proposition for each vertical.
Digitize for maximum reach & impact
From current employees to past ones, everyone has access to various social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Then come the online review websites like Indeed and Glassdoor, where anyone can comment about their experience in working in a company. Career website is another platform where job seekers come to know more about a company’s culture and its talent practices. The job seekers today put a lot of thought before making their final decision. There is not much employers can control about how candidates do their research. But employers can ensure what content goes on which medium and that they have a presence across all these platforms a job seeker might visit.
“Career website has to be the number one repository of company’s employer brand story. Second is social networks and the third is online review sites. Then there are a lot of online branding solutions that can help employers put their message across to different audiences,” shared Kumar.
Employers must identify these social and digital platforms and leverage them to disseminate the messages and the content that will enhance their employer brand. Besides this, screening the content that is out there on these platforms also helps companies gain more insights about their work culture and practices. They can pick insights from here and revisit their current talent practices or may be attending a pressing issue that went ignored otherwise.
Measuring ROI & setting the priorities
When so much goes into building an employer brand and it doesn’t work, it is disappointing. However, the question is how does one even ascertain how effective their employer brand strategy has been.
Kumar suggests talent leaders to use AIDA Model and focus on four areas Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action right at the planning stage of building their strategy and later on measure based on priorities set right at the start.
Then to measure the effectiveness of your employer branding strategy, engaging with candidates throughout their onboarding journey can help. For instance, Johnson & Johnson, who’s prime focus is on creating awareness among candidates about the various businesses they are into, engages with the candidates once they have joined and learns how their understanding of the company has changed. They differentiate how they defined the brand Johnson and Johnson before and after joining the company.
(The article is based on an exclusive roundtable discussion on the theme, ‘Crafting an employer brand that attracts talent - Digital marketing techniques you should know’, hosted by People Matters and Indeed.)