Employer branding’s role within the recruitment process has evolved in recent years. From being little more than a nice-to-have strategy to one that is now seen as a critical tool to better attract both passive and active job seekers. But what exactly is it and what impact can it have for employers within the care and education sectors?
The recruitment challenge facing employers is well documented, yet research has shown that many of these obstacles can be overcome by those organisations that get their employer branding right. Indeed, in 2014 a study conducted by LinkedIn found that more than 8 in 10 (83%) of employers say employer brand significantly impacts their ability to hire great talent, so it’s important to get it right. So how do you do this?
It’s about communication – the way in which you promote the business both externally and internally (see our previous article on how having an engaged workforce can boost staff retention, motivation and productivity levels).
Taking the external aspect, your employer brand is manifested in the way that you distinguish your organisation from your competition and how you play to your strengths in ensuring the business is seen to be ahead of the game. This then positions you as an ‘employer of choice’.
Your employer brand needs to be aligned to your organisation’s values (your ’employee value proposition’), convey your ‘personality’, and create that ‘I want in’ factor among job seekers. Whilst getting their attention is one thing, prompting candidates to make the decision to knock on your door is quite another.
To encourage the talent of most importance to you to take that critical leap of faith means focusing your messaging on mutually rewarding relationships, such as career and development opportunities or the prospect of playing a leading role in the next stage of the organisation’s evolution.
Recruitment by its very nature is a transactional business – you are ‘selling’ your organisation as an employer of choice and the candidates is selling their ‘potential’ to do a good job for you. But recruitment is also a ‘people’ business, so show off your people to the very people you wish for them to join – it’s never just about the job, its about the colleagues they will work with too.
Indeed, your people are brand ambassadors for your organisation and at a time when employers cannot afford to play a waiting game until the right talent becomes available, they need to use all the tools in their armoury to seek out, attract and entice that talent in a bid to plug the much-needed gaps they have to fill within their organisations.
Ultimately, your employer brand is intended to stir a reaction. That reaction could prompt candidates to apply to work for you over your competition or it could be demonstrated by increased retention rates. This not only reduces staff turnover and the associated recruitment costs, it also improves staff motivation – a critical factor which sees the workforce will buy into the organisation’s vision, share its values and help you to develop and turn great ideas into tangible benefits.
Your goal is to become the employer of choice, so you need to ensure your organisation effectively reflects the characteristics that your employees hold true. Focus on extolling the same values internally that your overall brand promises externally. A strong internal brand that is matched with individual rewards will translate into financial benefits for the business overall – one that is shared and driven by your employees themselves.