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3 easy ways to improve your employer branding

Attracting and retaining the right talent is an important part of any business, especially those that are expanding quickly. Yet, as the fight to entice and retain talent gets tougher, maintaining a strong talent pipeline has never been so necessary.

The route to attracting and retaining talent lies in creating a successful employer brand – appealing to potential employees who are considering working for your organisation.

Those companies who take a long-term approach to investing in employer branding and align with long-term business needs are the ones who'll edge ahead of the competition. This relies on two of the most important internal teams to work together; first, HR, who’s responsibility it is to drive the company’s people strategy, which ensures employees are brought into the company. Second, the marketing department, who will ensure HR’s messages reach its intended audience across multiple channels.

Fostering brand ambassadors

A recent LinkedIn survey found that the number one obstacle for job seekers changing jobs is 'not knowing what it’s really like to work at the company'. There's often doubt that the image a company portrays on its website or across its social channels isn’t necessarily the real picture.

However, identifying those employees who believe in the company’s purpose and values (and who will shout about it on channels like Glassdoor and LinkedIn) will help in attracting other employees like them. This is called a brand ambassador. What’s more, we know customers respond best to working with people who care about the company’s culture, ethos and delivery, which is why brand ambassadors also play a key role in keeping clients loyal to your business.

A great employer brand also relies on and promotes a great culture, reputation, and a strong hiring process. Adidas is a great example of a company that has clearly identified the link between their employer brand and candidate experience to keep, what could be a complex business strategy, lean, simple and fast. Employees are empowered by the purpose 'Through Sport, we have the power to change lives', which also underpins its entire employer brand promise. This sets the tone for all employer brand strategy, bringing to life the brand's unique culture of fostering the potential of its people.

Get it wrong, there’s a clear negative impact – but get it right and you’ve turned your employer brand into a highly effective business asset.

Keeping things agile

Increasingly, businesses – especially the more agile tech companies like Rackspace and Intuit – are making a clearer connection between their customer and employer brands, and their overall brand purpose. And this permeates every corner of their business, from their internal strategies, all the way through to their external channels. In Rackspace’s case, its employees, or as they call them, ‘Rackers’, form the basis of their customer offering. You don’t just buy a managed cloud service, you buy into the company's people and expertise, and this is what sets it apart from other cloud companies out there.

Similarly, companies such as AXA, in its attempt to capitalise on the growing InsurTech space, have a well-thought-out and integrated employer brand strategy, with clear targeting to the demographics they wanted to attract. Its Great Global Adventure initiative, which gave one graduate the opportunity to travel the world, undertaking two international internships with AXA and getting involved in a corporate responsibility project. The winner has now been permanently hired, and made way for another graduate to embark on the same adventure. This programme increased the size of their graduate talent pool with minimal investment and collaboration with marketing.

AXA Announces the Great Global Adventure 2016

For technology companies, the main considerations for employer branding should be to make the hiring process agile, quick and collaborative, which will in turn help in building a strong talent pipeline.

It all starts with an interview

Of course, before a company considers hiring new candidates, it’s important to make sure whoever is interviewing a candidate is trained in doing so – whether that in Neuro-Linguistic Programming or behavioural-based interviewing. The interviewer is the window into that company’s ethos and working environment, so it’s important to make sure they clearly reflect the brand values. If your organisation’s interview process turns candidates off, they will no doubt find other opportunities.

Companies must get better at telling their story and presenting a clearly defined employee proposition. Historically, hiring propositions were more focused on the basics like salaries or travel opportunities. Whereas with today’s workforce, a prospective employee views the company in a more holistic fashion and needs to feel engaged by what the brand does and stands for from the very beginning. Once an effective employer branding strategy is in place, it will become a lot easier to attract and retain the talent your business needs.