Employer branding lessons B2B companies need to pay attention to

Stephen Pritchard, writing for job search website Adzuna, explains why even B2B companies need to invest in employer branding 

Today’s CEOs and business leaders are legitimately concerned about the limited availability of talent at their disposal. In fact, 38% of global employers surveyed in the ManpowerGroup’s Annual Talent Shortage Survey reported difficulty in filling jobs, the highest percentage since 2007.

In order to remain competitive, businesses must position themselves as leaders in their field who look after and value their employees.

In other words, they must establish a positive employer brand ​when looking to recruit and retain the very best.

So, what exactly is employer branding?

To put it simply, it’s the process of marketing a business as the employer of note within a certain industry, with a view to attracting the most talented candidates in their field in order to develop and sustainably grow as a business.

As an employer, you need to create an environment conducive to professional growth and development, work/life balance, and high morale.

To do this effectively, you must ask yourself the following:

Would I Work Here?

American industrialist J. Paul Getty famously said “the employer generally gets the employees he deserves.” It's therefore beneficial to take a step back and ask yourself “would I work here?” When you ask yourself that question does your chest swell with pride, or do you feel rather sheepish about the morale of your workforce and the opportunities available to them?

Due to the amplifying nature of social media, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for businesses to hide if they’re not doing enough to support the development of their employees. You must adopt an employee first focus.

Lesson Learned: ​As one of the largest software companies in the world, it’s only natural Microsoft are competing for talent across a wide spectrum of disciplines. Their revamped careers website gives proud employees a platform to provide candidates with a real insight into what it’s like to work there, while their dedicated Twitter account keeps potential recruits up to date with new opportunities.

Do We Have A Strong Company Culture?

It’s simple really: to attract talent you must be able to retain talent, and to do that you must give your employees a sense of purpose. Be prepared to look inwardly at your company’s culture and reassess if necessary.

Your company culture should include your mission statement, beliefs, systems and work habits. Illustrating an altruistic streak and showing that you’re prepared to give back to the world can show both current and potential employees alike that your business values more than just sales.

Lesson Learned: ​Creative software giant ​Adobe are a terrific example of a company who effectively showcase their corporate social responsibility, giving candidates a real sense of its values and how the company impacts the wider world beyond the sale of its products.

Are Our Strategies Aligned?

Your corporate strategy shouldn’t stray too far from your employer brand. If your focus is solely on maximising shareholder profits to the detriment of your other stakeholders (employees and customers in particular) then this will shine through.

At the heart of it, your customers want to know that they’re dealing with a company that treats its employees well.

Lesson Learned: ​Richard Branson may be a master of PR stunts, but it’s the announcement of initiatives such as offering full pay for parental leave that has positioned the Virgin Group as one of the UK’s most popular businesses. Their employees can answer the “who do you work for?” question with pride, while their customers are happy in the knowledge that Virgin’s staff are well looked after. Win win.

Few people worth hiring will be content working for a cold, faceless organisation. As a B2B, it’s extra-important that your employer brand should highlight the human side to your business and prove to candidates that they have an exciting and rewarding future to look forward to as part of your team.