What is Employer Branding?

In 2018, the competition for top talent and retaining your employees is fierce. One way to position yourself in front of job seekers? Through strategic employer branding efforts – discover how to get started.

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What is Employer Branding?

As technology continues to transform and expedite the way we work, the job market for relevant, adaptable skills is evolving at a parallel clip. However, modern employers are struggling to keep up with that pace when it comes to retaining and hiring great candidates. In fact, there are now officially more job openings than unemployed workers, meaning that candidates are in the driver’s seat when it comes to having their pick of job opportunities. While exciting job descriptions matter, modern workers are increasingly looking for companies that promote social good, have a meaningful value set, and foster relationship between employees through events and learning opportunities. The race for top talent is fierce — but there’s a way to stay top of mind for job seekers and it’s through a little strategy called employer branding.

What’s exciting about this reality is that work and life are more blended today than ever before, so the opportunity to highlight how your company mixes the two is significant. We have dinner with coworkers, we connect again online when we’re home. We volunteer together, attend sports events, and even create clubs with one another to foster relationships around shared values. How you share these things is what will set your company apart from the rest.

In Mary Meeker’s Annual Internet Trends Report, she reveals that more people today have access to the internet than those who do not, and with that, access to everything about your company including details on physical workspaces, perks, benefits, management styles and interview reviews are ubiquitous. If not tended to, online forums can present your recruiting efforts with an uphill battle. To prevent negative online commentary, building and nurturing a genuine employer brand can do some of this very important work for you. Keep reading to discover what employer branding means, how it relates to growing your business, and ways to excite your team so they feel empowered to be your greatest company evangelists.

What is an Employer Brand?

Your employer brand is the persona through which your employees and the public perceive your company values, business goals, and personalities of your workplace. A company’s employer brand manifests itself in many ways, but today can mainly be found through employee social media activity, public participation in current events, support of initiatives like volunteering, and of course the industry that your business is aiming to enhance.

When a job seeker visits your website, what do they see? Is it all sales information and product details? Is it difficult to find your careers page and company story? If yes, reconsider how you position these things; while emphasizing the success of your customers is hugely important, shining a light on the employees who make those wins come to life is equally critical. Afterall, customers love working with employees that are happy, engaged, and excited to deliver a great experience.

The Importance of Employer Branding

Unemployment rates in the states are at the lowest they’ve been in 8 years, clocking in at just below 5%. What does this mean for your business? Well – many things actually, but first and foremost, it means that the competition for top talent is on, and that candidates are in the driver’s seat when it comes to deciding between potential employers. In 2018, job seekers are more discerning when it comes to evaluating perks and processes like the availability of flexible work, career mapping and volunteering activities. After all, work and life are more intertwined today than ever before, so it’s imperative that you showcase your support of employees blending these work-life facets as it works for them.

You see, employer branding today matters, and the reasons are multiple. Studies show that more than ever, millennials find significant value in joining a company that aligns with their personal values. Does the company have a VTO policy (paid time off for volunteering)? Do they host a bring your child to work day? Do you host learning and development sessions or offer an education stipend? The ways in which you can market your employer value set are multiple. Showcasing those values on sites like Glassdoor, Twitter, Instagram and beyond offer the world outside of your office doors an idea what it’s like to be on your team from 9-5.

What is an employer value proposition?

As you sit at your desk today, do you feel confident in your company’s value proposition? Do you have absolutely zero clue of what it might be? Consider your answer, and figure out what that means for your employer brand.

If you haven’t yet built an employer brand, check out our Employee Handbook that will help you brainstorm ways to create your own.

6 Quick Tips to Get the Ball Rolling on Crafting a Great Employer Brand:

  • Enable evangelists to share their stories: Showcase employee life by building an employee blog (check out Zenefits’ here for an example of what this could look like). Create a standardized set of questions for employees to answer to help get them started such as:
  • What have you learned in your role?
  • What project are you most proud of having completed to date?
  • Where do they hope to improve?

By encouraging a transparent dialog around work experiences, you’ll position yourself as a supportive, development-oriented employer. There’s no better way to highlight what life is like at a company than through your team itself.

  • Give guidelines: People like guardrails. Does the thought of encouraging your whole company to post online sound daunting? Have no fear – socialize the idea of building an employer brand as a collective effort, and solicit participants. Give recommendations on social sharing should ideally look like and offer tips, suggestions, and things to stay away from when it comes to speaking about your company. For instance, remind your team that posting with inappropriate language may not be best when it comes to sharing about your business.
  • Create a tag or unanimous team name: Consider your company name. How do you address your team as a whole? Come up with a fun nickname for your community, and run with it. Doing so humanizes your brand and allows employees to feel closer to leadership and other teams cross-functionally. Here at Zenefits, we refer to our internal team as ZenNation.
  • Unite your teams around social good: Find a local cause to volunteer at together, host a penny war for a fundraiser, or organize a bake-off. Hosting small but fun (and low budget!) events set your company apart from your neighbors in the building. Unifying teams creates fulfilled employees, and it can be really simple to jump start.
  • Host a headshot day: Note – this does not need to be an expensive endeavor! Chances are, someone at your company is a photography hobbyist and could help you get started. Set up one room with a white wall, send out a sign up sheet and play some music to have fun with it. Once complete, encourage everyone to update their LinkedIns, email accounts and other social profiles with their new glamour shots. You’ll be surprised to learn how jazzed people get on new photos!

The above tips will cascade into employees sharing with friends, family and other communities about their work experience. With work increasingly woven into various aspects of our lives, the way you equip your team to share this story is critical. To continue building your great business, be sure to prioritize your employer brand, and the positive effects will flow from there.

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