Monster’s Global Employer Branding Guide
Employer branding: It’s not just a buzzword. It’s not a nice-to-have or a box to check. Every company has an employer brand. It’s just a question of whether or not they’re managing it.
In a recent Randstad survey, 91% of all candidates said they evaluate a company’s employer brand before applying to a job. So if you’re not paying attention to your employer brand, you can be guaranteed that candidates are.
In a post-COVID-19 world, and with a talent pool that’s increasingly comprised of younger, digitally-savvy candidates, what job seekers say they want from a company is changing: 90% of candidates want companies to have defined COVID-19 protocols, 62% would turn down a job that didn’t value a diverse and inclusive workplace.
A job ad is no longer enough, says Stefan Hobiger, VP Strategy, Solutions & Delivery, Monster. “Candidates – especially Generations X, Y and Z – are making decisions based on relevant information and data,” he says.
Why is employer branding more important today?
For many years prior to the digital age, companies spent a lot of time, energy and money closing the curtain and making sure that candidates knew nothing about what really went on inside the company, says James Ellis, self-proclaimed employer branding nerd, podcaster, and author of “Talent Chooses You.”
“They made sure that candidates never knew how the sausage got made, or what the culture was like, and that they never got any sense of what the company really was,” he says.
The thing that really forced companies to pull back that curtain in the last decade or so was social media. “We’re going to show you everybody who works in our company via LinkedIn, and we’re going to let them say whatever they want to say via Twitter, and we’re going to let them talk about what happens in their outside life via Facebook, and we’re going to let candidates connect the dots,” says Ellis.
That’s why they need to do something to control, or at least steer, the narrative in a positive direction.
Top talent will vet you, so you need to send the right message
If you look to the headlines as inspiration, you’ll have an idea of what can go wrong in employer branding, says Rachel Weingarten, marketing and brand strategist and author of “Career and Corporate Cool.”
“On an incredibly simplified level, think of how Ellen Degeneres went from being the darling of daytime TV to being known as one of the worst employers in daytime TV history,” she says. All it took was a few former employees to come out with stories of how they were mistreated, and then many more followed.
“In this instance, it was a bit more complicated since there was a name and personal brand attached to the employer,” says Weingarten, “but if we think of more corporations in that way, it’s easier to understand how branding can make or break an employer overall.”
Employer branding is necessary for making better candidate matches
“For the longest time, we spent a lot of time and energy and money pushing students to get MBAs so that they could all come out of school with the same thinking process, having read the same books,” says Ellis. You could just stick those candidates into various positions around the company and they were virtually interchangeable, and if one was slightly more effective than another, they would get the promotion.
But that’s not how great work gets done anymore. “Great workers are artists, they’re not cogs,” says Ellis. “And so, you have the realization that individuals should be individuals and people and not cogs and machines. And that’s where employer brand lives.”
In other words, your employer brand should be able to attract a diverse team that will all pull in the same direction. “You hire for who you want the company to be, not just who you are,” says Rod McMillan, B2B Marketing Manager, Monster UK. Employer Branding and your company’s values and culture can attract those aspirational candidates, while also keeping mismatched candidates from wanting to work with you.
What you need to know about employer branding
What is employer branding?
“Employer branding says at this company, we like these things. We reward these things. We talk about these things. This is the person who’s going to feel comfortable. This is the person who’s going to do the best work. And we’re going to put that out like a flare,” says Ellis. From there, some people are going to say, “That sounds horrible,” while other people will say, “Where have you been all my life?” And that’s the ultimate goal of employer branding.
“I always like to think about employer branding as a magnet and a filter,” says Emery. “It’s a magnet to attract the right people, and it’s a filter to remove others from the process.”
Employer branding is not your career site or your job postings, or any one element of your marketing for that matter. It’s also not your “pillars” or your list of “values.” And it’s not your corporate brand. It’s all of the above and more. “Employer brand cannot be a message. It needs to be something that is felt and lived,” says Emery.
How to evaluate and improve your employer branding strategy
A quick and dirty way to do it is to start monitoring your media mentions, says Weingarten. “Are you being talked about or featured in the media? If so, what’s being said about you? What about social media? How do people respond to your outreach? Are you met with positivity overall or snark?”
If you have the budget, you might consider a focus group to answer some questions in an unbiased way to help you understand if your brand creates the desired impression with your target audience, she suggests. “Also, study the way your competitors are perceived and see how you measure up or compare,” she adds.
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