As the global economy grows and the talent market tightens, employers are facing increasing competition for the best workers. To succeed in attracting the best candidates and retaining top talent, organizations must place increased focus on their employment brand.
The World Economic Forum contends that “human capital is critical not only to the productivity of society, but also the functioning of its political, social and civic institutions.” The demand for high-skilled labor is growing faster than supply, with a deficit of 38 to 40 million workers with advanced education worldwide. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) 2017 survey, 77 percent of CEOs say they’re concerned that a shortage of key skills could impact their company’s growth.
In that same PwC survey, 69 percent of CEOs say they are convinced that it’s harder to gain and retain people’s trust in a digital and connected world. Cultivating trust is key to building a strong employer brand and recruiting top talent. An employer brand is a public perception of what it’s like to work for an organization. It’s what job seekers and employees think about when a company’s name is mentioned. With a strong employer brand, organizations can attract the right talent, without relying solely on compensation to improve retention rates.
In the current digital environment, job seekers are inundated with information about your organization – through your marketing, news, blogs and website. Even if your organization consistently puts out strong marketing content to attract talent, job sites like Glassdoor can help or hinder your brand and reputation based on employee reviews. 70 percent of job search candidates will use Glassdoor to help make informed decisions before they commit to their next career move. With so much information available to job seekers, employers need to be engaged with what’s being shared online.
How do you build a culture of trust and improve your employer branding?
1. Give your employees a voice on your blog and social media
The best advertisement you can get for your employer brand is recommendations from your employees; it’s the only form of advertising that is authentic. With the rise of social media, companies are more exposed than ever, whether they want to be or not. Giving your employees a voice empowers engagement and gives them ownership of the brand message.
Allowing your employees to contribute to your blog and social media accounts gives your readers a different perspective. By sharing their knowledge and experience, employees can offer an inside look at what it’s like to work for your organization. According to the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer Study, 62 percent of respondents found a company’s social media more convincing than their advertising. This means that giving an employee a voice and training brand ambassadors is more important than ever.
2. Develop employee ambassadors
Changing the perception of your employer brand does not always require a big budget. One way to build a strong brand is through brand ambassadors – employees who are engaged and connected in your organization and who can share their enthusiasm outside the workplace. To develop an employee ambassador program, you need to make sure that every employee understands and is aware of your key brand messages. Set up workshops to explain your company’s mission, vision and values, share the benefits of being a part of your organization and reiterate the voice and tone of your brand.
To start your brand ambassador program, find a few creative ways to get employees more involved. Companies can set up an employee referral program for open jobs with an incentivized bonus for every successful referral. A referral program gives your employees a bonus for spreading positive word of mouth about your company. Some employees may respond better to social recognition than financial incentives. Companies could also set up a platform for sharing gratitude and social accolades for employees that refer candidates. Another way to reward participants is through charitable gestures. By adding a charity component, a company can drive participation and build a network of charitable ambassadors. Employees can spread positive messages about your organization, recruit talent and make a difference for those in need.
3. Improve your Glassdoor ratings
Another impactful approach to employer branding is asking employees and interns to review your company on Glassdoor. Also, be sure to reply publicly to both positive and critical remarks. It’s important to show others that you take criticism seriously and want to learn to be a better employer. According to a Glassdoor survey, 62 percent of candidates in the U.S. agree their perception of a company improves after seeing an employer respond to a review.
Building your Glassdoor account and obtaining an OpenCompany profile could also boost your rating and make your organization more transparent. To get an OpenCompany profile, you need to accomplish a few tasks on your Glassdoor account. As an organization, you need to update the company profile, add at least 10 photos, get reviewed by job candidates or employees, respond to those reviews and promote your Glassdoor profile with a badge on your website or blog. Accomplish those steps, and you will be among the handful of companies that have obtained the OpenCompany transparency badge on Glassdoor.
4. Digitize your brand strategy, and put mobile first
It is important to stay up-to-date on the digital technologies used for attracting the best talent. As these technologies gain even more momentum, they are profoundly changing the strategic context of employer branding. A study by Employer Branding International found that social media is the top communication medium, used by 76 percent of companies for communicating the employer brand, but only 45 percent of companies are using a mobile-optimized website.
The prevalence of smartphones and tablets means that we now have a massive audience of mobile job seekers. In addition, Generation Z is now entering the workforce and has no knowledge of life without a smartphone. For this generation, life is about being connected; sharing, searching and interacting with other consumers. As Generation Z candidates apply for jobs, they will have a different expectation for how they will communicate with potential employers. Having a strong brand with a mobile-optimized website is the first step to reaching these candidates.
As the talent market tightens around the globe, mobile optimization, social media, employee values and online ratings are growing more important for improving employer brands.