When Competition for Talent is Fierce, Your Employer Brand Matters

The most recent economic and employment reports indicate that hiring is starting to pick up speed, and you know what that means, right? The competition for talent is about to get really fierce. Are you ready?

Hopefully, you know what talent you will need in the next few months, and you’re ready to offer a competitive salary and benefits package, but if all other elements are relatively equal, why would a prospective employee choose your company instead of another firm that is also making them an offer? Consider this: 91% of candidates say that an employer’s brand plays a key role in whether or not they have an interest in working for the company, according to SmartRecruiters.

So, what is an employer brand anyway? The contemporary definition is, “the active management of a company’s image, as it is seen through the eyes of its current and prospective employees.”

As the competition for top talent grows increasingly fierce, the topic of employer branding is weaving its way into C-suite conversations, as leadership’s awareness of the business benefits derived from developing and implementing strategies to ensure success is increasing. This means that executives understand that a company’s ability to attract talent often times exceeds the quality of the jobs offered alone, and is based on elements like corporate brand personality, perception, honesty, respect, citizenship, reliability and security.

In fact, the 2014 Employer Branding Global Trends Study Report, conducted annually by Employer Brand International, indicated that 65% of more than 1,100 organizations surveyed in 19 countries are planning to increase or maintain their current investment in employer branding initiatives this year.

If your company currently lacks an employer branding strategy, or if you’re currently lagging behind in your employer branding efforts, here are a few great places to start:

Listen to Your Current Employees – Your employees have the power to be your biggest brand ambassadors to candidates, and often have a profound effect on the candidates that your organization attracts. You can find out what your current employees think and feel about working within your organization through a basic employee engagement survey. There are dozens of examples on the Internet that you can find through a simple Google search to help you get started. The results will tell you both your strengths and your weaknesses, and will likely help you find a path to differentiate your employer brand.

Fix Whatever is Broken – The insights that result from surveying your employees should be utilized to either develop or adjust your employer branding strategy. While most companies agree that the HR department tends to drive the strategy, 36% of the companies surveyed in the Employer Brand International report indicated that teams of HR and communications professionals typically work together to manage and implement the overall strategy. Additionally, more than 80% of companies reported that strong and engaging leadership at the senior management level is critical to successfully achieving employer branding objectives.

Build on Your Strengths – Part of what makes a company a great place to work is its people, which is why it’s important to cultivate a culture that engages your staff and ensures they understand their role and importance to the company’s success. You can facilitate positive interaction across all areas of your organization in a number of ways, including:

  • Bringing the people of your company together to celebrate company, department and individual achievements and milestones
  • Conducting company-wide meetings to review the company’s performance, discuss your business initiatives and seek employee involvement and buy-in
  • Participating in efforts to help in give back to your local community as a group
  • Conducting regular performance appraisals that are focused on developing their skills and helping employees to advance in their careers

Tell Your Story – Your employer brand will not be effective in helping you to compete if no one knows about it. Be sure to include your brand messaging in all of your recruiting materials, on your website and social media sites.

As competition for top talent continues to intensify, make sure your organization is set up to succeed with a strong employer brand and an engaged workforce that can help you find and secure the talent you need.