What is employer branding?
Employer branding is the process of positioning your company as the employer of choice to a target group of potential candidates.
An employer brand refers to the perception your current and potential employees have of your company. As an action, employer branding involves deliberately establishing your company’s values, work culture, and personality to ensure they align with your ideal candidates’ aspirations.
Employer branding is not about misleading people into thinking that a company is better than it actually is. It is about defining your unique employee value proposition:
What unique set of benefits do you offer employees in return for the skills, capabilities, and experience they’ll bring to your company?
Your employer brand is made up of every touchpoint you have with candidates and employees, from the first messages you send to candidates, to your employees’ exit interviews.
Creating an authentic and positive employer brand requires a lot of work, but it pays off. In this comprehensive guide, we cover everything you need to know to build a strong employer brand.
Employer branding vs. recruitment marketing
Many HR professionals use the terms “employer branding” and “recruitment marketing” interchangeably. Is there a difference?
These terms are closely interconnected; both have to do with your company’s reputation as an employer. The main difference is that:
→ Employer branding is the process of defining and positioning who you are.
→ Recruitment marketing is about communicating who you are as an employer.
As your foundation, employer branding comes first. Think of recruitment marketing as another term for promoting your employer brand.
The importance of employer branding in recruitment
Companies worldwide are already working on improving their employer brands. You don’t want to be left behind. Here are 3 reasons why employer branding is so important for any recruitment strategy:
Compete in the war for talent
A company is only as great as its people. And great people want to be associated with leading brands.
Recruiters are now taking a more proactive approach to attract and find the best candidates—including those who aren’t actively job searching. While it may seem impossible to compete with huge companies with prominent brand names, employer branding can actually be your secret weapon to attract top candidates.
A strong employer brand is twice as likely to be linked to job consideration compared to a strong company brand, according to LinkedIn research. That means developing your employer brand can help you level the playing field in the war for talent. This is especially important when hiring younger and more junior demographics, on a global scale.
Retain your best employees
Employees working at companies with strong employer brands are more invested and present lower turnover rates.
And more productive employees means more business growth. Happy employees feel proud to be part of their company and can become brand ambassadors. For instance, they could refer you to good-fit candidates and create a positive impression through word of mouth. This alone can help to improve your employer brand without increasing your marketing spendings.
Quick tip: Beyond the recruitment process, employer branding is also important for acquiring and retaining customers. People want to work with companies that treat their employees right. A poor employer brand might have them question your reliability and trustworthiness.
Reduce cost per hire
Companies with a weak employer brand report spending almost double on cost per hire than companies with a strong employer brand, according to LinkedIn research. What’s more, some companies even spend more on employee wages to compensate for their bad reputation. But the majority of job seekers would still completely rule out companies with a negative employer brand. As an example, HBR reports that a 10% salary raise would only tempt 28% of job seekers.
Employer branding is a smart business investment. Whereas a bad reputation costs you quality applicants, a great employer brand means you can spend less on recruiting costs because people will naturally find and apply to your open positions.
Employer branding statistics
Getting started with employer branding
- What do you do?
- What makes your company credible?
- What’s your value proposition for job seekers?
- Why are you the best employer? How do you differ from your competitors?
- How do you treat your current employees? How can you improve their employee experience?
- How will your future employees find out about you?
- What do you need to succeed?
- How are you going to promote your employer brand? What channels will you use?
- How are you going to measure your employer brand?
How to improve employer branding
1. Make employer branding a central part of your HR strategy
Building a strong employer branding strategy is a long term plan.
And if you want to succeed, you can’t treat it as an afterthought. Prioritize building your employer brand with your team and make recruitment marketing a key component of your overall HR strategy.
2. Keep your employees happy
A conflict between your organization and an employee can tarnish your employer brand.
When they feel like they are in the right, employees hesitate a lot less to go public with horrifying work stories nowadays. And whether it is through word of mouth or on social media, negative comments about your company can spread like wildfire and have the power to ruin your reputation.
The best way to avoid such a scenario, besides ensuring that all your colleagues behave appropriately in the work environment, is to keep your current employees happy and maintain good relations with your ex-employees.
3. Keep your candidates happy
Job seekers can also spread the word about a negative candidate experience.
For this reason, you need to ensure that your organization is able to offer a high-quality candidate experience, to all candidates, throughout the entirety of the hiring process.
Extra tip: Candidates need organizations to be transparent. Keep your candidates up to date, and share feedback to let them know what they need to improve.
4. Embrace storytelling
Craft a meaningful story about your company and work culture to help potential candidates connect with your brand.
You wouldn’t have a company without your people. Showcase your employees’ success stories through videos, via blog posts on your career page, or your social accounts. Instagram and the proximity it creates with the audience is ideal for this.
In other words, tell a good story to show that your organization is a great place to work at.
5. Show your values by doing something to benefit a cause
Volunteering or donating to a cause tells people what your company cares about.
For example, Holvi organized a free Python course for complete beginners in collaboration with The Shortcut, and F-Secure organized a free cybersecurity course with the University of Helsinki and MOOC.
Also in collaboration with the University of Helsinki, Reaktor offers a series of free online courses about AI called The Elements of AI. All these companies showcase their values while making friends with like-minded organizations.
If you’re short of ideas, ask your colleagues! They will most likely get back to you with a ton of topics that they hold dear.
6. Be present and active on social media
Social media is one of the most relevant channels to promote your employer brand — especially when recruiting Millennials and Gen Z.
In most cases, however, LinkedIn is generally the best platform to reach potential candidates. We highly recommend sharing Employee-Generated Content and testimonials on your LinkedIn Career Page to drive interest in your company.
If you’re hosting or attending an event, consider live streaming on Instagram or Facebook.
Extra tip: people love to interact for and with their organization. Involving your current employee in strengthening your employer brand will contribute to increasing your employee retention rates.
7. Engage the management team
Employer branding is a team effort.
It’s essential to get your company stakeholders involved in building your employer brand. You should also be able to rely on your management team to promote your employer brand key messages on social media.
8. Share the responsibility
Strong brands emerge from collective efforts.
Support all your employees to be active on social media, and provide social media training if necessary, as not everyone knows how to properly use social media. What’s more, providing training will help you to make sure that employees follow strict brand guidelines when sharing content with their networks. It is key to build a strong and consistent brand.
9. Make friends with like-minded companies
United, we grow stronger.
We all get by with a little help from our friends. That includes other companies too. Build and nurture relationships with like-minded companies that share your values, or values you want to be associated with.
One way to do this is to amplify your friend companies’ messages on social media by engaging with them. Leave relevant comments and spur conversations! Alternatively, you can host events together if your target audiences are compatible.
10. Host and attend public events
Always be transparent.
Arrange an open house day or an event in a relevant learning institution that will connect you with your target candidates and show your company image in a positive light.
11. Practice empathy
When you’re wading through hundreds of resumes, it can be easy to forget what the process feels like from the candidate’s perspective.
Keep empathy at the heart of everything you do to create meaningful connections with candidates through your various brand touchpoints, both online and offline.
Putting yourself in their shoes will significantly improve the candidate experience, help you get to know your candidates better, spot warning signs that they’re not the right fit, and ultimately find the right match.
How to drive your employer brand with video content
1. Create employer branding videos
Consider creating and sharing employer branding videos to show potential candidates what your company is all about. You can interview employees, do an office tour, show what a typical day at your company is like, share your annual sports day, showcase your company’s vision as a story—or something different altogether.
Either way, make sure you’re providing relevant and insightful information about your company culture and that you’re speaking to the types of candidates you want to attract.
To increase your reach, share your videos on different channels including:→ Your career page
→ Your company and employees’ social media platforms (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
→ Instagram through IGTV, stories, and highlights
2. Add videos to job ads
Have you considered adding videos to your job ads? You could use a video instead of a written job ad, or use it to complement your existing ad.
For instance, you and your team could introduce yourselves and the role via short videos. That way, you’ll be able to share a glimpse of what makes your company culture so unique and strengthen your image as an employer in the process.
Extra tip: Be natural and portray an honest message of your company and the role. You don’t want to give candidates unrealistic expectations.
3. Use pre-recorded video interviews
Candidates love pre-recorded video interviews. It gives them a unique opportunity to shine and stand out right from the screening process.
In other words, using pre-recorded video interviews in recruitment will help you improve the candidate experience. Even if you don’t end up hiring a candidate, you want to offer them a smooth experience.
The screening process is a key employer branding touchpoint so you want to get it right.
Pre-recorded video interviews also allow you to be seen as a modern and attractive recruiter, which can spread positive word of mouth about your company.
4. Send video messages
Have you ever communicated with candidates through video messages? If you’re using an ATS with a video interviewing platform, you can send direct video messages to candidates instead of sending cold and boring emails.
Video messages allow you to better engage candidates and provide more information with little effort. You can send informative messages letting candidates know about the next steps in the recruitment process, or include questions and ask candidates to respond.
Depending on what you have to say, you can send these videos to individual candidates, a selection of a few lucky ones, or a large candidate pool.
10 model employer branding examples to follow
Gant links to a variety of videos on their career page to introduce the CEO, show what life is like at the store, share wellness activities, highlight employee stories, and more.
"Humans of Eficode"
Rather than telling visitors about their company culture and values, Eficode communicates the message by showing who their employees are. Their career page features blog posts written by employees on a variety of topics from “How to write a thesis while working part-time” to “10 tips for a happy work/life in Stockholm.” Eficode shares employer branding videos on their social media and career page, including a “Humans of Eficode” series. While there’s a general assumption that developers aren’t willing to be featured in video content, Eficode proves this theory wrong.
"Reaktor Career Stories"
Reaktor calls its employee career stories “A letter from your future colleague.” These personal, authentic messages are more memorable than a generic paragraph about the company culture. They allow Reaktor’s future employees to connect with current team members, as many employees invite visitors to personally reach out to them.
Reaktor also promotes their employer brand through video and they use video interviews to get in touch with a large number of candidates and allow them to shine.
"Slice of urban life"
Kone’s employer branding video shares the company’s values, vision, and purpose simply and honestly. In just over a minute, Kone portrays their company in a positive light without trying too hard to impress candidates.
Futurice’s career page links to blog posts that give a clear picture of what it’s like working for them. They also link to their culture handbook with employee photos and real-life examples of what the onboarding process looks like to ensure there are no surprises.Visit their career page
"#SheRules: International Women's Day"
Netflix uses a loop video on the header of their career page and shares their latest videos, including one showcasing their female employees’ experiences for International Women’s Day.
Their famous company culture documenthas also been viewed over 16 milliontimes—Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg described it as “the most important document ever to come out of the Valley.
On their career page, Spotify shares everything a candidate would want to know before joining the team—from open positions, to company values, to benefits, and more!
Spotify also found a creative way to invite a candidate to join their team—they sent a playlist where the songs spelled out a hidden message.
"Working at Dropbox"
Dropbox’s career page promotes transparency by linking to photos of their head office space, their benefits and perks, and their Glassdoor reviews. In their 2015 employer branding video, Dropbox took a playful approach to showcase their company culture.
How to measure employer branding
Employer branding is an ongoing process. You need to continuously monitor your progress to keep making improvements.
But what employer brand metrics should you follow? In reality, there’s not one right way to measure your employer branding progress.The methods vary depending on what you’re trying to achieve
Here are 6 handpicked ideas to help you get started:
Conduct eNPS surveys
One useful method to measure employee satisfaction and loyalty is the Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS). Like the NPS, eNPS involves asking your employees how likely they are to recommend your company as an employer on a scale from 1-10.
If your existing employees would recommend you as an employer, you’ll have an easier time convincing target candidates to apply.
Analyze data from employee surveys and exit interviews
Is your company experiencing low morale and high staff turnover? If you’re trying to retain more employees, you’ll want to find out exactly what’s causing dissatisfaction.
Collect employee feedback through internal data like surveys and exit interviews. Ask them what they think of your benefits program, a new change in leadership, or anything else going on at your company, and identify trends.
Measure the cost of one recruitment
Monitor your cost per hire to see if your employer branding efforts are paying off. Over time, you should be attracting more and more candidates organically through social media or word of mouth. And these methods will cost you a lot less.
Measure quality of hire
Beyond just the cost, you need to understand the quality of the candidates you’re attracting. But measuring quality can be tricky. Should you consider manager satisfaction or statistical KPIs?
One way to go about it is to look at KPIs that tell you about employee success. These metrics will help you make better decisions or improve processes to avoid repeating the same hiring mistakes. For example, look at performance objective metrics and profit contribution per employee to track how new hires are meeting your expectations.
Monitor social media activity
What are people saying about your company online?
Track mentions and interactions in your social media channels to understand how people feel about you as an employer.
Since your current employees are the key messengers of your employer brand, you also want to measure their social activity. Monitor how their personal networks grow and track engagement statistics.
Measure the candidate experience
You should be able to appreciate the quality of the experience you offer to the candidates in your hiring process. But how exactly can you measure their experience?
Some recruiting teams have formal KPIs to measure the candidate experience while others just go by anecdotal feedback. Similar to an employee survey, you can conduct a regular candidate survey and ask whether the image of your company has improved or worsened throughout the recruitment process.
Employer branding tools and technologies
Employer branding is more about people than it is about technology. Still, technology is driving the transformation of work and you’ll need a few tools in your belt to build a strong employer brand.
Survey tools make it easy to collect employee and candidate feedback and analyze their experiences. You can use free tools like Typeform, Survey Monkey, and Google Forms. Examples of more comprehensive survey platforms include Survale, 15Five, and Qualtrics.
Social media management and listening tools
Sharing content through your social media accounts is a crucial way to promote your employer brand. Using social media management tools like Buffer and Hootsuite save you time since you can schedule posts and analyze performance in one central place.
These tools and others also allow you to set up social listening. You can enable alerts to be notified when someone mentions your brand. Social listening allows you to monitor your brand reputation online and easily engage and interact with the people who are talking about you.
Consider your career page as a tool to boost your employer brand. A powerful career page will help you attract right-fit candidates while you sleep. Make sure you provide the information job seekers need, show off your company personality, and optimize the page for mobile.
Video recruitment platform
Pre-recorded video interviews are great for your employer brand. They will help you to better engage with candidates and modernize your hiring process. According to our 2020 Candidate Survey, 82.4% of candidates are satisfied with video interviewing as a recruitment method.
During the screening process, video interviews not only give you a better picture of the candidate, they also give candidates a better view of your company. By allowing you and the candidate to see whether the role is right for them, video interviews help you avoid unnecessary in-person interviews.
Strengthen your employer brand with Recright
Using modern recruitment tools helps you build a sustainable employer brand that adapts to the changing world of work.
Recright is a video recruitment platform that has helped over 400 companies worldwide attract right-fit candidates and showcase their company culture through video interviews. It makes the screening process more human and promotes a smooth recruiter and candidate experience.
Conduct video interviews with ease using our ATS, or integrate video interviews into your existing system.
Employer branding and recruitment: A few extra resources