Building a strong employer branding program takes time and effort — and it’s not something that becomes a smash hit overnight.
For most companies, the benefits that an effective employer branding program brings about make the effort worthwhile. From attracting top talent to boosting employee morale to building trust and credibility with consumers, employee branding definitely has its perks.
But, for it to be truly effective, you need to be willing and able to put the required time, energy, and resources into it. And some companies, unfortunately, won’t be able to do so.
So, how do you know if setting up an employer branding program is the right move for your company? This article will explain the importance of employer branding, plus provide three tips to help ensure your employer branding program is a success.
What is An Employer Branding Program?
First, let’s start with employer branding itself, which is “how you market your company to job seekers and internal employees” — essentially, it’s a combination of your reputation with outside parties and your employees’ perception of you as an employer.
Thus, employer branding is how you not only attract talented, experienced new employees, but also how you retain your top-performing existing employees. So, if done right, an employer branding program allows you to nurture both existing and future talent.
But what does a good employer branding program look like? Ideally, it should be run by a cross-functional team, with members from HR, Content, and Social Media departments.
It’s up to the HR members to set the tone for the program — lay out the goals, identify who they want to reach, and decide what they want the impact to be. Furthermore, as the department with the best understanding of each employee’s interests and background, they should conduct the internal outreach to identify willing participants.
After that, content and social media managers should work together closely to:
choose appropriate topics
schedule posting times/dates
share the content with participants
gather & analyze data on the program’s progress
In most employer branding programs, employees share content related to their company on their personal social media profiles — most frequently on LinkedIn. Typical content includes blog posts, videos, personal testimonials, links to gated content, and more.
However, there’s no one “right” way to set up an employer branding program. For it to be effective, it needs to be true to your company ethos. Does it feel more natural to have each participant write their own posts and have them checked by the content manager? That works, too!
It’s up to each company to decide how they want to organize their employer branding program. However, there needs to be support and guidance from a core team in order for the program to be successful.
How Does Employer Branding Benefit A Company?
As previously mentioned, employer branding benefits companies in a few important ways.
First, it allows you to attract the interest of top talent by showcasing your company as a dynamic, exciting, enjoyable place to work. When choosing to apply for a role at a company, almost everyone investigates their website and social media profiles.
And what they find can have a huge impact on whether or not they actually apply. Let’s say they find a website full of heartfelt employee testimonials, an entire landing page dedicated to company culture and diversity & inclusion, and handfuls of employee advocacy LinkedIn posts promoting your brand’s content. That’s a huge green light for most people.
On the other hand, let’s say a potential employee searches your brand on LinkedIn and finds nothing but occasional posts about new product releases? Nothing positive from employees, nothing on your website about brand values. Do you think they’ll be overly eager to apply?
Additionally, when your employees are willing to act as ambassadors and post about your company for free — gaining attention from potentially important people within their networks — you don’t have to spend as much on marketing. Whether you’re saving money on paid job postings or social ads — you’re getting free traffic. That’s a win-win.
Another huge benefit of employer branding is that it helps foster a strong company culture. People want to work for brands that have a positive, motivating work environment. By setting up a program that gives your employees agency and makes them feel like part of a team, you create a warmer working environment.
Plus, when employees feel included and appreciated, they’re more likely to share their positive experiences with their networks.
Pro Tip: Make sure you take a good look at your company culture before rolling out an employer branding program. If you find discontentment or negative feelings, you make want to address them before you ask employees to promote you on their personal profiles.
Finally, employer branding plays an important role in how consumers view your company. These days, potential customers are looking at more than just your prices and products — they’re also considering your brand values, the way you treat your employees, and how well you present to the world.
Creating a strong employer branding program — one that highlights your top qualities as a company — is a great way to show consumers that you’re a brand that cares about more than just profits.
In fact, according to the 2020 Consumer Culture Report, 71% of consumers actually prefer buying from brands that align with their values. So, let’s say one of your brand values is fostering a healthy environment. This is a stellar value — and one that many modern consumers will connect with.
But how do you show this to consumers in a way that is genuine and believable? That’s where your employer branding program comes in. By having your employees willingly post about how great their work/life balance is, all the initiatives your company offers, and more — you can show consumers that your brand stands behind its values in a tangible way.
This, in turn, leads to stronger brand trust — which also supports greater brand loyalty.
How To Know If An Employer Branding Program Is Right For Your Company
Now that you’re aware of what it entails to run a successful employer branding program and the benefits it can provide, you’re ready to set one up, right?
Well, before you do, ask yourself the following questions:
Do we have enough personnel to run this program effectively? This includes:
1-2 HR employees
1-3 Content Managers
1-2 Social Media Managers
Does the chosen personnel have enough time to organize, create, and manage a full-time employer branding program?
Do we have enough employees with social media presence who’d be willing to participate?
If you didn’t answer with a confident “yes” to each of these questions, it may not be the right time to launch your employer branding program. That doesn’t mean it’s completely off the table, just that you should spend some time gathering the necessary resources before you begin in earnest.
An employer branding program can have incredible benefits if run correctly — don’t lose your chance to reap the rewards because you dove in unprepared.
3 Tips To Run A More Successful Employer Branding Program
To set up a successful employer branding strategy, you need to be willing to invest the time and energy necessary to define realistic goals, nurture your participants, and ensure that all content aligns with your employer value proposition.
We'll break down each of these tips below.
1. Set Realistic Goals
The quickest way to tank your employer branding program? Setting lofty, unrealistic goals that make it look ineffective.
Like any other new program or campaign, you have to be willing to set realistic goals in order to grow. If your Q2 goals are to reduce recruitment costs by 25% & assist in the hiring of 5 new employees, increase website traffic by 30%, and increase your employee engagement by 20%... you might want to take a step back and rethink your approach.
There’s a chance that a well-planned, strong employer branding program could do all of those things. Just, maybe not at the same time. For your employer branding program to be effective and long-lasting, you need to set your priorities early on.
Let’s say, to begin with, you want to increase employee engagement by 10% because you know that increased employee engagement can lead to more website traffic and the identification of possible new talent in the long run.
As time goes on and your program proves successful, then you can start adding on more complex goals. But steer clear of going over the top at the very beginning, as you’ll just set yourself up for failure.
2. Recruit Willing Participants
This may seem like a given, but you’d be surprised how difficult it can be for some companies to find willing participants. Everything from a reluctance to post on their personal profiles to a lack of social media altogether can impact employees’ willingness to take part.
This can be quite frustrating for those running the employer branding program, but it’s just part of the challenge. Ultimately, forcing employees to be part of your employer branding program is not the way to go. For a program like this to be successful, you need willing (and excited) participants.
To find the right participants for your program, make sure you fully explain what’s required of them — regular posting to their own accounts and possible further engagement with comments/shares.
But don’t forget to also share all the ways that being part of your employer branding program will benefit them. From growing their following via regular posting of high-quality content to becoming a thought-leader in their network, there are plenty of ways that participants can benefit.
3. Define Your Employer Value Proposition (And Stand By It)
Your employer value proposition, or EVP, can be defined as the core benefits that your company offers to its employees. As Personio explains:
“Think of it as a promise between an employer and a potential applicant. What can your company and culture offer them, in exchange for their talent, skills, and experience? An EVP is where you can explain and build the case for top talent.”
In 2022, top candidates are “spoiled for choice when it comes to new roles”. They need to know what makes your company unique — why they should choose it over the myriad others they’re being courted by.
That’s where your EVP comes in. You can, and should, include information about your EVP on your website and within any job descriptions. But for more potential employees, those are just words — they want to see your EVP in action.
Therefore, by incorporating your EVP into your employer branding program, you can show top talent that your brand makes good on its promises in a natural way — through the words of your own employees.
However, for this to be successful, you do actually have to stand by the promises you made in your EVP. It’s then the job of the HR portion of your employer branding coordinators to ensure your brand is living up to its EVP goals.
Setting up and running an effective employer branding program is a lot of work. It’s not a one-time task that self-sustains — it requires consistent work, energy, and time from all those involved.
So, make sure you’re regularly showing appreciation for all the employees involved in its running — which, coincidentally, is another smart way to prove to potential employees that you’re a great company to work for.