With all the noise that modern life includes, organizations are tasked with creating a brand that appeals to both customers and job seekers. Good people are vital to a successful business. In a time when talent acquisition has become more competitive, the employer brand can call positive attention to a company and will consistently support attraction, onboarding and retention of new employees.

According to the 2017 Employer Branding study conducted by CareerArc Group, LLC, only 34% of candidates will work for an organization with a poor employer rating (less than 3 out of 5 stars).

Whether your organization is in the process of attracting talent or already onboarding a new employee, the employer brand is critical for long term success. Read on to learn 10 steps towards building an improved employer brand.

Step #1 - Research the competition

Just as any marketing campaign would start out, a good research period will evaluate what your closest employer competitors are doing. This effort can point out gaps in your employer brand, what other companies are doing with onboarding new hires, all the way to what employees say once they leave. Read company reviews, career sites, job postings, and social networks for an overview of your competition.

Step #2 - Develop an authentic brand

Taking into account your company vision and mission, consider what it means to work for your organization. How closely does this brand resonate with your employer values? What is uniquely better about your brand? Identifying this now will help create something authentic and not build on false hype.

Step #3 - Align the brand with the culture

Your employer brand needs to be connected to the culture of the workplace. Keep in mind that employees may see this differently than your leadership team. Take a survey of your employees to find a brand that aligns well with the true culture. This is important because when onboarding a new employee it's very easy to disappoint them when the culture doesn't meet expectations.

Step #4 - Promote the success stories of employees

Perhaps one of your best resources for building a great employer brand comes from your employees themselves. Learn about the success stories of your workforce and be sure to share this on every channel you can. People are most apt to apply for a job with a company that shares real stories of employees.

Step #5 - Get all management levels on board

The brand may be outstanding, but if you cannot get buy-in from the management team it will not be as impactful. Get your managers from executive to entry level to focus on embracing the brand of your company.

Step #6 - Extend the brand with partnerships

A big part of your company brand also involves the partnerships that your company has with other brands. As candidates review your website and read through the career pages, they are also evaluating the companies and brands your organization works with. Make sure to display strong brands for your industry.

Step #7 - Coordinate content and social media marketing

A well-designed employer brand includes consistency across all marketing media. This includes the content marketing efforts made on the website, presentations, marketing materials, and social networks. Check to ensure there is no conflicting messaging and that the brand is consistent across platforms.

Step #8 - Develop brand ambassadors

A powerful way to get the word out about your employer brand is with brand ambassadors. These can come from highly engaged current and former employees. Anyone who loves your company and has something good to say about it can be nurtured into being a cheerleader for your brand.

Step #9 - Test and improve your brand

As any good marketing plan rolls out, there is a critical period to test and evaluate. Test the brand with current employees first and when onboarding a new employee. Then use split testing on the website career pages and survey a random selection of candidates to get their insight. Split testing requires releasing two versions of the career website and noting if one version has a positive impact vs. the other. For example, increased applications from qualified candidates could be a positive result. Always be making improvements to your corporate brand.

Step #10 - Inject fun into the employee experience

Trying to improve a corporate brand means that sometimes rules can be bent and strict ways of doing things can be loosened up. The corporate brands that include fun as part of their new norm often have the most positive and loyal employees. Think companies like Virgin, Google, and Zappos, which have fun built in to their cultures. Having fun at the office gives employees a chance to share their stories on social networks, and these stories behave like marketing segments that attract talent and customers to the brand.

By using the above steps your company will develop a more authentic and effective employer brand that can improve recruitment and retention rates.

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10 Steps to Improve Your Employer Brand