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The Power of Employer Branding: Why a strong employer brand can help your company bridge the talent gap

By Adam Glassman, Senior Manager, Employer Branding, Cox Enterprises

Adam Glassman, Senior Manager, Employer Branding, Cox Enterprises

Finding and keeping top tech talent is increasingly challenging. Companies in and out of the technology industry are vying for the same candidates with multiple job opportunities. Digital disruption, generational shifts, and the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years have heightened the competition. And the work doesn’t stop once you onboard employees. Many companies count themselves lucky if they can retain those highly skilled tech workers for 18 months.

The good news is that companies can overcome some of these challenges by developing a strategic, compelling employer brand. An employee-driven brand works in concert with the company’s overall brand to communicate the organization’s value proposition to job seekers. It’s the foundation of your recruiting and retention efforts. Your brand helps candidates and employees connect with your company, and envision what it’s like to join (and stay there). 

"Your employer brand is the bedrock of your recruiting efforts. It’s the foundation for virtually every tactic you use to woo prospective employees and retain current ones. Creating and maintaining it requires buy-in from leadership and an all hands on deck approach"

Whether your company is in the process of launching, refining, or refreshing its employer brand, your employment brand, and HR teams will play a critical role. Don’t have an employment brand leader yet? Well, that’s a place to start. The employment brand leader will need to work across departments and conduct thorough research to introduce a people-focused brand that can help better attract and retain employees.  

Here are some considerations to get started: 

Know your unique value proposition.

What makes your company different? Although people do look at salaries and traditional benefits, they really want to know what it feels like to work at your company. Consider your softer benefits. Can the candidate picture herself in the cafeteria? Working out in the office gym? Does your website show real employees representative of a diverse workforce? Technology workers want to understand what they’d be working on day-to-day. Paint the picture.

Focus on purpose.

Job seekers want fulfilling work. They want to be engaged. And they want to work for a company that values making a positive difference in the world. According to research by Mercer, employees are three times as likely to work for a company that has a strong sense of purpose.

Be sure that your brand is clear on your company’s purpose. But be honest and transparent. How a company represents itself must match up with employee experience. If you assert that your company cares about climate change, then demonstrate your sustainability efforts.

Tell great stories.

Seventy percent of candidates trust what employees say about their companies more than the official company line. Let your employees do the talking. Put on your journalist’s hat and interview people across the organization. Why would they recommend the company to friends? Choose compelling anecdotes and create content that is engaging, fun, and authentic. Anything scripted or forced falls flat. Strive for efficiency. If you are looking for great tech candidates, talk to people in those positions. 

People tend to look at a company as a faceless, emotionless entity. But it’s not. A company is made up of people, and the values they hold, the backgrounds and experiences they bring. Dive deep to find and tell those stories that communicate your values. Then share these messages through written stories, videos, interviews, content marketing, email marketing, and social media. 

Be sure your brand reaches key audiences.

You want your brand message to be accessible not only to job seekers but also to employees, referral sources, and customers. Happy, engaged employees are brand ambassadors. Being known as a great place to work attracts customers. Be sure that your content speaks to these different audiences. 

Do the right research. 

Create your brand proposition based on data. Surprisingly, many companies don’t. Research shows that only one in four HR leaders use analytics to understand why people choose to work at their company. 

What do your people think of the company? Don’t guess. Ask. Listen to your hourly workers, managers, executives, and those on the frontlines of customer service. How do they describe your company’s value proposition?

Build bridges. 

Think of your brand as a through-line in all of your marketing materials. Express it through your ads, company’s website, and social media. Communicate your brand in photos, videos, headlines, and content. Of course, you’ll want to ensure that your employer brand is consistent with the company’s brand. Work across departments, from HR and talent acquisition to marketing and public relations. 

Your employer brand is the bedrock of your recruiting efforts. It’s the foundation for virtually every tactic you use to woo prospective employees and retain current ones. Creating and maintaining it requires buy-in from leadership and an all hands on deck approach. Do it correctly, and you’ll be prepared to hire the changing workforce of tomorrow.

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