Employer Brand: WHAT is it, WHY is it important, HOW do you improve it?

Posted on 17 October 2017 by Lewis Matthews in Human Resources

It’s no secret that organisations can no longer compete on salary and financial perks - various studies have demonstrated the preference of today’s jobseeker for an inclusive working environment, with a positive culture and a presence in the community...rather than one that just offers free fruit, a discounted gym membership and various incentives (although including these often also helps!)

But how can you position your organisation as a great place to work before a potential candidate has even walked through the door?

It’s all about finding and communicating your employer brand, the reputation of your organisation in the wider market and the value proposition you offer employees. With the growth of online platforms that share details of an organisation, not just in terms of its corporate brand but also it’s reputation as an employer, it is more important than ever that you establish how you want your organisation to be perceived.

Building the employer brand starts with the recruitment process itself. The days when an employer held all the power during this period are long gone. From application to offer and beyond, candidates and employees, both past and present, can now quickly and easily tell the world about their experience with your organisation during this process and influence the perceptions of other potential candidates. Ensuring a great candidate experience is critical to not only improve your chances of securing the best talent, but also to make sure they share their positive experience with others.

A recent study by SEO agency, BrightLocal, found that 84% of consumers are now as likely to trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation. As our work and personal lives become increasingly blended online, it’s safe to assume this trust for online reviews will apply as much to finding an employer online as it does to finding a personal purchase.

As important as establishing your employer brand, is monitoring it and ensuring you do what you can to maintain it. Online platforms such as Glassdoor, enable you to keep track of candidate and employee perceptions. Glassdoor is the fastest growing job site in the world. It holds 11 million employee reviews for half a million companies - it is essentially the TripAdvisor for employment world. It allows candidates and employees, past and present, to leave reviews regarding their experience with the organisation.

When it comes to managing employer brand, transparency really does breed trust. The value of transparency in today's market is not to be underestimated. Of course, we can’t always guarantee what people will say about our organisation and, despite our best efforts, there may occasionally be negative opinions shared. Key to ensuring it doesn’t derail the reputation you’ve worked so hard to craft, is acknowledging and responding to the feedback.

There are three steps that should be taken to do this:

1. Personalise responses

It doesn’t take long to acknowledge the individual who has posted the review and the specific points raised and will go a long way to demonstrating your genuine concern for their opinion. A “copy and paste” response will likely only add fuel to the fire.

2. Suggest a solution

Go beyond just acknowledging the issue to suggest a solution for the reviewer or highlight how you plan to resolve it to ensure future candidates or employees have a better experience.

3. Take action

Don’t be all words and no action. Make sure you fulfil the promises you make and, if possible, even revisit the review to demonstrate progress when appropriate.

To increase your company’s presence on the likes of Glassdoor, don’t be afraid to ask candidates and employees to leave reviews. If an employee leaves on good terms, it’s very likely they’ll ask you for a reference, so why not ask them to return the favour? Over time, you can build up a library of reviews and integrate this with your careers page so that candidates can get a more holistic view of the company from one platform.

An employer brand can be drastically improved or totally ruined with just one review but being aware of yours, what you want it to be and what it current is, is the critical first step to building and maintaining a positive external perception as a great place to work. Don’t let great talent turn away from an opportunity with your organisation before they even meet you - take your employer brand seriously and recognise the very real cost of getting wrong.

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