HeavenHR Speaker Series: Employer Branding

Branding has been an useful strategy for businesses to attract customers and inspire customer loyalty for decades, but the concept of Employer Branding is a relatively new idea. The term “Employer Branding” was first coined in the mid-1990s, but the focus on building a strong employer brand didn’t pick up steam until the mid-2000s, when large corporations such as Unilever, P&G and Shell began to apply the same amount of focus and consistency to their employer brand as they applied to their corporate brand as a response to growing competition for talent.

So what exactly is Employer Branding?

Employer Branding is when an organization connects its core values and HR policies to the brand of the company. A powerful employer brand establishes an organization’s reputation as an employer, sets an organization apart from its competitors, attracts potential candidates and retains existing employees. In an increasingly competitive talent market, it is becoming more and more important to stand out as an attractive employer.

But how do you build a strong employer brand in practice? How can you measure the effects of Employer Branding strategies, and does it really contribute to business success?

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On Oct 25th, our panel of expert speakers from LinkedIn, Rocket Internet and Honeypot sat down to answer these questions and share their insights on the importance of developing a strong employer brand. For those of you who missed out on our fifth Speaker Series event or simply want a refresher, here is a recap:

On what Employer Branding really is:

Employer Branding does not start with a branding page; it starts within the company when you have an internal message, know who you are as a company and what you value. However, in order to attract an engineer from the other side of the world to work for you, potential candidates have to be aware of what your company has to offer. It’s important to establish and develop internal values, but equally as important to present these values and what happens inside your company to the outside world. Not knowing how to communicate values or witholding too much information is where companies fail the most. There is a lot existing within each company, within your employees, and if you can showcase something real to others – that is what will really translate into your Employer Brand.

On how to establish a strong employer brand:

Figure out what kind of company you want to be, then define strong key messages and be confident about them. In the beginning of developing your Employer Brand, it is very important to have online presence, especially on the most important social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. You have to present your company – and it’s more than pictures of a beautiful office – it’s about showing your work culture, atmosphere and employees. Young companies should also showcase their successes. Startups can be volatile and it’s difficult to predict whether and when a startup will succeed or fail. Celebrating successes can help establish an image of stability to potential candidates who may not know much about your company.

Your employer brand must translate throughout the whole employee lifecycle, from attracting candidates and the interview process, to retaining staff and post-employment. To ensure potential candidates’ first contact with your company is positive, blogs can be extremely useful for increasing transparency about your business and curating your own story and reputation. During the hiring process, don’t repeat the same interview questions twice and ask for feedback after the interview to continuously improve your recruitment experience. To retain employees, be transparent, honest and ask for consistent feedback. Create an engaging experience for your employees will encourage them to act as brand ambassadors for your company, during and after their employment.

On the importance of leadership in Employer Branding:

Employer Branding has to start at the top level and go through the company. Without leadership being involved, there is nothing to communicate. Thus, management must connect with HR and consult the team to develop business values. Once an employer brand is established, and you have the right message to communicate, you need the right channel. CEOs, HR and Marketing must all work together to promote the same message. The only way to maintain a consistent employer brand is to have the whole company onboard. It’s not solely HR’s job, every department has to be aligned on the same values and vision.

On ways to measure the impact of Employer Branding:

KPIs for measuring the effects of Employer Branding include Glassdoor reviews, the amount of time it takes to fill a position, the number of applicants and hires that come from Employer Branding initiatives and turnover rate. However, Employer Branding should not be treated as “strategies”, but rather than an improvement in team experience. Frequent feedback and surveys can keep you up-to-date on how satisfied your employees are, and simultaneously measure the effectiveness of your Employer Branding efforts.

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Once again, we would like to thank our speakers, Malte, Dominique and Kaya for their expert advice and insight. Also to the lovely people at Unicorn.Berlin Mitte for helping us behind the scenes. We look forward to seeing more of you at our next Speaker Series event. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter if you would like to get updates on those future events.

See you next time!

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