Editor’s Note — Martin Solaja is currently responsible for employer branding and recruitment marketing at Funnel. The views expressed below are his expert perspectives and opinions.
How does a business attract talent? For some, it’s a matter of offering higher compensation than their competition. For others, it’s all about “employer branding.” In this post, I will dive into what that is, and how you can develop a strong employer brand.
While the term employer branding has been used for more than two decades, the concept can still seem a bit nebulous. It can also be difficult to find reliable, expert-level employer branding tips. So, as a bit of a subject matter expert myself, I decided it was high time to share this knowledge.
Google searches for employer branding have steadily grown over the last five years as the concept has caught on among companies facing ever mounting hiring challenges in highly competitive industries like technology.
Searches on Google for employer branding have significantly grown in the past years.
In order to attract candidates from highly educated, lower volume talent pools, many companies view employer branding as an “always on” initiative. After all, in a world where any candidate can instantly access a variety of opinions about an employer, it pays for businesses to put their best face forward.
Before we dig too far into the different strategies and tips for employer branding tips, let’s step back and define exactly what we’re talking about.
What is employer branding?
Employer branding is the representation of what employees and potential candidates think of a company as an employer. This encapsulates the company culture, benefits, career development opportunities, and anything that differentiates a company from its peers.
5 tips for developing an attractive employer brand
My personal background is actually rooted in content marketing, though the application of my education has been within the employer branding realm. As such, my top five tips will be a bit more focused on content creation, brand positioning, and data — as opposed to the recruitment process, hiring process, compensation packages and the like. Also, in the interest of transparency, I am part of the talent acquisition department at Funnel and not the marketing department.
1. Don't overthink your content
Positioning your brand through content can be difficult. There are so many channel choices and messaging strategies to choose from.
In my experience, I see a lot of companies struggling to make their content perfect everywhere. While holding high standards is great, in most cases, this is only slowing them down. Plus, while they spend hours trying to make the wittiest social media post, they really aren’t differentiating themselves.
Let’s be honest; most companies sound the same while claiming to have a great culture that everyone loves. There is one thing that sets each company apart in its own way, though: the people. Every employee is unique, and your company’s diverse mix of employees is distinct to your business.
So, instead of creating tons of overly corporate slogans and unremarkable content pieces, rely on your workforce to tell compelling and authentic stories. These stories can highlight career shifts within the company, how employees became interested in a specific topic, how your business supported an employee through continuing education, and more. These stories will give prospects a true view of what your work culture is.
This kind of content is easy to make, too. And from my experience at Funnel, the content we put the least time into usually performs the best.
2. Consistency is non-negotiable
Like with all marketing, employer branding requires consistency and a certain amount of volume. Sharing your content on social media once a month isn’t enough. Instead, you’ll need to share different types of content on your channels at regular intervals for years.
Consistency is not nice to have, it's a part of the job description. At Funnel, for example, we have posted employer branding content every single week on our LinkedIn company page for the last two years, which has given us great results.
3. Become best friends with the marketing team
I won’t sugarcoat it. Most often, marketing teams can be a bit hesitant when you say, "Can you give me access to our social media accounts? The talent acquisition team wants to share employer branding content." The response is typically a lot of side eye.
I don't blame them, though, it's their home turf!
Instead, explain to them what your goals are, what content will run, and how it aligns with the brand and tone of voice. Also, share how your projects also support their brand-building goals. Don’t cut off communication after the first conversation either. A continuous dialog around learnings and successes can open up new opportunities for cross-collaborations.
4. Include and empower existing employees
Employer branding has a tendency to speak almost exclusively to prospective employees rather than existing ones. It’s understandable since prospects are the main audience for our efforts.
However, existing employees can be your greatest advocates and much more effective than any outreach efforts you may devise. Including them in different content pieces (see employee testimonials and stories above) can inspire those employees to recommend your business across their private networks.
Depending on how large your employer branding team is, it may be beneficial to dedicate one person to an employee advocacy program. However, this can be tough in larger organizations with offices around the world and competing resources. My tip in this situation: start small and scale as you go. Don't try to hit every market at the same time.
5. Show results with data
In my experience, one of the hardest employer branding tasks is to measure and visualize results that management can understand. Despite the work required, though, it is incredibly important. Businesses run on numbers and results. Your employer branding efforts are no different.
My tip is to set goals and start measuring from day one. Then, you can show results over time. To do this, I recommend using a marketing data hub like Funnel (shameless self promotion). In all seriousness, though, it can make this humble employer branding expert a whiz at analyzing performance and proving the value of our efforts.
Let me explain.
First, LinkedIn is our main channel for sharing employer branding content, but LinkedIn only lets you see data for the past 365 days on the website. However, with Funnel storage capabilities, you can maintain data from day one, allowing you to make all sorts of historical comparisons.
Second, the filtering capabilities make it easy for the statistical noise from our "regular marketing content,” allowing me to focus on the employer branding content data. When my manager then asked, "How did we perform during Q2?" I can easily share my performance with certainty that it's accurate data.
Third, connecting the careers page and other types of sources with Funnel lets me visualize anything for the whole organization.
I don't know how I did it before, but Funnel has made it so much easier and faster to show the value of my efforts. I may sound biased, but that’s the truth.
Employer branding in a nutshell
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by employer branding goals when first starting out. Management may want you to position the company as the “employer of choice” in an industry, allowing them to attract the best candidates in the world. You may be wondering where to make the first step.
My overarching advice is simple: start small, be consistent, don’t overthink it, and measure everything from day one. It’s also important to remember that employer branding takes time, even years, to achieve the big goals. However, by chipping away at it every day, you’ll make more progress than you think.
How would you define the term “employer brand?”
An employer brand is the market perception of what it's like to work for an organization. It's the image that potential employees have when they think of the company workplace. This encompasses the company's values, its work environment, the benefits it offers, and the opportunities for growth. It's a unique blend of the company's mission, the policies it enforces, the way it treats its employees, and the relationships that employees experience during their tenure.
How important is the company culture for employer branding?
The company culture is as important to employer branding as an engine is to a car. The engine needs to be solid and maintained in order to run for a long time. The same goes for work culture, which is the core of employer branding. Without a strong culture, there is no employer brand.
What is employee advocacy?
Employee advocacy occurs when employees share their work experiences with their personal networks, often through social media or word-of-mouth. Note: this advocacy can be both positive and negative.
When positive, this authentic sharing acts as a powerful endorsement and can significantly enhance the company's reputation as an employer. When employees are genuine advocates, they amplify the company's message and reach, making the employer brand more relatable and trustworthy to potential candidates. Encouraging and facilitating employee advocacy in your employer branding strategy can lead to a more engaged workforce and a stronger employer brand.
Disclaimer: The featured image for this article was created using generative AI.