Whether you like or not, the employer brand has become a significant factor for companies and organisations wishing to attract top talent. Your company's image is now one of the key assessment criteria used by potential applicants. But is your employer brand working as it should and delivering the right results? We highlight some of the ways to improve its effectiveness and help you recruit the best employees:
Not every company has trendy offices, the latest IT equipment or a trailblazing team-building programme. The golden rule of employer branding is keep it authentic! Don't be tempted to use glossy advertising, even if you have the budget for it. Not every small office kitchen looks attractive. Not every meeting room is a modern think tank that stimulates maximum creativity. And sometimes a job is just a job – without the opportunities for personal development that companies like to promise their applicants. Should you drag your employees in front of the camera, even when they are uncomfortable about it? The result is hardly likely to have the desired effect.
Authenticity? Yes, but be selective. An employer brand is unique. Just because some companies can attract applicants with pictures of their modern offices, this doesn't automatically apply to everyone. If you don't have the budget for developing and producing a professional corporate video, think twice before giving the project to the hobby filmmaker in purchasing (although there may be talented exceptions). There are no 'must haves' in employer branding: it's more a question of your employer USPs. But what if there aren't any? Then it's advisable to invest in them, rather than 'Photoshopping' your corporate image. Give the company a makeover - from the inside out.
Take an interdisciplinary approach
"But this is where HR marketing experts - both internal and external - reach their limits. They are used to making the most of the status quo, rather than improving it", writes Udo Voelke [from Personalwerk GmbH] in his HR blog. The issue of employer branding is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary, with teams coming together within organisations to address the issue.
Small changes with a big impact
Making the 'workplace' product more attractive does not always mean major changes. Many small ones can have a positive effect on the employer brand in the long term; in areas such as the remuneration system, training opportunities, recruitment processes, activities that improve the working atmosphere and optimising work stations. These measures will not necessarily allow you to produce a slick marketing video, but the company will benefit in the mid- and long-term from employees that are also its valuable brand ambassadors.
Make your employees brand ambassadors
"When I tell people about my new job, my friends sometimes accuse me of talking like a travelling salesperson peddling wares", reports Linda Schipp in her employer branding blog [on 'jobseidank.com']. "But isn't that how it should be? When your employees talk about the company with such enthusiasm that listeners are inclined to immediately apply for a job there themselves, isn't this evidence of successful employer branding?"
Use your website
Small external communication initiatives can be very effective. Design a career website that informs your target group about you as an employer, the benefits and your USPs; but also include information about corporate culture, your staff and the company's location. Outline what the local infrastructure, cultural and leisure facilities, childcare and schools, property market and the cost of living are like. Do a bit of tourism marketing – some of these factors could also be useful selling points.
Social media? Not at any price!
Avoid unnecessary costs by being sure of your target group. This enables you to determine suitable content and the right channels for employer branding. If your target candidates don't use Facebook or Twitter, you don't need to go overboard waving the flag in social networks. If you're looking for reliable administrators for example, focus on factual issues such as pensions or healthcare. On the other hand, creative industries tend to draw people on an emotional level and candidates expect regular social media activity from the company. Nevertheless, if you don't have the know-how or financial resources for effectively managing it, it's better to keep clear of social media rather than put your credibility at risk.
It's the little things that count
In her article "Living Employer Branding", Linda Schipp [from 'jobseidank.com'] raises an important issue: "Before you promote your employer brand internally through a new employee magazine, a colourful intranet and a vegan staff canteen; don't forget the many small everyday things that you can give your employees: time and - no not money - appreciation. And showing appreciation starts with praise, a smiley in an email (Wow, how frivolous!), ordering cakes for the office at the company's expense or simply giving someone a patient explanation".
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