Employer brandingis the process of promoting a company or an organization as the employer of choice to a desired target group, one that a company needs and wants to recruit and retain.It has, however,been long ignored and not considered as an integral part of the recruitment strategy. Ignoring the importance of Employer branding can lead to problems in recruiting the right staff, especially in case the competition has a strong employer brand. A potential employee will choose to work for a company with a strong brand rather than a weak one.
A good example of a company that had to improve its Employer branding is McDonald’s. In the 1980s they introduced the term Mc Jobs, for jobs at McDonald’s. The intention was to make it sound appealing to potential employees. Instead, it became popularly known asa synonym for underpaid low skilled jobs. The term Mc Jobs later appeared in the online version of The Oxford English Dictionary in the year 2001. This had a negative influence on the company’sbrand, and on the image of the thousands of people working for the company. Since 2001 McDonald’s had to begin improving their branding. They decided to try to revise the image associated with McJobs. One method was an advertising campaign that focussed on the benefits of working at McDonald’s. They wanted to bridge peoples’ perception of the McJobs and the real employment experience of the people that were working for the company.
With the impact of social media on daily life,employers have become more aware about their company’s brand. To establish an appealing internal and external employer image,a company will need to understand its needs and simultaneously understand the needs and career expectations of the desired employees. The company has to defineits unique identity – what makes it an exceptional employer? This is also called the company’s Employer Value Proposition (EVP). The EVP reflects the unique offerings thatthe top talent desires.The EVP has 5 maincategories:
1. Organisation: This describes the kind of organisation it is, the identity of the organisation, and the culture within the organisation. Every person can experience this culture differently, there can be a different culture in every department. A survey among employees can help to find out more about the company’s culture.
2. Career Options:Students and starters on the labour market have different priorities when it comes to their desired EVP. Especially for the starters, education and future career opportunities play an important role in their decision to choose an employer. Other elements are career guidance and an individual budget for each employee.
3. The Work:Of course every department has its own tasks, but there are elements that apply for the entire organisation. Elements are, for example, the communication between the different departments, coaching on the job,cooperation within the company, and work pressure. When developing an EVP it is important to look at the aspects that make the employer interesting for the desired employees.
4. Terms and Conditions:The primary and secondary terms and conditions are another aspect of importance. Starters, young employees usually have different wishes than experienced and older staff. A starter on the labour market will in general be more interested in the salary, ora bonus structure and other financial compensations. Experienced employees are more interested in flexibility of working time or the possibility arrangements for childcare. The EVP can therefore be different for starters and experienced employees.
5. Human Capital:It is of importance that your employees are satisfied within the company. It makes no sense to work on the EVP if the currently good employees are unhappy and they walk away. Therefore, it is wise to survey the employee satisfaction on a regular basis and adjust where possible.
Employer branding has become increasingly important now that the economy is improving and the labour market for well skilled employees decreases.In certain branches like engineering, ICT and financeit becomes more challenging to recruit the right skilled employees. An increasing number of companies are now developing their employer branding to keep their best employees, and to attract new highly skilled workers. It is essential that what you market to the outside world reflects within the company to the employees as well.
A good example of a company that has a well implemented employer branding is Google. Google is repeatedly chosen as the most desired employer worldwide. What they preach to the outside world they preach within the company as well. They give their employees the possibility to develop themselves not only by training, but also by giving them time (10% of their working time) to do what they really like. Of course, they offer a good salary and company benefits, but this is not all it takes to become a preferred employer.
A recent study showed interesting results:
• 75% of the jobseekers consider an employers brand before even applying.
• A strong employers brand reduces the number of early departures of new hires (within 6 months) by 40%.
• 84% of the employees would consider leaving its current position for a position at a company with an excellent corporate reputation.
• Companies with a strong employer’s brand see a decrease of costs per hire of 43%.
• 72% of applicants visit social media to investigate about the employer’s brand.
The above data emphasizes the importance of employer branding. A strong employers brand makes the company more attractive for jobseekers, it reduces the number of early departures. So, the need to hire new employees, which is time consuming and comes with some costs, is reduced. This in return saves valuable time and costs for the company.
Due to the popularity of social media, the shortage on the labour market in certain sectors and the improving global economy, there is an increasing attention on employer brands. In order to recruit the desired staff, it is essential to be aware of the companies EVP (Employer Value Proposition) and to strengthen the brand. A strong brand does not only help to recruit the right employees, it also helps to save money on the hiring costs. Employer branding has proven to be a good tool to attract top talent and to stay ahead of the competition. Irene Wagenaar