Employer Branding

Employer Brand: 4 Actionable Tips to Craft the Right Employer Brand with Elle Green

Post by: Salient Team
Published: 16 May 2023

How do you define employer branding? 

Big Question. In my opinion, employer branding is the sum of multiple parts. There is the employee value proposition (EVP) that everybody knows, which often gets mixed up with the employer brand. The EVP is the value or the why someone should join or stay at an organisation. Employer branding is a combination of that, the culture, the people and the purpose. How people interact, how they do work and why people should join.

And why is it important for organisations to focus on it?

If you had asked that question even a few years ago people would have said something about attracting the right talent. It’s less so about that now but it is also about retaining the right talent and most about the actual fit. It is about creating an environment where people can be their best and drive business productivity. More and more people are seeing past employer branding as the hiring and retention of talent but about finding a place where people can do their best work. Companies who recognise this are the ones that will succeed. 

Can talent acquisition teams play a role in employer branding?

100% and they should do. An employer brand includes everyone in the organisation but talent acquisition is a key part in the employer brand. Not only are they responsible in communicating the brand but also for learning and understanding from potential candidates whether or not the brand resonates, whether it is competitive or whether it is the right fit. They are the fundamental stakeholders, they do not own it but they are key stakeholders in perpetuating it. 

If a business has limited resources at their disposal and no current employer branding, what are some of the easiest employer branding initiatives that a TA team can take?

It’s not just about good messaging. I always use toothpaste as an example – the message could say that it makes your teeth really white and it tastes like rainbows with a great price point. Everyone will rush out and buy it but if people don’t like it they won’t buy it again. With people and talent it is really different because you can’t afford to bring people on and then lose them because the promise isn’t there. 

You don’t have to have a sleek, amazingly beautiful and orchestrated employer brand. Every organisation has an employer brand, whether or not they have it clearly defined or packaged or communicated. You need a clear view of your culture, vision and mission and the type of people you need to be successful, in line where the leadership team sees the business going. 

What kind of people skills do we need to have in the business to get there? Who are we competing against in terms of those people and skills? And so what can we do to have a fighting chance against those organisations is one side of it and then also working closely with marketing and comms and saying ‘Okay, what do we have that I can use to talk about how cool/sexy/professional/transformational we are?’ 

Really, I think that the message should be clear. I think that this is part of the changing role of sourcing recruiters and talent acquisition that we’ve seen over the last 10 years which really is to have more of the marketing skills for that side of the business.

How can employer branding help organisations attract and retain top talent?

I think the moral of employer branding is shifting and has changed over years. I see employer branding as the conduit between leadership, talent acquisition and HR to understand the experience that candidates and employees have. 

It is not just good enough to attract talent, you need to keep them happy and engaged throughout all the stages. This means we need to  work with key stakeholders to ensure that key talent wants to join for key reasons and wants to stay for those same reasons. Employer branding can have a massive impact on attracting good talent but making sure that the experience is in place at the company, happy employees translates to happy customers.

What are your top tips for HR and TA teams to get stakeholders onboard with employer branding initiatives?

1. Arm yourself with data. – whatever. you can get! Look at the cost of not hiring the right skills into the business, the cost of retention (losing talent for servicing clients, or not delivering on product roadmap etc)

2. Help TA see how much easier attraction and hiring will be with the right message – decreased hiring time, better fit candidates, more inbound etc. You can save money on outbound!

3. HR will buy in to reduced attrition, organic advocacy, more productivity etc. Find stats to support your business/industry

4. Its not just you saying it – Nike, Pepsi, Apple, Canva etc etc all need a form of employer brand to help attract and retain good talent.

How can someone in the HR function upskill themselves in employer branding?

My view is that everyone is already doing a bit of employer branding, you can join employer branding groups and start making use of the tools that can help you get better at it. It’s all about experience, being in the game and giving it a go. Think about what you want to showcase? Is it employee storytelling or is it about DEI attraction and how do you bring this together in a message. You can even Google things like ‘Employer Branding infrastructure’ etc. 

It’s a hard question because only across the last few years has it become a function people are now actively trying to get into rather than fall into! There are a few courses out there you can do such as the Employer Branding College.

The only other advice I would have is to focus on all the different areas like market mapping, understanding the talent marketplace to upskill yourself and learn about the different components to pull them together which as an HR practitioner you’ll naturally possess – it’s the marketing side you can focus on – put your head together with your marketing or comms folks – together you can do great things!

In summary,

  • Look at the industry you’re in, understand where the people you’re looking for sit
  • Look at how you can create fit for purpose comms to those markets
  • Look within your organisation to see what your proposition is 
  • Be really hard on data to measure success and report 
  • Talk to people in the business to understand what impacts the talent experience

To keep up with Elle Green’s career click here.

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