As an HR professional, you’re well aware of how important it is to maintain a talent-rich pipeline of passive and active candidates in your industry for the range of positions you’re responsible for hiring for at your company. After all, your team’s performance is likely tied to an array of key performance metrics that clearly indicate how well you’re doing at attracting job seekers, and your company’s success depends on your ability to staff their departments with capable people.
Believe us—we’re not saying this is an easy task by any means. The truth is, today’s job market is ultra-competitive, and talented job seekers have a range of options to choose from when looking for work—including everything from freelance and project-based employment, to part-time and full-time opportunities with companies ranging from lean start-ups to gigantic monolithic corporations.
The bottom line is this: across industries, the competition is tough, and everyone is vying for the best available talent. So how are you going to stand out? One of the most powerful ways to rise above the noise in your field, build your company’s reputation as an industry leader, and get potential candidates to not only pay attention to your company but also to actively seek you out when the time comes to look for a new job is to build a superstar employer brand. In today’s professional landscape, having a well-developed, clearly defined, and easily identifiable employer brand and industry-differentiating brand strategy is no longer a luxury—it’s an absolute must if your company wants to remain competitive.
Essentially, employer branding refers to how your company is viewed as a potential employer, and it goes a really long way towards ensuring that you have a steady supply of talented and interested candidates in your HR pipeline at all times—which is absolutely critical when you have key open positions in your company and when you’re pursuing aggressive growth or new initiatives that require staffing changes. In sum, a positive employer brand is often a key determinant when a potential candidate is deciding whether or not to consider joining your team.
Now let’s address an important question: How much time is your team—and your organization as a cohesive whole—devoting to build an effective employer brand?
There’s a very good chance that the answer is “not enough as you’d like,” and the unfortunate truth is that you might not even be aware of how detrimental this is to your team’s talent recruitment and retention efforts. Sure, you may now be saying that your company simply hasn’t invested the funds required to build a really great employer brand. But the reality is, there’s plenty you can do to build a superstar employer brand on a small budget. The following strategies are a great way to get started without breaking the bank.
1. Share Your Purpose
When building your employer brand, consider starting with a powerful mission statement. This statement tells the world, which includes potential candidates, what your company stands for and believes in and the impact it hopes to have on your industry and the world at large.
Why is this so important? The truth is, job candidates today care about more than salaries and perks—they want to know that the goals and beliefs of the companies they choose to work for and devote their time to align with their own. So, make sure that your employer branding strategy includes a mission statement with real impact and be sure to share it loudly and proudly. Best of all—defining your purpose and vision costs little or no money, and its effect could be invaluable.
2. Show You Care
Equipping your company with a powerful mission statement and sense of purpose is a fantastic step. But in order to build an employer brand that truly resonates throughout your industry, you’re going to have to “walk it like you talk it” and demonstrate that it actually upholds the values it says it believes in.
These days, candidates and employees alike are simply too smart to fall for half-baked and half-hearted mission statements filled with hollow corporate-speak that only exits on marketing materials and job ads. An effective employer brand not only has a strong and clear message, it’s also backed up by actual proof. Here’s an example—does your company talk about supporting a specific environmental cause? If so, then demonstrate how it’s making a difference in this area, utilize social media to highlight your efforts, and keep the momentum going—which will really impact those whose beliefs are similarly aligned. This doesn’t need to cost an excessive amount of money; instead, the cost is in the commitment.
3. Keep Listening
Once your employer brand starts gaining traction and building momentum, don’t get complacent and start thinking that your work here is complete. An effective employer brand is not a static “one a done” effort. It should evolve and grow as times change, cultures shift, and industry norms progress.
Listening and learning is a great way to ensure that your employer brand is always veering towards positive change. This includes listening to what others have to say about your company; responding to positive praise, negative thoughts, and constructive criticism; and using this valuable feedback to constantly improve in an effort to ensure that your brand never gathers dust or gets stale or dated. And the good news is that listening doesn’t come with a high price tag.
If you’re serious about taking your employer brand to the next level but are looking to do so on a tight budget, consider using the strategies and advice mentioned here to get moving in the right direction.