According to a survey conducted by Corporate Responsibility magazine, 75% of Americans wouldn't take a job with a company that had a bad reputation, even if they were unemployed. With the top candidates getting a choice in where they work, your employment brand makes a huge difference in whether top candidates flock to your company, or whether you continue to attract more mediocre and under qualified candidates. Take Google as an example. They have a great employment brand, which helps them receive millions of applications every year, so they have their choice of the best talent in the world. According to a Webrecruit survey, 32% of employers say quality is their biggest recruitment challenge, and Google doesn’t really have that problem. That’s the power of employer branding. So, how do you get started with Employer Branding?
See Where you Stand
The first thing you should do is see where you stand. Start with your employees, and find out what they think about your company. The Saratoga Institute found that 88% of employees leave their organization for reasons other than money – so make sure you know what they like and dislike about working at your company, what keeps them there, and what might make them want to leave. Make sure you know where you stand on employee recognition, opportunities for advancement, training, management, etc. Next, survey candidates to find out about their experience with your company. Find out if they would apply again, and if they would recommend that their friends and family apply. If you made an offer which was rejected, ask why. Finally, check your company reviews on Glassdoor and CareerBliss to see what people are saying. These may be a little more honest because of the anonymity factor, so see if it matches up with what you've already heard from employees and candidates. You should also be monitoring your employment brand online – try setting up some Google Alerts, following your @ mentions on Twitter, and staying on top of articles which mention your company. There are so many opportunities that can either make or break your employment brand, and you need to be aware of them. More important than being reactive, though, is being proactive. So make a plan of action.
Make a Plan of Action
Take what you learned from employees and candidates and make a plan to get from where you are now, to where to want to be. 84% of companies believe a clearly defined strategy is the key to achieving employer branding objectives. Start by taking a look at your Employee Value Proposition – that is, the characteristics and appeal of working for your organization. This goes beyond salaries and benefits - take a look at your culture, career development opportunities, employee recognition and rewards programs, overall work experience, management practices, etc. Take what you see here and combine it with what you've learned from your employees and candidates. Then determine your objectives and come up with strategies to accomplish them. Make sure they’re realistic. Bring in somebody from each department to brainstorm and provide feedback. This shouldn't just be managers, but can be people from all organizational levels. In fact, it’s probably better if managers aren't there so that everyone can speak freely. Once you've come up with an actionable plan, create goals for implementation and continually collect feedback from employees and candidates to make sure you’re measuring progress. It can take years to build a strong brand, but only seconds to destroy it. So this cycle of collecting feedback, implementing changes and collecting more feedback will ensure that you’re improving your employer brand and attracting and retaining the best talent. Read on for a few ways to improve your employee and candidate experience.
According to a Manpower survey of over 20,000 job quitters, money is only the third most common reason people quit. Ranking before it is limited career opportunities and lack of respect and support from a supervisor. What I find particularly interesting about this is that most people cite their supervisor as the reason they quit: either from lack of respect or support, lack of leadership, bad relations with supervisor, favoritism by supervisor and lack of recognition. These are all things you should ask about during your survey, and address in your strategy. Put this feedback into your culture and vision, and make sure change starts at the top. The senior executives, especially your CEO, must be on board with this effort and your employees need to buy in to it. Not only will this help you retain them, it will help you recruit new top talent into your organization. This brings us to discuss your candidate experience.
The candidate experience often has multiple touch points, and many opportunities to make a wrong move. Here are some general guidelines:
- Be clear in your initial communications about what you’re looking for. This includes responsibilities, location, salary, required skills, desired skills, benefits and hours. They'll find out sooner or later, so just be transparent upfront.
- Make it easy to apply. Take yourself through your application process to make sure that it's quick and easy to apply, and make sure that passive candidates can apply without a resume.
- Acknowledge receipt of all applications you receive, and communicate about next steps.
- Follow up when you say you will, letting each candidate know whether they will go on to the next step of the process, or not.
- Try to be flexible with interviews – some people will be employed and don’t want to jeopardize their current position. This can help you reach those top candidates, or at least not deter them and allow your competitor to scoop them up. Be open to video interviews, or interviewing after business hours.
- Be open and honest during interviews, let the candidates know about next steps, and follow up when you say you will (even if just to say that you're still making the decision).
The point is, at each step of the recruitment process, you need to tell every single candidate whether they’re moving on to the next step of the process or not. Technology can really help you here.
Where to share your employment brand
- Career Site
- Career Blog
- Job Postings
- Social Media: Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Pinteret, Google Plus, etc
- Talent Newsletter