Employer branding, employer branding, HR marketing… Many of these buzzwords refer to a simple process of highlighting the specificities and advantages of a company. The goal: to gain attractiveness as an employer. But how do you highlight the employee experience without overselling or misrepresenting the reality? How to remain authentic while being attractive to candidates? Here are our tips for developing your employer brand in the long term, while avoiding false steps.
Employer brand, definition and interest
According to François Villeroy de Galhau, Governor of the Bank of France, 44% of French companies will have difficulty recruiting in 2021. In such a context, it has never been so essential for a company to develop its employer brand.
But what is the employer brand, in concrete terms?
Quite simply, it is the way in which a company tells its story, represents itself. To be effective, this story must be as true as it is compelling.
- What is the company’s raison d’être, its genesis?
- What are its values, its culture, its work environment?
- Promises does it make to candidates, what commitments does it make to its employees, what opportunities does it offer to its employees on a daily basis?
In principle, a company’s employer brand should answer these questions and project candidates into the company’s reality in a concrete way.
Why is employer branding important for a company?
It’s all about expectations. Today, more than salary or benefits, many candidates prefer a healthy work atmosphere and caring managers. According to a Glassdoor study published in 2019, company culture is more important to candidates than salary.
And precisely, it has never been easier to evaluate a company’s culture than it is today. With the rise of social networks and the sharing of experiences on Glassdoor, candidates have become accustomed to finding out about the work environment offered by their potential employer… even before applying for a job!
For example, according to Glassdoor’s Mission and Culture 2019 survey, 77% of adults in four countries (US, UK, France, and Germany) are in the habit of investigating a company’s culture before applying. Better yet, 79% of them are keen to understand a company’s mission and goals. Also, 5,000 survey participants said that company culture was more important to them than salary.
In other words, providing a fulfilling work environment is now essential to attracting the best talent.
How can you develop your employer brand while staying true to yourself?
Promoting your company and your employee experience is not an easy task. While it is important to highlight the strengths of your company and its specificities, consistency and authenticity must remain the order of the day. Here are a few best practices to adopt in order to effectively promote your employer brand:
Stay true to yourself
Sure, it can be tempting to embellish a work atmosphere, to promise a little too many benefits, to chant values a little too loudly… Remember though that it’s 2021, and everything is known. Thanks to platforms like Glassdoor, word-of-mouth… But also thanks to initiatives like Balance your startup, an Instagram account that allows employees who are victims of deplorable working conditions to speak out.
Today, the most effective employer brands are authentic and reflect the real values of the company. Their goal: to attract the talent that has those same values.
Delivering on your promises
Thinking that your employer brand is primarily for your potential candidates is naive. In reality, your employer brand should initially be about retaining and engaging your talent.
When you meet your employees’ expectations in terms of well-being, shared values and culture, you involve them in the life of your company… and they subsequently contribute to building a good reputation!
Conversely, making false promises to your candidates by promoting an illusory quality of life at work will only accentuate the resentments and frustrations of your current employees.
Use a ATS to make sure you respond to candidates after the interview. Whether the answer is positive or negative, let them know.
Minimize the gap between the company’s projected image and the actual employee experience
To remain authentic and avoid frustration, make it a point of honor to reduce the gaps that may appear between the promise delivered by your HR marketing and the employee experience as it is actually lived by your employees.
How can you do this? For example, you can:
- Ask your new hires for honest feedback (through anonymous questionnaires, surprise reports…)
- Conduct surveys to measure employee engagement.
- Pay particular attention to the reviews left about you on Glassdoor.
- Conduct focus groups to highlight the frustrations and disappointments felt by your new recruits…
Develop your employer brand Use “employee generated content”.
We can’t say it enough: your employees are your best ambassadors. They are also in the best position to talk about your company culture, the atmosphere at work in your premises, but also your strengths and weaknesses. In fact, their word is worth its weight in gold. According to a Randstad study, 86% of employees would not consider working for a company with a poor reputation.
When you give your employees the opportunity to share their experience with you without a filter, you allow candidates to form a reliable opinion about your employee experience.
But of course, to do this, you must first have satisfied and fulfilled employees who are willing to promote the company wholeheartedly. According to this study, 50% of employees who are satisfied with their company would use social networks to talk about their employer.
Good to know:
There’s no need to be employer of the year to boost your employer brand! Being driven by a real desire to progress and improve the experience of your employees is already a great start!
Learn to communicate your unique benefits
What may seem basic and obvious to one company (such as caring communication and information sharing) is not to another. Don’t hesitate to regularly ask your employees (especially new recruits) about the good practices they appreciate in your company, its strengths, its uniqueness… Are all these elements well highlighted by the company when it communicates?
Develop your employer brand in conclusion
Behind any employer brand lies a real issue of credibility. The image created by a company to attract candidates must be consistent with the employee experience it offers to its teams. So there’s no need to invest a lot of money in marketing campaigns if your employees perceive you negatively.
Instead, start with a sincere concern for the well-being of your employees. Word of mouth will do the rest.
Finally, don’t forget to ask yourself what makes you unique and attractive. What makes your employees happy at work? What is your company’s mission, its dreams? The more transparently you communicate your company’s identity and values, the more qualified candidates you will attract.