Having a strong employer brand is critical in keeping you from losing out on top talent during the recruitment process.
Hiring great talent that fits your culture like a glove is already tough. Then the world was rocked by Covid-19 and most workplaces plunged into remote work environments if they didn’t close their doors altogether. There’s also been a seismic shift in attitudes about the nature of work and where your target talent wants to do it.
In the U.S., four in 10 employees now say they’ve considered leaving their current jobs for greener pastures (better pay) and nearly half of workers under 40 have said they might quit unless their bosses agreed to hybrid working models.
Part-timers are sick of low wages and unstable work while full-time office workers feel they are being worked to the bone in toxic cultures. And yet, the industry giants still have the upper hand when it comes to share of voice in the labour market.
“As a company, you know you’ve done a great job articulating your EVP if the quality of your candidates at the top of the funnel is stronger than it was prior to doing your EVP work,” says John Fleischauer, Chief Talent Officer of Pivot + Edge. “Because it shows that you’re attracting people with similar or shared values.”
There are ways, however, in which the Davids can successfully compete against the Goliaths of the world – they can build a slingshot.
By taking the time to truly understand your own business needs and defining your ideal candidates (based on business needs, culture fit and critical competencies), your in-depth understanding will ensure your communication will be more effective in a talent market full-to-the-brim with quality candidates.
Now, whether your ideal job-seekers are re-entering the market or jumping ship for new work opportunities, your company is going to need something that sets it apart. How is your Employer Value Proposition (EVP) looking?
Nail down your Employer Value Proposition (EVP)
You might be asking: “What’s an EVP?” Great question. Simply put, your Employer Value Proposition is a measure of alignment between employer and employee values, which leads to happier company relationships and, therefore, healthier bottom lines. The EVP comes from carefully crafted research and an understanding of how your employees view your company and how potential candidates size your culture up against the competition. If done right, it should resonate with your target audience and help you bring on more people like your best people.
To put it another way, Recruitee breaks the process down to owned and earned branding; owned is the employer’s compelling story about what a business stands for, usually through web content and video shared to social media channels. On the other hand, earned branding is public feedback and commentary from employees and candidates which occurs organically via public forums like Glassdoor and Indeed–this is both cost-efficient and more authentic.
For a full rundown of how to discover, create and implement your Employer Value Proposition (EVP), download your free digital copy of The Ultimate Guide for Startup Employer Branding.
Turn your employees into brand ambassadors
Existing employees are your best asset for building upon and promoting your culture amongst other employees and to future candidates. Over time, your employer branding will naturally improve and evolve as you attract new employees and establish loyalty within your existing ones, ultimately validating and strengthening the organization’s EVP. If your aim is to improve engagement and advocacy (while reducing turnover) employer branding is the key to success.
Employee advocacy is the exposure and interest generated by employees for their company using their own assets. This can include: social media, online discussion forums, or even word of mouth. Try these options on for size:
- Encourage employees to share their experiences with your company on the company review pages that you have already updated in the steps above.
- Respond to reviews and engage with reviewers and their comments. This will provide transparency and let potential candidates see that your company values openness and employee feedback.
- Personalize any company review site pages you’re able to and populate them with statement supporting your authentic and credible EVP, add video from recent employee events that demonstrates your culture and add testimonials from current employees and executives on why they believe your company is a great place to work.
Stay on the ball with EVP messaging
So, we know that an EVP has to be unique, relevant, and compelling if it stands any chance to attract, engage and retain top talent that fits your culture. It must also be consistent in its messages across all touch points of a candidate’s interaction with your brand. Display your new EVP front and center, across the employee experience from your recruitment processes, through to on-boarding and career development. When conducting interviews, it should always be top of mind because you need to gauge whether candidates understand and value it.
And of course, live by the values you created. It would be pretty awkward if someone asked about the finer points of your work culture and you drew a blank. That’s a sure sign of memorized buzz words, not a passion for employer/employee relationship building.
Commit to your company values – they always matter, even in the application process
You’ll be hard-pressed in 2021 to find a successful company that has not developed its own set of employer values to promote positive workplace culture. However, it is more than throwing together 6-7 snappy action words overnight and hanging them up on your office wall. If you don’t already have them, these values take effort and time because they need to be honest, fulfilling and authentic–prospective talent can smell inauthenticity from a mile away and will not hesitate to pass you over for the next company.
According to Glassdoor, 75% of job seekers consider an employer’s brand before even applying for a job and up to half the candidates out there say they won’t even work for a company with a bad reputation, even if there is a pay increase. That should tell you something about the power of a genuine EVP and workplace culture.
How a strong EVP creates a better candidate application process
Other than the obvious power of attracting more talent and generating more applications, there are a few ways a successful employer brand can impact your hiring process.
The values outlined in your EVP should be apparent throughout every interview, assessment and disqualification. Just as your employees are the mouthpiece of your employer brand, applicants who hit any touchpoints with your company may opt to join the conversation.
“You know an organization has done a great job articulating their Employer Value Proposition if it inspires the candidate or job seeker to either ‘select in’ or ‘select out’ of the application process as they are either convinced, they share the organization’s values or not,” says John Fleischauer.
There should be harmonious alignment between both your EVP and the candidate application experience. Ensuring each interaction speaks back to what you preach on your careers page means disqualified applicants leave the experience with a positive outlook on your company—which becomes extremely beneficial in creating your talent network.
A holistic communication, marketing and talent sourcing plan is a must-have when it comes to getting the right kind of talent on board and establishing yourself as an employer of choice. For effective brand promotion, identifying the communication vehicles that will reach your target market most directly and then working to update them will be key to stimulating business growth and building a pool of qualified candidates that mirror your ideal values and make a magical fit with your team.
However, we fully understand that investing in the development of your employer brand and promoting it may appear overwhelming for small HR departments at startups.
But there is good news.
There are professional services-based organizations such as Pivot + Edge that you can outsource these activities to; in return you are attracting better applicants with a great company culture story and building candidate trust without lifting a finger.
To learn more, download our FREE eBook The Ultimate Guide for Startup Employer Branding today.