What Is Employer Branding, and Why Is It Important?

Updated 9 December 2022

Employer branding is the organisation's reputation as an employer. It's what people perceive the company's workplace culture and environment to be, so having a positive employer reputation helps in attracting job seekers and key stakeholders. Understanding what employer branding is and its importance can help your organisation appear more attractive to current and potential employees. This article discusses employer branding, its importance, and tips for creating a positive employer brand.

Related: 9 Essential Recruiter Skills for Career Success

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What is employer branding?

Employer branding is the process of managing your reputation as an employer among current and potential employees. It represents your company's reputation based on previous and current employees' thoughts and opinions. Having a positive employment brand attracts potential candidates and key stakeholders. This branding incorporates your organisation's unique values, mission and culture.

Employer brand is also considered the market's perception of your organisation as an employer. It describes what you offer your employees in return for their skills, experience and talents. A good employer reputation positions your company as one of the best places to work, attracting top candidates in the industry.

What's the importance of employer branding?

A strong employment brand can have significant benefits to an organisation. Some of these benefits include:

Attracting talent

Companies with strong employer brands tend to attract more applicants than companies with negative brands. Having fewer applicants makes it challenging to find a candidate with the skills and talent you need as an employer. So, creating a positive employer brand that aligns with your organisation's values can ensure you attract candidates that share the same values as the top candidates in the industry.

Related: How to build your employer brand (with steps)

Improving employee retention

High employee turnover can be costly and inconvenient for employers. Every time an employee resigns, you lose talent, experience and skills invaluable to your organisation. A positive employment brand can reduce turnover since employees feel satisfied and happy in their current position. A strong employment brand represents an enjoyable work culture and environment.

Offering a competitive advantage

Employer branding offers a competitive advantage in differentiating your organisation from its competitors. It portrays your company as the best place to work, attracting more job seekers. Though some candidates solely consider compensation, an organisation's workplace culture also significantly influences their decision.

Related: Creating a Healthy Corporate Culture

How to develop an employer brand

To improve your organisation's employer brand, consider using the following steps:

1. Understand your organisation

You must start by understanding your organisation to create a strong employer brand. Consider your company's culture, vision, values and mission statement to identify what your business needs. Knowing what your company needs can help you set expectations for the talent you need to achieve those objectives. You can then incorporate these factors into your brand to let the current and potential employees know what's expected of them.

2. Conduct an internal employer brand audit

Your employment brand represents what your current and previous employees feel about working in your organisation. To know your existing brand identity, start by gathering employees' opinions internally. You can survey one department and make it anonymous to ensure employees feel safe expressing their views. Once you've gained this information, work on the negative practices or values while focusing on the strengths that make your organisation a great working place.

In addition, you can use your top performers or employees who've been in your company the longest to discuss what they enjoy about the workplace compared to what they dislike. They can help you assess the behaviours that make someone successful and invaluable to the company. You can then use those insights to plan what type of candidates you want to reach via your employment branding.

Related: What is corporate branding? (And how to improve it)

3. Operate an external employer brand audit

Once you've identified what your employees feel about working in the company, you can research what people outside the company think about it. You can conduct surveys using individuals applying for jobs in the company. These surveys can include questions such as why they are interested in working in your company and who referred them to you.

You can also use employer review sites to compare your reputation against other employers. You can also hire a reputation monitoring firm to conduct the research and give you feedback. Through this research, you can identify weaknesses and strengths within your industry and focus on the strengths to improve your brand.

4. Define an employee value proposition

You can use an employee value proposition to attract candidates by demonstrating the benefits of working at your organisation. The employee value proposition represents what's unique about your organisation. It can include compensation and other less tangible benefits, such as an opportunity to nurture your talent and grow professionally.

To create a compelling employee value proposition, consider discussing it with potential candidates to know what they prefer. Focus on evoking passion rather than on compensation. Most people prefer to work in a meaningful and peaceful work environment, even at the expense of a higher salary.

5. Leverage your employees

When job seekers research your employer brand, they will likely trust current employees more than the managers. You can leverage your employees since they are the main determinants of your company's culture and brand. Here are some ways to leverage your employees to improve your employer brand:

Refine the message

Use phrases to describe your company's values and workplace culture. Keep the phrases unique and straightforward. You can use this phrase strategically in HR meetings, recruiting sites and social media accounts. You can also encourage your employees to use the phrase when talking about the company and interacting with employees from other organisations.

Show off your staff

You can show off your employees by creating a platform on your website where employees can update their professional profiles. You can request them to write about their working experience, describing the projects they have led and the opportunities they received from your organisation. In addition, when your company gives rewards, you can encourage the employees to post pictures and videos on their social media accounts and the company website.

Offer a strong onboarding process

The first few days of employment can be critical in creating a positive employer brand image. Your company can make the onboarding process smooth and engaging. Providing all the necessary help and tools to excel in their task ensures that employees feel confident and part of the organisation. That way, the new hires can be excited about their roles and share only positive information about the organisation, creating a great image.

6. Provide learning opportunities

One of the main reasons people leave their jobs is that they're bored with doing the same tasks every day. If you give your employees a chance to learn new things and develop skills, they develop new skills, allowing them to challenge themselves with new tasks, and avoid boredom. The more the employees gain and develop skills, the more valuable they become to your organisation. So, offer learning and development opportunities to reduce the rate of turnover, thus creating a positive brand image.

Related: What is brand consistency? (Benefits and common strategies)

7. Promote diversity and inclusion

To create a strong employer brand, you must show that you value diversity. Have a pool of diverse employees with varying backgrounds to encourage everyone to associate with the organisation. Avoid being biased or favouring certain employees. You cultivate a positive employer brand that promotes inclusion and diversity.

8. Monitor the employer's brand

Once you've developed an employer brand, you can create a metric tracking list. The metrics depend on your business needs and objectives. Some examples include referral rates and employee satisfaction. You can use these to track the employer's branding to know when and whether it needs improvement.

9. Use rich media

When introducing or promoting a product into the market, most companies use more than one channel to communicate the message. You can implement the same policy using videos, slide shows, blogs, photos and other communication channels to promote your employer brand. Be sure to use quality videos and photos showcasing beautiful workplaces and events. You must plan for the marketing costs at the beginning of the year to have a ready and available budget.

Related: Marketer Skills: Definition and Examples

10. Write engaging job descriptions

Most candidates get the first impression of your company by reading job posts. Use a brand voice that sets you apart from other organisations. It's great to use words and phrases that are straightforward but unique to get the reader's attention. Also, optimise your search engine results by using words or phrases that potential candidates are likely to search for.

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