An authentic employer brand is integrated into recruitment, HR and organisational culture. That said, teams working on employer branding in HR and recruitment typically have different responsibilities and perspectives, which correlates to different metrics. Here’s how employer branding can differ between these two critical teams – and the different KPIs you might use to track progress.
What is employer branding in HR?
Employer branding is often considered a recruitment responsibility because it’s usually high on the talent acquisition team’s agenda. For example, CIPD’s 2022 resourcing and talent planning report found that 75% of respondents took action to improve employer brand over the last year, rising to 84% for larger organisations.
Employer branding isn’t only a recruitment responsibility, however, because employer brand doesn’t only benefit recruitment. It can also have positive impacts for HR and your organisation as whole. As one study from 2022 found, a positive employer brand results in better performance against competitors by retaining talent and increasing levels of employee engagement.
This shows that employer branding isn’t siloed but instead crosses over from talent acquisition into HR, employee management and organisational culture.
Recruitment brand, employer brand, and consumer brand intersect – and ultimately, this joined-up approach enables authenticity, connecting the dots between recruitment, HR and culture. This is a critical part of setting accurate candidate expectations to drive better hiring and retention outcomes.
Is employer branding in recruitment different?
Employer branding in HR and employer branding in recruitment speak to the same idea, but the oversight and responsibilities of each department often differ – which means the relevant employer branding metrics often differ, too.
Employer branding in recruitment might focus on:
- Improving your careers site
- Reviewing the recruitment process to consider candidate experience
- Developing social media careers content
- Building differentiated advertising experiences
- Checking company descriptions across external partner sites
- Gathering candidate insights (qualitative or quantitative)
- Collating salary benchmarking data
- Running data-driven hiring campaigns
Employer branding in HR might focus on:
- Strengthening your employee value proposition
- Gathering employee insights (qualitative or quantitative)
- Conducting exit interviews to understand drivers of turnover
- Building and delivering an internal communications strategy
- Encouraging employee-generated social media content
- Working with the C-suite to outline mission, vision and values
- Implementing new HR policies to meet employee needs, like hybrid working
- Supporting employee emotional wellbeing (58% of UK workers believe their employer should be at least partly responsible for this)
The exact nature of the split varies between different organisations, depending on many factors including organisation size, team size and bandwidth, and team buy-in and interest. You might find, for instance, that employer branding has a clear champion within a certain team and this becomes the locus point for outward focus.
That said, employer branding is stronger if both HR and recruitment have oversight and accountability, working collaboratively to build a cohesive, consistent brand that carries through every touchpoint.
Let’s look at employer branding metrics you might consider within each department.
Employer brand metrics
It can be difficult to look at employer brand head on, as there’s no single internal metric that definitively measures employer brand strength. The Employer Branding Institute say there are over 520 metrics that track and over 250 organisational processes that shape employer brand.
Taken together, a combination of metrics can help your organisation paint an overall picture of the state of your employer brand, and whether your efforts are driving improvements over time.
Here are some areas you could look at within HR and recruitment to better understand your employer brand right now, as well as the effectiveness of your continued employer branding efforts.
Ten metrics for employer branding in HR
Here are ten focus areas for HR professionals to better understand employer brand.
- Employee Net Promoter Scope (eNPS): this tells you how employees feel about your organisation and whether they’d recommend a career with you.
- Referral rate: if employees are referring their contacts to work with you, it suggests they feel positively about you as an employer.
- Early turnover: if newly hired employees are leaving your organisation within the first 12, six or three months (or even earlier), this can suggest the reality of the job doesn’t match their expectations.
- Productivity: taken with some of these other metrics, high or increasing productivity can be a strong positive indicator that employees are happy, engaged and empowered to perform their best.
- Retention rate: a good or increasing retention rate can show that you’re keeping employees in house, which typically correlates to a strong brand.
- Employee engagement: building a better understanding of employee engagement can help you understand how employees feel about your brand. For example, surveys can show you which specific elements of your organisation employees agree with.
- Internal comms metrics: looking at metrics like open and engagement rates on your internal comms can help you understand how much employees are interacting with internal brand touchpoints.
- Workforce demographics: workforce demographics can show you a breakdown of your organisation's employees and representation across different diverse communities. Diversity and inclusion are important elements of your employer brand.
- Employer brand awareness: you can measure employer brand awareness through social listening or brand awareness tracking surveys to help you see how strong your brand is across the wider hiring landscape.
- Employer brand perception: you could measure brand perception through social listening or brand perception surveys and interviews to learn how your brand is perceived across the wider jobs market.
Ten metrics for employer branding in recruitment
Here are ten focus areas for talent acquisition professionals to better understand employer brand.
- Candidate Net Promoter Score (cNPS): candidate feedback is a goldmine for understanding your employer brand. cNPS can tell you how candidates feel about your organisation and application and recruitment processes, and flag possible issues.
- Completed application rate: this can act as an excellent early tripwire, alerting organisations about potential recruitment process and employer branding problems.
- Cost-per-hire: studies show that a strong employer brand reduces recruitment costs by 50%. A low, or decreasing, cost-per-hire is often a good sign that employer branding efforts are paying off.
- Volume of qualified applications: given that 75% of candidates consider employer value proposition before applying for a job, you should see applications improve as you strengthen your employer branding efforts.
- Quality of hire: ultimately, a strong and authentic employer brand equips you to hire more of the right people for your organisation. Assessing the quality of your hired employees over time can show whether your employer branding activities are moving the needle.
- Career page analytics: looking at how visitors consume your careers site content can help you understand how potential jobseekers are interacting with your brand – and where you have room to improve.
- Offer acceptance rate: this is an excellent metric for assessing employer brand because it tells you how desirable your organisation is to the people you want to hire.
- Candidate demographics: candidate demographics can help you understand which people your brand attracts into the organisation, and how they move through your recruitment process.
- Social media metrics: these can tell you how prospective jobseekers engage with your careers content, which content resonates most, and where you could improve for better traction.
- Recruitment marketing metrics: looking at the success of recruitment marketing campaigns can help you understand how well your employer brand is translating externally. A campaign with high engagement can have a big branding impact.
Whether we’re talking about employer branding in HR or employer branding in recruitment, the important thing to improve on employer brand is to set goals, settle on metrics and measure progress over time. The practice of employer branding might differ depending on your role and other organisational factors like size and internal buy-in – but ultimately, all departments should be pulling in the same direction to create a strong, authentic brand that's consistent from recruitment onwards.