How to build your employer brand for recruitment

How to build your employer brand for recruitment

You understand your consumer brand — what you sell, who your audience is, and how you reach them. But how much have you thought about how to build your employer brand? When potential candidates see your company as authentic and desirable, you're likely to attract the top talent in your industry. 

A strong, attractive employer brand has three key components. It strategically uses social media to drive recruitment, demonstrates company culture and values through benefits and programs, and highlights a clear connection between your mission and the efforts of your team members. We've taken inspiration from major corporations with strong employer brands to provide you with tips to implement these strategies in a business of any size. 

Join the social media conversation

To succeed as an employer brand on social media, you need a refined strategy that reaches your target audience through the channels they use. Spend time researching your ideal hires to understand where they spend time online and the types of messages they prefer to receive from potential employers. Start by listening to how your current workers communicate about the employee experience. Then, make social media channels work for you by communicating your values and culture to create an authentic employer brand and recruit new applicants.

Corporate example: Southwest Airlines is known for high employee satisfaction, and it proactively communicates that reputation to an external audience through its social media profiles. Southwest's Instagram is a great example of a genuine connection between employer and employee. The airline uses social media to illustrate its employer brand and participate in public discourse with current and potential employees. It highlights the value its employees bring to the business, showcases team members' professional achievements, and shares personal accomplishments and heart-warming stories.

How to implement: You don't need a big budget to cultivate an authentic social media presence that fosters conversation around employment. Did a coworker earn recognition for their work? Is everyone celebrating a milestone they recently achieved? Research to learn where and how your employees are talking about their experience at your company. Absorb their feedback and use this knowledge to create and share content that positively reflects your working environment. You can even take it one step further by integrating an employee referral program that is supported by social media.

"To succeed as an employer brand on social media, you need a refined strategy that reaches your target audience through the channels they use." 

Offer in-demand benefits that reflect core values

Many people prefer to work for organizations that support personal growth and align with their priorities. From flexible schedules for taking care of kids to paid volunteer days, benefits that promote balance will bolster your employer brand. 

Corporate example: Starbucks has skyrocketed past the stereotype of a low-paid coffee shop job to offer its teams real value. The corporation clearly states its values and its expectations of employees and, in turn, provides benefits that create an engaged and productive workforce. Health care and paid time off for both full-time and part-time workers, generous parental leave, education assistance, and programs to foster civic engagement are just some of the ways Starbucks connects employment to its values.

How to implement: Your benefits package is specific to your organization, but even small businesses can promote perks that attract talented candidates. If you have the budget to boost benefits, consider increasing your portion of employee health care premiums, providing a catered meal once per week, adding cash incentives for successful employee referrals, or paying for a percentage of childcare costs. If you're a smaller operation with leaner finances, you might offer budget-friendly but desirable benefits such as: 

  • Half-day or work-from-home Fridays
  • A culture that promotes work–life balance, such as protocols about sending emails outside office hours
  • A relaxed dress code
  • Flexible scheduling
  • Remote opportunities
  • Team-building events

Shape company culture with a clear mission

A defined purpose helps your employees identify a reason to come to work and allows team members to remain accountable in their roles and engaged as they work toward business objectives. The pillars of your mission — whether you're a nonprofit, large franchise, or small family business — guide culture, recruiting, and team building.

Corporate example: Outdoor clothing brand Patagonia is not an environmental activist group. It started as a business to provide gear for climbing enthusiasts. Eventually, the brand became synonymous with conservation and environmental protection because of its employees. The team's personal ethos became a company core value, which translated to product marketing campaigns and refreshed recruitment tactics. From repairs on old products to on-site environmentally friendly benefits, Patagonia's employer brand and company mission are one and the same.

How to implement: Marketing and advertising campaigns, staff events, donation drives, and volunteer programs can all serve as avenues to integrate your employees' values with your company's mission and goals. Your employer brand becomes tightly woven with your consumer brand, allowing every touchpoint to become a recruiting opportunity.

With these three strategies, your recruitment brand will quickly rival your marketing brand when it comes to driving interest in your business. Even slightly shifting your tactics to align with the needs of your target workforce can make a dramatic difference in candidate quality, longevity, and engagement. Above all, aim for a branding strategy that positions your business as a workplace that advances careers and provides personal fulfillment.

More tips for hiring managers:

Energize your employer brand with the latest AI-based recruitment tools.

Get to know the six steps to a successful recruiting strategy.

Revitalize your workforce by recruiting from untapped talent pools.

Dodge these common recruiting mistakes that can hurt your employer brand.

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