Why Making Investments in Employer Branding NOW Is a Must

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“Do we really need to invest in employer branding?”

It’s something that continues to be heard from the mouths of stakeholders and around the organisational C-suite, despite the fact that employer branding has become a far more mainstream and compelling proposition than it was a few short years ago.

Many remain unconvinced by the potential of employer branding, or indeed confused about its function. So let’s take a closer look at the business case – the whats, whys and hows of employer branding, particularly for the larger organisations that stand to gain the most from it.

Employer branding: A continually missed opportunity

Employer branding continues to be misunderstood by many business decision makers. To be fair, it’s an expense that can be difficult to make a business case for, as the ROI is spread across multiple, compounding factors, many of which don't offer a clear and clean financial return.

In a world where employer branding is coming into ever sharper focus, particularly for large organisations, the dangers of ignoring it are every bit as significant as the advantages of investing in it.

The fact that the financial return is unclear leads to many making the mistaken assumption that the ROI of employer branding isn’t significant – but that couldn’t be further from the truth. People, as the old business truism goes, are your company’s most valuable asset, and employer branding grants you access to the best.

To prove the employer branding business case, business leaders simply need to understand their organisation’s talent metrics, which can experience a significant uptick on the back of branding efforts. Metrics to focus on include:

  • Number of external applicants
  • Number of hires (and forecast future hires)
  • Recruitment agency spend (this is a nice, easy one to focus on)
  • Gender/diversity figures
  • External vs internal hires
  • Source and cost of hire
  • Quality of hire
  • Candidate and hiring manager satisfaction ratings

In a world where employer branding is coming into ever sharper focus, particularly for large organisations, the dangers of ignoring it are every bit as significant as the advantages of investing in it. By disregarding employer branding, an organisation will eventually reach a point where there are empty seats that would otherwise have someone productive in them.

This is compounded when a sudden market force causes high demand for a given role or talent group – if you haven't invested in awareness of your employer brand in the sector, the difficulty of filling open positions will increase further.

The business case for investing in employer branding

The most significant benefits delivered by employer branding are seen by the recruitment and HR teams. A commitment to employer branding can:

  • Double to triple applicant volumes through job advertisements, by developing content that is informed by market research and is optimised for SEO.
  • Drive greater awareness of the organisation, which can quadruple response rates to headhunting/talent sourcing approach messages.
  • Leverage technology to grow a database of prospects who sit at the top of the talent attraction funnel, converting them to applicants at zero cost.
  • Help with communicating to candidates in a way that improves their experience through the hiring process, lifting their overall satisfaction rating.
  • Make the overall talent attraction process shorter and more efficient: more applicants and higher conversion rates means fewer resources needed for the same volume of hires (according to a study by LinkedIn, recruitment costs can drop by 43%.)
  • Help manage and influence the reputation of the employer – this is vital, as one in three people will turn down a job offer because of an employer's bad online reviews.

But the truth is that employer branding is as much about current staff as it is about those of the future. A good strategy combines research from both groups, defining the EVP and the strategic objectives for the year ahead, which should be as much about retaining current staff as they are about attracting the next generation. No business wants to invest in their people only to see them move on and use their skills and training at a rival organisation. Continually hiring for the same role over and over again is also a severe drain on resources.

Getting started on your employer branding journey

But where to start? For larger businesses that are new to it, employer branding can seem a mysterious, significant and perhaps even overwhelming challenge. But it needn’t be.

Large organisations usually have a person, or group of people, responsible for managing their consumer brand – perhaps the Head of Marketing or Brand Manager. A similar set of responsibilities are required for managing an employer brand, so perhaps these roles can be expanded to include employer branding. Perhaps it’s worth creating a new role. The answer will depend on the size and makeup of your organisation, and the employer branding goals it hopes to achieve.

Employer branding is about helping your business attract and retain the best people it can.

The key is then to map out what the business expects from its investment, then to put a structure in to be able to deliver on it.

Employer branding is about helping your business attract and retain the best people it can. It’s about delivering the best service, enjoying better financial management, being able to innovate in ways others can't; things that can only be delivered if you have the best people.

If the goal is to deliver better business outcomes and a more competitive offering, it’s time for organisations large and small to take employer branding seriously. In highly competitive sectors, or those that have been hit hard by COVID-19, employer branding could not only make or break your organisation’s hiring efforts, it will increasingly determine your short-term survival and ongoing success.

“Do we really need to invest in employer branding?” The answer is a resounding yes!

Employer branding can facilitate retention and employee satisfaction by helping organisations devise ways to provide social, economic, reputational, developmental and cultural value to their people. When your people perceive the value provided by your organisation to be high, this positively impacts employee satisfaction. Higher employee satisfaction leads to reduced voluntary turnover, improved retention and ultimately a reduction in the cost of attracting and training new employees.

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