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In the context of increased competitiveness in the labor market and extended mobility of the workforce, more and more companies have become aware of the importance of building an employer brand. As it became increasingly difficult to attract and retain suitable candidates, they realized that a good employer reputation is a critical aspect in the business success.
According to the Employer Branding Now report, published in June 2016 by Universum, 59% of the global companies are spending more money on employer branding development this year compared to 2015. Also, 62% of these companies’ representatives, who responded in the survey, say employer branding is a “top priority” in their business strategy this year.
Moreover, employer branding is seen more as a CEO’s or marketing department’s responsibility, compared to previous years, when it was just the attribute of the HR department.
The increased interest in employer branding among companies is due to the fact that it has proved itself to be a key competitive differentiator in the recruitment arena.
Thus, it should not be surprising that the set of attributes called employer value propositions (EVP), which both candidates and employees perceive them as pluses, through the engagement and the decision to stay for long-term in the organization, earned a place of honor in the business strategy of the large organizations. EVP can make the difference between attracting the most suitable candidates and the uncomplainingness regarding whoever happens to apply for open positions.
The period during which the employer branding has gained in importance was 2004-2008, when, in response to the strong competition to attract the most talented employees, companies like Unilever, Shell and P&G begun to apply the same focus to their employer branding as they applied to their corporate and consumer branding. This thing led to the so called EVP.
After a long period of time, when EVPs used to be viewed as isolated recruiting tools, many organizations now see them as pieces of the whole organizational puzzle. Thus, the Universum report showed that 83% of companies say that EVP is closely linked to their central vision and mission, 72% say it is closely linked to the company values, 75% say it is a part of their talent management strategy, 60% include it in the business strategy and 59% associate it with their own corporate brand.
According to the Universum survey, this level of alignment between the EVP and the company’s strategy shows a significant change from previous years.
The study also revealed that most organizations are using employer branding to increase the awareness for the potential employees, which is very good, but not enough to attract the best candidates. So, the companies should adopt more complex practices for developing an employer brand, including its differentiation in important target groups, but also in the key markets.
Another aspect revealed in the survey is that only 30% of organizations are using their employer branding with the purpose of employee retention, because most of the discussions are focusing on attracting new talent. But employer branding is important for the current employees too.
It is about keeping a promise made when those employees got their jobs and about the fulfilling the expectations of those who trusted the company. A company’s people are the best ambassadors that it can have and often the most trusted sources to the external world. They represent the company and they will shape its image for all the stakeholders involved – potential clients or potential employees.
Retention is a matter of aligning the skills, personalities, and traits of current and future employees with the organizational culture. There is where employer branding comes in, the organizational culture being built through constantly monitoring the internal success of the internal employer brand message.
Now, people are far more likely to trust a company based on what its employees have to say than on its recruitment advertising campaigns. This means that attracting talent should rely far more heavily on engaging current employees.
However, while most companies claim to have at least a moderate brand presence in social media, only a third of them have dedicated employees who are posting content and responding to users on a regular basis. In addition, only half of companies measure the impact of social media, so it is clear that there is still room for growth. But most companies want to increase their online presence, by spending more money on social media content over the next five years.
The power of the employer brand can have a major effect on the work quality, the pride and the commitment of those employees who are in charge of delivering brand experiences for the end consumers. Other studies have shown that there is a clear link between happy employees and happy customers, thus aligning strategies regarding the employer brand and the brand dedicated to consumers will become a practice among the large companies in the coming years.
Here are some tips for attracting and retaining talent by developing a strong employer brand: