What is employer branding, and why is it important?

Everyone knows the definition of the word “employer,” but when it comes to “employer branding,” that is new not only to employees but also to many employers. And for every employer that is unfamiliar with the concept, there are countless others who lack the expertise to effectively brand their organizations. If you fall into either of these categories, you should read on. 

One way to define employer branding is the process through which you manage your brand presence and make a positive influence on prospective clients and customers as an employer. Simply put, it is stating in clear facts what your organization stands for. It is easy to separate businesses that have excelled at employer branding from those who have not.

Think about a few brands and organizations that provoke a positive image in your mind as a business and as an employer. Those brands typically have to make less of an effort on advertising, marketing, innovation, and hiring as some other brands which do not conjure the same positive feelings. This is because they have created a standing and well-established reputation for themselves both publicly and within their industries, separating themselves from their competitors. This causes prospective clients, employees, and customers to want to be affiliated with such brands. 

In essence, employer branding helps in differentiating brands by highlighting their uniqueness and advantages over their competitors and helping to communicate these differences in values, missions, and work culture. This positive image or brand resonates in a variety of ways both within and outside of the organization. 

In many cases, employer branding comes in the form of strategized public relations campaigns to redefine the perception of the brands to their target audience and the general public. This also helps highlight the needs of the audience that are in line with the brand goals. 

There are, however, a number of reasons why employer branding is a must for all brands. Some of the most compelling are: 

  1. It helps with the hiring and retaining of qualified employees
  2. It aids in controlling recruitment costs
  3. It cuts down marketing costs
  4. It improves employee engagement and productivity, and
  5. It encourages employee growth

Let’s delve a little deeper:

  1. Improves the quality of employees: It’s important to note that this occurs not only on the hiring side, but just as importantly, in terms of employee retention. The value cannot be overemphasized. Just as many employers conduct background checks, most job-seekers do background checks of their own on their prospective employers and their brands before deciding whether it is a place worthy of their skills and dedication. Here, brands must set their benchmarks to filter the type of prospective employees who are sending in their applications. It helps these prospects to know what the brands expect from them, if they have the skillset and personal characteristics to keep the job, and most importantly, if it’s the right job and/or career path for them. This is where the truth about the brand mission and goals are highly essential so as not to mislead prospects and ruin the brand image rather than building it. This in turn translates into better job satisfaction and a sense of belonging that improves retention. As noted above, however, it is crucial that employers stay true to their branding as much internally as they do externally.
  2. Control recruitment costs: Effective employer branding also helps in cutting down recruitment costs. For one, a positive and properly defined brand is a catalyst to a steady flow of qualified job seekers who willingly apply for the job openings. In fact, if done right, your brand can create a flow of applicants regardless of job postings. So you don’t necessarily have to look for employees because they would look for you, regardless of the pay in some cases, because of the affiliated reputation that comes with working with such a brand, and the long-term opportunities for growth.
  3. Cuts down marketing costs: A positive employer brand even helps tamp down marketing and sales costs, as among other things, your employees become your brand’s mouthpiece. Here, human resource management and leadership are also essential in order to assure unified, accurate, and consistent messaging. This not only continues to build your brand by assuring the proper messaging, but also through repetition. The reinforcement of your brand by employees in the form of speaking engagements also helps influence sales as it is an indirect form of professional marketing and comes at very little cost. All of this works hand in hand with the brand that you have created with customers. Once created and implemented, the process should be simple and easy to automate. And the results will be significant and far-reaching so long as it is religiously followed. But nothing can be achieved here without communication, and then, to the right audience. As a brand, you should be more involved in content creation which is the sharing of vital information about your brand, products or services, new products, testimonials, images, videos, blogs, sales, and employee benefits to your defined audience — be it employees, customers, or prospects. This process is also not complete without an adequate feedback loop that addresses issues and problems. 
  4. Improves employee engagement and productivity: Aside from hiring and retention, employer branding helps with engagement and productivity. Employees are typically more productive and devoted, necessarily translating into faster, better work products. Ultimately, these factors are key to growth, however, your organization defines it, be it revenues, customer retention or acquisition, or financial stability. Growth also tends to have a positive influence on potential clients, employees, shareholders, and investors to want to be a part of your brand. 
  5. Encourages employee growth: Yet another important benefit of employer branding is employee growth. This is particularly important in today’s fast-paced, evolving environment in which there is virtually round the clock innovation around processes and workflows. Employers enhance their brand by making sure their teams are up to speed and in a continuous process of learning and growing, and outpacing competitors. This applies across the gamut of departments and jobs. All of this and more would help employees be more productive within and outside the work environment.

These are just some of the important benefits of effective employer branding, making a crucial part of growing your business inside and out. It is important to keep in mind that employer branding isn’t like a task that you accomplish and move on. To the contrary, it is an ongoing, daily endeavor, which must evolve and build on itself. It is something that needs the daily attention of business owners and managers.