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Employer Branding: not a nice-to-have!

The concept of “Employer Branding”, and it being part of your talent strategy is nothing new. Arguably in fact as a topic for blogs, it’s been done to death. However in the face of a difficult market for Talent Acquisition folks let’s take a look at this area and how even in periods of hiring freezes, building and nurturing your Employer Brand can feed into business objectives and elevate your team.

Employer Branding (EB) is the art of shaping how your company is perceived by current employees/candidates, target candidates, and a wider passive candidate market. It's not just slapping a careers page button on your website: it's about creating a unique identity that resonates with your target talent. It’s important for articulating your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and setting expectations for the quality of a potential candidates’ recruiting process.

How can you actually boost your Employer Brand? It's not a one-size-fits-all approach, but a mix of consistent efforts: this is where sometimes EB can fall off our plates in busy times, it’s often a “long game”. From crafting compelling job descriptions, creating a candidate communications flow, nurturing an online presence, to showcasing employee stories, every touchpoint matters. The idea is to cultivate a reputation that people want to be associated with, whether they're job hunting or not. It’s this ‘long game’ with EB work that can make it feel like a “nice to have” project when working with higher req loads: that is easily the time when you reap the benefits of a strong EB the most. Quieter periods of increased project capacity are a fantastic time to build social media campaigns, improve/update the careers page, obtain collateral from the team (Glassdoor reviews, personal testimonials), and overhaul the way you articulate your EVP.

For those whose talent attraction strategy is predominantly proactive and therefore heavily reliant on sourcing, it can feel like trying to catch a shooting star some days. But here's where a strong Employer Brand can support that. When you've already established your company as a desirable workplace, those passive candidates are more likely to respond positively to your outreach. When reaching out to folks about potential roles, your sourcers will have a wealth of collateral and a variety of ways to articulate “Why us?”.

However, when does Employer Branding slip into the realm of Marketing Branding? The distinction can be subtle, but the focus is what sets them apart. While Marketing Branding aims to attract customers, Employer Branding is all about drawing in top-notch talent. They're related, but think of them as cousins rather than twins. Don’t feel that you can’t get stuck into the careers section of your website because the CMS sits with Marketing: on a project like this, you want to share the reins. Allocate time to collaboration and learn how to measure the impact of your careers page: how many times do people go directly to the careers site? Do they then click back to the corporate/consumer brand? How does one area feed the other and vice versa? Does the corporate brand drive applications, or does the careers page feed MQLs? This is industry dependent of course, but for B2C brands in particular building your EB and linking it with the commercial brand is one way to quantify the value of investing in your Talent Team beyond filling jobs.

Attracting top talent is about fuelling business success. A high-performing team doesn't just push a team’s projects forward: it propels your entire company towards growth. This directly impacts a company’s revenue. With that in mind, investing and creating an engaging EB is an essential part of business growth. It’s easy to forget how Talent Teams contribute to business-critical objectives when hiring volume is lower, however spending that time growing longer-term projects is an excellent way to keep your team connected to revenue. It provides an opportunity for partnering with Marketing to measure and track the success of two different angles for brand marketing. Remember: cousins not twins!

While Employer Branding might not be a groundbreaking concept, its importance and potential has only grown in today's competitive talent market. By cultivating a compelling Employer Brand, you're not only attracting the best but also driving your business towards bigger and better things.

Sophie Power, Community Manager at TTC and Talent Acquisition pro.

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