In an over-crowded recruiting market where nearly every firm has crucial positions to fill and talent runs in short supply, how can the best candidates be attracted? Candidates have become really selective about finding the next home for their skill set, especially with work and life becoming more intertwined than ever before.

Having a strong employer brand that resonates can act as the much-needed enabler in your talent acquisition efforts. Whether your firm is dealing with the standard talent gap problem or the age-old retention issue, a strong employer brand is one of the most effective ways to attract the best in the business.

83% of Recruiting Leaders say a strong Employer Brand helps with hiring

According to LinkedIn’s Employer Branding Playbook, more than 80% of leaders feel that having a strong employer branding strategy is necessary in this competitive market. According to another survey by Better Team, companies with strong employer brands get twice as many applicants as companies with negative employer brands. It can be deduced that a reputed brand impacts whether a talented candidate joins an organization or leaves it for a competitor.

Advantages of a Strong Employer Brand in Recruitment: What the Numbers Say

– 28% reduction in organization’s turnover
– 50% cost-per-hire reduction
– 50% more qualified applicants
– 1-2X faster time-to-fire

Revamping a Branding Strategy

What is the starting point for a branding transformation? It’s not just about breaking through the clutter, fancy marketing campaigns or stylish logos, it has to come from within the organization. Companies need to assess their internal values as an organization and figure out the best way to convey them to prospective candidates. Here is a three step process to solving the problem:

1. Begin with Your Existing Employees

Before aiming to attract outside talent, companies should start with their existing employee base by evaluating the following:

– What do they love about working for the company?
– How do they feel about their work?
– Why and how do they feel valued?
– What would they like to change, if anything?

2. Use Empathy Maps to Target Your Ideal Candidate

Once the perceived benefits and concerns of working for a company are understood internally, a company can assess how they can go about targeting their ideal candidate. What does the ideal candidate look like? What are the qualities the company is looking for? What should they possess to be successful in the organization?

A team-level discussion can clarify this, enabling companies to zero in on where they can locate such candidates. Empathy maps are a useful tool to visualize the ideal candidate, not just on the basis of their schedule but also on overall personality.

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3. Curate the Right Message

A good organizational message should reflect a company’s true character, keep the future in mind and be consistent across the board. At this point, it is very important to track the engagement of prospective candidates with the brand’s message and fine-tune it based on their feedback. Once this is done, the company can proceed with mapping various candidate journeys.

Two Stories of Brands that Turned It Around

How do best-in-class brands do this? Here are examples of two real-life success stories.

How KPMG’s ‘Purpose Initiative’ Led to Higher Job Satisfaction Among Employees

Convinced that their workforce needed much more motivation than just their paycheck, KPMG launched the ‘Purpose Initiative’ which was aimed at elevating the engagement levels of their workforce.

‘We Shape History’ Campaign

To inculcate a stronger sense of purpose to every role, KPMG came up with the ‘We Shape History’ video campaign. The video showed how work done by KPMG’s employees resulted in historic events like the release of US hostages in Iran by resolving conflicting financial claims or defeating Nazi Germany with the land-lease act. The firm wanted their employees to not only see themselves as auditors or analysts but as people whose work impacted American lives for the better, and played a role in the nation’s history and direction.

Your Work Makes a Difference – The 10,000 Stories Challenge

The company then invited its employees to share their own stories about how their work made a difference to the world. The reward was two extra paid leave days at the end of the year. The company set a realistic goal of 10,000 stories by Thanksgiving but to everyone’s surprise, it ended up receiving more than 42,000 stories.

The Results

According to HBR, the results of the Purpose Initiative were much better than what the company expected.

– More than 90% of the employees felt the campaign made KPMG a more reputed brand
– More than 85% felt that KPMG was a great place to work
– More than 60% employees said that it increased their pride in what they did for a living
– More than 76% felt that their job had a special meaning now

How Google Made Itself an Attraction for Innovators

Google was always known for its new-age perks and unique interview process, but the company felt that its core message of Innovation was missing in its brand’s theme. This led the company to introduce the 20%-time policy, and the results were extraordinary.

The 20%-time Policy

An article published in Forbes Magazine discusses Google’s 20%-time policy that encourages employees to devote 20% of their time to creative and innovative pursuits. As the brand wanted to set itself apart from the usual boring office environment, this was the perfect strategy to put forward its message. In fact, the starting point for one of Google’s most successful projects Google Suggest had its origins from the 20% program.

The Results

– Ever since the inception of the program, the company has reported better innovative products
– Employee satisfaction and performance index is on the rise
– Around the world, Google is now seen as a brand that fosters innovation
– Consistently ranked amongst the ‘Best Places to Work’

The perception of being an innovative brand not only helped with attracting the crème de la crème of technology talent, it also cultivated a sense of belonging that is the holy grail of employee retention.

3 Proven Ways to Improve Employer Branding

The following are three quick fixes that can impact a company’s branding strategy:

Tell Employee Stories that are Relatable: One of the best ways to promote your employer brand is by telling employee success stories that resonate with your target audience. Nothing works as well as the human element. This could be a simple success story about how a housewife turned her life around in the organization, or how a technology guy became a marketing wizard because of the opportunities offered in the organization. Social media as well as internal employee management tools can aid in promoting this endeavor. The best part of real-life stories is that employees can act as  brand advocates to make the company’s employer branding campaign a success.

Market the Company Culture by Giving an Insight into the Selection Process and Work Environment: This can be done by promoting the perks and opportunities in addition to the company culture. Conveying the company culture, maintaining work-life balance, employee motivation sessions, and camaraderie that the peers share can be very helpful in building an employer brand. An insight into the company’s selection process can also be very convincing to prospective hires.

Share the Positive Impact on Various Social Media Platforms: Not only does a company need to develop its employer brand internally, but they must also let the outside world know how they are going about this and what the results are. Sharing this via social media is a key part of developing a company’s employer image.

New Age of Recruiting

Developing a positive employer brand is a key part of the new age recruitment process. The main takeaway is to humanize your employer brand as much as possible. The company shouldn’t just speak for itself but let employees share their experiences by engaging with social media and other external communication strategies. Work culture should be communicated to prospective job-seekers not only through the perks a company offers, but through innovative programs, work-life balance initiatives, and CSR activities.

If implemented properly, a successful employer branding strategy can not only help attract the best talent but also help in employee retention, increased engagement, and subsequently increased productivity. The case for investing time and resources to establish a well thought out employer brand is a strong one and companies wanting to attract and engage with high quality talent should definitely partake in.

Shiraj Kohli

Shiraj Kohli

An Engineer in Computer Science, Shiraj has extensive experience in content marketing, and employer brand strategies. His focus includes tech based hiring methods, employee engagement and retention strategies


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