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How a strong employer brand can attract top talent

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An employer brand should aim to create an emotional connection between a business and its employees. When managed strategically you can control the message and it becomes a powerful tool to attract and retain top talent, without management or influence you risk an employer brand that is left to outside interpretation and perception.

Your employer brand is not something you actually own, your reputation as an employer is shaped in the minds of employees and potential employees, by their own thoughts and impressions of the business. It is these that you can have an influence on and these that will have a significant impact on the strength of your employer brand.

According to a LinkedIn Employer Brand statistic report companies with a stronger employer brand see 50% more qualified applicants, hire employees as much as twice as fast, and are able to reduce their cost of hire by 50%.

The impact of company culture on your employer brand

An employer brand can be enhanced through an organisation’s environment and culture. For example, a positive, progressive and flexible work environment could brand your business as a forward thinking and trusting employer.

When done well, your culture is your competitive advantage, businesses need to consider how they can leverage their culture in order for it to have a positive impact on their employer brand.

A company’s culture will determine how an employee feels at work, which in turn will have an impact on how easy or hard they find their job.

This internal image you have hopefully spent time fostering will then be communicated externally in a variety of ways, creating a reputation.

When you think about your brand you should think as much internally as externally- there can’t be a disconnect. What you are saying internally must be reflected externally and vice versa.

Given that reputation is at the heart of employer branding efforts, company culture plays an essential role in shaping and promoting the brand. With this in mind, a business needs to focus on what its goal for the brand is and how this fits into company culture.

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The Employee Value Proposition (EVP)

While it is the company culture that shapes the employer brand, the EVP has the ability to truly differentiate an organization and its culture from the competition.

When implemented properly the EVP is at the heart of a sustainable company culture and is communicated directly from employees.

But what is your EVP?

It is a unique set of benefits employees receive in return for their skills, capabilities, and experiences; it defines the essence of your business. It describes a mix of characteristics, benefits, and ways of working in an organization and represents anything of value the company provides to its employees:

·       Salary

·       Benefits

·       Training and development

If you like, it’s a deal struck between a company and an employee.

There is no way around it if you want to achieve a strong employer brand to attract the best you must offer the best, remembering that your EVP is what is of value to the employees that fit your business and the culture you have fostered.

Your employees become your voice

A business must understand what its employees want and value; get that right and they will become your ambassadors, enhancing your employer brand and doing the job of talent attraction for you.

Your employees can reflect company culture, which can be used to attract new and aligned talent. If they love where they work and what they do, word will spread.

Any business can give chapter and verse about how great they are and how unique the company culture is, but there is nothing more powerful and more importantly believable than when it comes from the mouths of your employees in the form of referrals.

The role of employer brand in the recruitment process

A business should use its employer brand to convey its culture during the recruitment process. Not only do you want to attract candidates with your employer brand, you also want to use it to remove those individuals from the process who wouldn’t fit the company culture and wouldn’t enjoy being part of it. Hiring people that align with your culture will help to attract more top talent.

Ultimately better cultural fits will drive greater employee engagement and better staff retention.

As a business, you have complete control over your employer brand and how your culture and EVP impact it. How your employees feel and what they value about the organization are likely to directly correlate with the reputation and feelings about the business externally; influencing the internal means impacting the external.