Your marketing, product, and customer service teams likely spend a lot of time building and protecting your company’s brand name. They focus on driving awareness of your brand to new customers and fostering a glowing reputation. Whether your brand is quirky, quality-focused, or quick-moving, they help cultivate those feelings about your company.
As a human resources leader, you’re responsible for maintaining another crucial aspect of your company’s image: your employer brand. Strong, positive employer branding can help you recruit and retain talented employees who are excited to come to work each day.
But employer branding isn’t developed just by happenstance — it needs to be actively cultivated, just like the rest of your organization’s brand image. Here’s what you need to know about employer branding and its impacts for your company.
What is Employer Branding?
Employer branding is creating and maintaining an attractive, positive image of your organization to both current and prospective employees. It’s a combination of your company’s values, culture, mission statement, and vision — essentially what makes your company unique from other employers out there.
Deeper than that, though, an employer brand captures people's lived experiences and feelings when they come into contact with your organization as an employer. This could be based on how they were treated during the hiring process, what it’s like to work with your team day-to-day, and whether or not their career goals are met by working for you.
Employer Brand vs. Company Brand: What's the Difference?
Your company brand is the public-facing image of your organization. It’s how customers and partners perceive your business, based on their interactions with you as a vendor, client, or observer. Your employer brand is a version of that same recognition — only it’s tailored to potential and current employees.
Employer branding helps outsiders understand your company culture, how different teams work together, and the expectations they'll face as part of the team. It speaks to the opportunities available to employees in terms of career development and to the working culture they'll encounter if they accept a job with your company.
Why Does Employer Branding Matter?
Employer branding is important for several reasons. By cultivating your employer brand, you can:
- Attract top talent: A strong employer brand plays a crucial role in any talent acquisition strategy, helping you stand out from the competition and showing quality job candidates that your company is worth considering. One Glassdoor report found that 50% of candidates won't work for an organization with a poor reputation, even if they're offered more money. If you want to attract talented team members and speed up time to hire, then you'll have to invest in both your candidate and employee experiences.
- Retain valuable employees: Employer branding also helps you keep talented employees in their roles. If you have a good reputation, you've probably earned it by creating an environment of trust and by caring for your team members. And this usually drives up employee retention — for instance, workers are nearly 70% more likely to remain loyal to their employer if they’re happy with their benefits. A positive employer brand — one that focuses on employee satisfaction and development — can convince them to stay put.
- Reduce turnover costs: The cost of employee turnover is significant, but especially so when you have to make up for a bad reputation. It’s estimated that companies with a poor employer brand spend about $4,723 more per hire to convince candidates to come on board, according to Harvard Business Review. An effective employer branding strategy, however, can help you avoid the expensive process of replacing an employee.
- Boost employee morale and satisfaction: A good employer brand can also improve your employee morale. When employees feel valued by their employer, it's reflected in their attitude towards the company — they're more than three times as likely to be satisfied when they feel cared for at work. If your team associates the company with values like trust, respect, recognition, and career growth opportunities, they’ll be more likely to stay motivated and productive in their work.
- Improve company brand and credibility: By creating a positive impression of your company among current and prospective employees, you’ll also be improving the overall reputation of your business. Employee brand advocacy is an important part of building credibility for any organization, and it can ultimately lead to more customers and partners wanting to work with you.
Five Employer Branding Strategies You Can Deploy
Now that you know why employer branding is important, it’s time to start building your strategy. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Develop an Employer Value Proposition
An employer value proposition (EVP) is a statement that summarizes what employees gain from working at your organization, beyond just a job or a salary. That could mean job satisfaction, professional growth opportunities, or a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. The value proposition sets you apart from other companies and communicates your commitment to the employee experience.
When drafting your EVP, think about what makes your company different and special to work for, especially as it relates to your work environment and your mission, values, and purpose. For example, if your company's mission centers around environmentalism and efforts to address climate change, capture how that impacts the employee experience to connect with passionate, purpose-driven team members.
- Highlight your Current Employees
Your current team members can be some of your company’s greatest brand ambassadors. Use their stories and experiences to show job seekers what it’s like to work for you — after all, people naturally gravitate towards stories that feel authentic and personal. Ask employees to write reviews on career sites like Glassdoor or share photos of their workspace via Instagram. You can even post clips of Q&A sessions on your careers page to give potential candidates an honest look at the daily life of a team member.
You can also feature employee stories and testimonials on your social media platforms, and bring team members along to job fairs and new hire events. Showcasing real employees can be an effective way to show job seekers what it’s like to work for you and why they should join your team.
- Invest in the Employee Experience
It’s not enough to tell job candidates what their experience will be like — you have to actually provide those experiences. From recruitment processes, onboarding experiences, benefits packages, flexible work policies, wellness programs, office amenities, recognition programs, and career growth opportunities — think about how you can stand out as an employer and care for your team members.
- Provide Feedback Loops
When teams feel heard and valued, it contributes to a positive employee experience and a strong employer brand. Employees who feel that their voice is heard are almost five times as likely to feel empowered and do their best work, according to data from Salesforce. Incorporate regular feedback loops into your employee experience to show that you take their thoughts and opinions seriously.
You can do this through employee surveys, regular reviews and check-ins, focus groups, and more. And try to respond or act on employee feedback quickly when it comes in, so they can see that you're taking it seriously.
- Establish a Strong Hiring Process
Your recruitment process communicates a lot about your company, and it’s important to make sure you have an efficient, thorough system in place for every candidate — not just your final hire. After all, you want candidates to walk away with a positive impression of your company and hiring managers and feel encouraged to apply again. If your process is too long or convoluted, or if it lacks transparency and communication, you might find that job seekers avoid applying to your open positions.
From the initial job posting to the start of onboarding, every interaction between your organization, candidates, and new hires counts. You can build out a great candidate experience by establishing clear systems for tracking applications, scheduling interviews, and onboarding new hires, as well as being clear and straightforward in all of your communications.
Prioritizing Employee Wellbeing Strengthens Your Employer Brand
One of the best ways for companies to improve their employer brand is to focus on employee wellness. Eighty-five percent of workers are more likely to stay in their roles if their company takes better care of their wellbeing, as detailed in Gympass’ Work-Life Wellness Report.
You can care for your employees by helping them thrive in and out of the workplace. While perks like health insurance and retirement plans are still among the most valuable to workers, you can also help them address their whole wellbeing through initiatives and fringe benefits that meet their individual health and wellness needs.
Speak to one of our wellbeing specialists about how gaining access to a global network of gyms, studios, and trainers can help your employees on their wellness journey!
- Burgess, Wade. (March 29, 2016). A Bad Reputation Costs a Company at Least 10% More Per Hire. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved April 5, 2023 from https://hbr.org/2016/03/a-bad-reputation-costs-company-at-least-10-more-per-hire
- 40+ Stats For Companies to Keep In Mind for 2021. Glassdoor. (2021.) Retrieved April 5, 2023 from https://www.glassdoor.com/employers/resources/hr-and-recruiting-stats/
- Kitto, Kris. (December 8, 2021.) Employee Well-Being Report: Care Emerges as a Top Engagement Driver. LinkedIn. Retrieved April 5, 2023 from https://www.linkedin.com/business/talent/blog/talent-engagement/employee-well-being-report-care-emerges-as-top-engagement-driver
- Maurer, Roy. (October 4, 2017.) Employer Value Propositions Are Brand Building Blocks. Society for Human Resource Management. Retrieved April 5, 2023 from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/talent-acquisition/pages/employer-value-propositions-are-brand-building-blocks.aspx
- The Rise of the Whole Employee: 20 Years of Change in Employer-Employee Dynamics. MetLife. (2022.) Retrieved April 5, 2023 from https://www.metlife.com/content/dam/metlifecom/us/noindex/pdf/ebts-2022/MetLife_EBTS_2022.pdf
- Understand the Business Impact of Inclusive Leadership. Salesforce Trailhead. Retrieved April 5, 2023 from https://trailhead.salesforce.com/content/learn/modules/inclusive-leadership-practices/understand-the-business-impact-of-inclusive-leadership
- What is Employer Branding Today? Frontify. Retrieved April 5, 2023 from https://www.frontify.com/en/blog/what-is-employer-branding-today/
The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.