Top 15 Tips for a Great Employer Branding Strategy

the building blocks of employer branding strategy

Onboarding is part of a more comprehensive hiring process, and part of that process is attracting remarkable talent to your organization with your employer branding. To do that, not only do you need great onboarding, but you also need a strong employer brand.

These two aren’t separate and actually feed into one another. After all, if your onboarding experience is poor, that will eventually get out, and people will be less and less likely to apply to your postings. On top of that, goodwill and referrals is a powerful tool that you can only get by providing great experiences. For example, it’s proven that companies can expand their talent pool by 10 times by utilizing current employees’ networks! That’s a huge talent pool to lose by not planning out great experiences.

In fact, great onboarding is just one part of a broader Employer Branding Strategy. So let’s jump in and get some ideas to make the best strategy possible.

Tip 1: Company Perks

This one is a pretty common one for companies to brag up, but it can be the little things that give you the edge. Perks are more than just a snack drawer and a ping pong table. It can be anything from Work From Anywhere Wednesdays, the ability to bring pets into the office, or more traditional perks like more vacation time or an excellent benefits package to all employees. You’ll be the best judge at what you should use as perks, but keep in mind that design the perks to attract the people you want when planning out your strategy.

Tip 2: Provide Mentoring

People want to develop and grow. People want to feel invested in it. One of the better ways to do this is to set-up a mentorship program or, if you already have one, leverage it when you’re hiring. If people believe that they will learn new skills or expand the ones they have, they will be a lot more willing to apply to be a part of your organization. If you need some guidance to create a mentorship program, take a look at our Mentorship Handbook!

Tip 3: Understand the needs of the business

Your employer branding needs direction and guidance. To get this look at what your company needs right now. Ask yourself, where is the company headed? What skills will the company need in the next 6-months and year? Once you have an idea of what the needs of the business are, you can start planning out what might appeal to the people you are trying to attract. For example, if your business needs creative skills, emphasizing how fun and open your company or that department is will be a game-changer. 

Tip 4: Define your Employer Value Proposition

Your Employer Value Proposition — or EVP for short — is a critical aspect of your employer brand. This is the quick statement that job-seekers will read or think about when considering applying for your company. You can distill your EVP from your mission statement, company values, and the company’s long-term vision. A good idea might also be to crowd-source, by asking your current employees what they feel is the best aspect of working here and why they applied in the first place. This will give you some ideas on what exactly a compelling EVP might look like. Even if you already have an EVP in place, take a second look at it and see if it still feels right. Will it resonate with the kind of person you’re looking for? Is it distinct from other employers, especially ones that are similar to you? This statement should be iterative, so don’t feel like you have to get it perfect the first time.

Tip 5: Brand Advocates

While doing some digging around to find the best Employer Value Proposition, you might — and hopefully will — come across some of your team members that are super enthusiastic about working with your company. Not only will these people be great to help you develop your EVP, but they can play a more prominent role in your quest for a great employer brand. These people — those who love your company — are brand advocates. They are great people to get testimonials from and provide a sort of welcome wagon for new hires during onboarding. They can also serve as great people to bounce ideas off of and get feedback from to tweak your onboarding process. So make sure to find your brand advocates and get them to help you with planning your employer branding strategy — who knows what you might come up with together!

Tip 6: Leverage your Career Page

A career page is key to excellent employer branding. This page hosts all of your awesomeness in one convenient webpage. You can share all the great snippets, perks, and testimonials of why your organization is a great place to work. It really is one of your biggest assets when it comes to developing an employer branding strategy. Make sure to incorporate the essence of your Employer Value Proposition into your career page. In other words, make sure it has a genuine feel to it, and all the content flows naturally. 

Tip 7: Use Real Photos

Of course, you’re not going to use cartoon images when building your career page or while doing any other employer branding, but cartoons are not what I’m talking about. You need to use pictures of your real team. Pictures of afternoon outings, group parties, lunch-time discussions perhaps, or whatever else might signify that you have real people employed and enjoying themselves at your organization. This might take some time to build up a catalogue of photos depending on how my team events you have and what privacy policies are in place, but you should be able to have a handful of photos to start off with. Real images also give a more humanistic and welcoming vibe, rather than just stock photos. 

Tip 8: Survey Often

How can you improve if you don’t know what’s going wrong? That’s why surveying is so essential. Ask your new hires why they applied to your job postings, what attracted them to your company, and anything else that might help you discover some of your employer branding strengths. After a while, you should be able to have a pretty solid idea of what people think of your company and what attracts them. 

Tip 9: Define a Job-Seeker Profile

For your employer branding to be really effective, you need to define exactly what kind of job-seekers you want. Now, this may change from time to time, depending on the company or department needs, but chances are there’s a general theme that remains constant. Think about what kind of people thrive in your organization. For example, if your team is 100% distributed, then your profile should include skills that match that dynamic. This profile will help you gear your branding to attract the people that will make a positive impact. Play up certain aspects that you believe will resonate with your job-seeker profile, and you’ll get the best fit. 

Tip 10: Find the Perfect Communication Mix

As with pretty much everything, communication is essential. When you go to pen your employer branding strategy, you must consider how you will reach the job-seekers you want. To do this, you have to use a job-seeker profile to figure out what channels work best. For example, if you are trying to hire for a mid-to-high level management position, LinkedIn is probably your best bet to focus on. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for someone to fill an entry-level position, try using Facebook to get your brand out for the world to see. It’s all about reaching job-seekers where they are, even if they aren’t looking. Since 86% of qualified candidates are already holding a job, you need to be able to reach them at all different levels to attract them to apply.

Tip 11: 3rd Parties Give a Boost

Digging a little deeper into the communication mix bit is 3rd parties, like news outlets, awards and other badges of honour given to you by a reputable establishment. These give your employer branding some credibility and can help you attract those in your job-seeker profile if your 3rd party is specific. This is a hard one to plan for since you have to earn it, but it can be super useful. Try looking up some employer awards that fit your industry or region and see what the criteria are and if you meet them. Also, be sure to play up any feel-good news stories that involve your organization. Any kind of community support or other volunteering that you get recognized for is fantastic too. The main idea is that try your best to include some positive material that doesn’t come directly from you.

Tip 12: Prioritize Corporate Citizenship

This requires a little discussion with top decision-makers but can go a long way in aiding your employer branding strategy. By prioritizing your company’s corporate citizenship, you play into the often tricky strategy of getting a boost by 3rd parties, as discussed prior. People want to work for companies that do good, especially the younger folks. Prioritizing corporate citizenship will help you attract younger workers who are passionate, which can be a massive boon to your company. Make sure to plan this one out carefully, though. You need to ensure that any effort in being a good corporate citizen is seen as sincere and mixes well with your industry or your regular branding. 

Tip 13: Unite the Company

At first glance, I know that title sounds like a huge task, but stay with me. Employer branding will impact all departments and aspects of your company. After all, employer branding brings in certain types of people and companies are just the sum of their people. Really, everyone should be doing what they can to help you with furthering your branding goals, because it benefits everyone. It might take some time to really show the power and impact of a great employer branding strategy for everyone to start contributing to it, but the proof will be in the pudding. Once people unite around your strategy, you can have the employer branding set as a corporate priority and really start focusing on it.

Tip 14: Plan out the Experience

Experience is everything when it comes to employer branding. People who feel good and enjoy their experience will be more likely to recommend friends to apply to your postings. I view the experience in three parts. 

The first part is the hiring process. People will judge their experience by the application process, the interview, how timely communication is, and how you either let them know they’re successful or they didn’t make the cut.

The second part is the pre-boarding. This is the few weeks in between the time they sign their letter of offer, and their first day. If you go dark on them during this period, they will feel nervous and a little anxious when they walk in that first day. Not a great experience. Plan to have a couple emails go out during this time to knock it out of the park. If you’re too busy, no worries, with AllOnboard, you can schedule emails to go out. This way, no one feels nervous or forgotten.

The third experience is once they start working for you. That first day, week, and month are crucial to the overall experience and your employer branding. Carefully planning how these firsts go can make or break your strategy.

Tip 15: Lead with Culture

In the end, the most critical part of any employer branding strategy is to be true to your company’s culture. I’ve mentioned it a couple of times, but I want to emphasize it. Culture will be the number one thing that people will like or dislike when they research your company. They will be able to tell if your branding is genuine or fake if your branding is not based on your culture. Everything will just seem misaligned if you don’t make it the centrepiece of your strategy. 

Thanks for reading! If you want more information or great resources, make sure to head over to our resource page.