The fight for talent is only going to become more intense in the years to come. But in the midst of a global hiring freeze, it's easy to believe that employer branding efforts should be put on the back burner. However, if we can learn how to navigate an uncertain hiring landscape by shifting our strategies, we can still benefit. Here are our top tips for proactively persevere and nurture your employer brand to stay ahead of the competition in 2023!
1. Be authentic
You probably know the importance of culture in attracting and retaining top talent. However, while many employers already work on cultivating and managing their culture, they aren’t necessarily taking advantage of their unique characteristics. The days when every professional was seeking to work with the same big corporate brands due to their reputation are gone. Now, talent evaluates each employer based on their unique culture, providing the opportunity to any business to win the best candidate.
Look internally and create an authentic culture based on your mission, vision, and values - your non-negotiables. This way, you can attract talent that is truly suited to what you stand for.
In an ever-changing job market, it is essential to provide potential employees with a safe and reliable option. Use your employer brand to demonstrate how you tackle difficult times and how you communicate with employees during uncertain times. Show candidates that you prioritize their safety and value and that you are a trustworthy employer. Doing so will ensure that you remain a safe option, especially in the current climate.
Tune in to our live conversation together with Charles Sinclair, Head of Employer Branding at Oddwork to learn more about how to create an engaging, authentic employer brand message.
2. Be compelling
The increasing competition for top talent makes a strong employer value proposition a must. Many employers have already started working on implementing some best practices by offering competitive salaries, a wide range of benefits, or flexible working. However, today’s employment market requires a sharper and more tailored approach, as a one-size-fits-all mindset won’t cut it anymore.
With limited resources in your hands, it’s important to focus on the most relevant parts of your employer value proposition. With this in mind, we suggest putting an emphasis on the elements that are the most valuable to your target audience. Is your culture and audience money-driven? Focus on offering unbeatable compensation packages. Does your organization focus on continuous growth? Perhaps you can build an employer value proposition emphasizing learning and development. Is your top talent after flexibility? Offer remote opportunities and flexible hours.
3. Be holistic
If you are looking to boost your employer brand, consider the entire employee lifecycle. If you build a strong candidate and employee experience, talent will advocate for your brand. On the other hand, if you focus all your resources on employer branding and neglect the experience you offer your talent, the results can be questionable. We suggest a twofold approach: Firstly, build your employer brand based on your true capabilities as an employer. Then, allocate the required resources to live up to the expectations you’ve built. If possible, overdeliver. Talent always appreciates employers who practice what they preach. At the end of the day, it’s all about trust and reliability.
4. Play the long game
Like consumers, candidates are getting savvier. People aren’t convinced by ads anymore, they want to experience things themselves. In short, trust takes longer to build. If you are looking to build a solid employer brand, don’t try to cut corners. Instead, play the long-term game to cultivate deep trust with your audience. Marketers try to move their audiences from awareness to consideration to conversion. When it comes to employer branding, many employers focus on spreading awareness, but far less put the required emphasis on keeping candidates engaged and leading them to apply. On this basis, we suggest interacting with candidates on an ongoing basis using their preferred communication channels and offering them relevant and entertaining content.
Is your dream candidate an email person? Get their email address and provide them with an interesting newsletter with information that is helpful to them. Do they prefer social media? Do the same on LinkedIn or wherever they may like hanging out online. Keep them warm, build trust, and help them see why you are their employer of choice step by step.
5. Get personal
It’s always easier to build a generic recruitment process trying to accommodate all candidates. However, easier will rarely get you the best results. While understanding your target audience and using a detailed candidate persona to build your employer brand is a great starting point, we suggest going above and beyond by allowing your applicants to tailor the process based on their needs.
Given that each candidate is unique, it’s all about giving them what they want and need. Firstly, provide them with relevant information about jobs they’re interested in, your company, and perhaps the broader industry. Then, perhaps you can use AI to help potential applicants discover relevant roles based on their skills. Lastly, allow talent to schedule their interviews and assessment when it suits them best. There are many ways to provide a personalized experience throughout the recruitment process, and all of them can help you elevate your employer brand.
6. Be efficient
Some employers invest hefty budgets to build a sophisticated employer brand without taking the time to streamline their application process. The result? They attract top talent only to disappoint them later down the line. Instead of enhancing their reputation and increasing the volume of qualified applicants, they may end up damaging their brand. To avoid this, we suggest using cutting-edge recruiting software and developing a candidate-focused approach to increase efficiency.
Make your application process short, fast, and easy. Top talent may not invest 30 minutes to answer mandatory questions when they have your competitors’ recruiters calling them. They won’t appreciate clunky recruitment systems either and are likely to leave confusing or demanding application forms unfinished. At the end of the day, an online application process should be as close to a checkout process as possible. You wouldn’t make it too hard for customers to purchase your products or services, we suggest you do the same with your applicants.
7. Be kind
We’ve all seen viral tweets and LinkedIn posts about employers who were rude to their candidates. And while this content is catastrophic to their employer brand, it’s a fair outcome. Being kind, considerate, and respectful is not only an ethical must-have, it’s also good business.
From interactions of candidates with your recruiters and hiring managers to each and every automated communication, remember that applicants give you their valuable time for free to declare their interest in working with you. Make sure you thank them in every part of the process. Allow for some personal communication to build rapport and humanize the process. Also, try to provide feedback after interviews and never ghost applicants.
8. Show that you care
Apart from your employer brand and HR processes, your reputation is also affected by your broader brand. And let us tell you, everyone prefers working with a good corporate citizen. If you are looking to attract top candidates (and more customers), focus on adding value to your stakeholders. We suggest starting by being a role model in your relationships with clients, talent, suppliers, associates, and the broader community where you operate. CSR initiatives can make this world a better place while making you more in demand as an employer. Once you start doing (more) good, make sure you share your CSR achievements and plans with potential applicants. They’ll appreciate it.
9. Be inclusive
Diversity and inclusion have always been an ethical must. Also, diverse employees can offer different perspectives, allowing for better business solutions. However, it used to be a nice-to-have when it comes to recruitment. Luckily, things have now changed and talent is looking to work with inclusive employers. Apart from offering equal opportunities, go a step further.
Start by identifying whether your brand doesn’t resonate with specific candidate groups. Then, refine as required to make sure you attract applicants from all backgrounds. Also, make sure your assessments, recruiters, and hiring managers focus on objective selection, removing any biases that may exist. Read more on how to build a successful D&I strategy.
10. Be flexible
In the past, employees were following the 9-5 office model regardless of whether it suited their needs. Not anymore. There are office advocates and talent that needs to work from home. Some candidates love the 9-5 structure and others prefer flexible hours. If a role allows it, we suggest always adopting a flexible approach.
Flexibility means that you can accommodate every candidate’s needs, demonstrating your interest in your workforce. Also, it showcases a collaborative and understanding mindset, which is always appreciated by talent regardless of their preferences. Lastly, apart from getting top talent on board, flexibility also allows developing a more diverse workforce by being more accommodating.
Make sure to download our 2023 Recruitment Trend Report for the in-depth insights and how you as a hiring manager can utilise these to maintain a competitive advantage throughout 2023 and beyond.