How to win the war for talent: build a standout employer brand

Part one of our ‘win the war for talent’ series looks at how to build an employer brand that will catch, and hold, the attention of candidates…

LinkedIn recently conducted a global survey that asked HR professionals to state their biggest recruitment challenge in 2016. The top result? The challenge of finding talented candidates in today’s competitive hiring market.

With demand for talent rising, along with hiring budgets and time scales dropping, many companies fall prey to the ‘hire fast, fire fast’ way of thinking. However, losing existing experience and constantly filling positions leads to a spiral of costs and poor hiring decisions.

Feeling trapped in a never-ending cycle of hiring, firing, resigning and replacing? We’re here to provide the answers to this dilemma. In a six-part article series, we’ll explore the building blocks to beat your competitors and win the talent war by looking at different key areas, including recruitment (hiring candidates based on job role fit and culture fit), development (how to create a learning culture) and more.

Part 1: Your employer brand

The first part of the series focuses on the importance of building a strong employer brand – something that also stood out as a key 2016 priority for global recruiters and HR professionals.

What is an employer brand?

‘Employer brand’ is not new to the world of HR, but it is recently enjoying a revival as companies realise it’s importance. An employer brand in its most basic form is the reputation of your organisation to outside parties – think ‘Google’ and ‘Apple’ to get a quick idea of companies who excel at employer branding.

It’s about marketing your company to prospective and existing employees. However, it isn’t a standalone marketing function. A strong employer brand requires a cross-functional partnership between HR, marketing and other departments to ensure consistency, success and, ultimately, results in the form of top talent.

Think of your employer brand as your corporate culture…times ten

It’s all about defining your organisation’s unique identity, and then sharing this with the outside world. What does this mean for you?

  • A well-defined mission and vision for the organisation
  • A set of values, along with associated behaviours
  • Defining your company’s ‘personality’
  • Considering aspects such as the industry, management style, work/life balance, internal/external support and more.

An important point to consider: Often larger companies have a set of values and a purported culture that doesn’t align with employees on the ground. It may be worth assessing your employees’ views on the culture of your organisation if you are looking to strategically redefine your employer brand.

Actions speak louder than words

In order to have a standout brand that will be recognised and remembered, it’s crucial to be consistent. This means that your actions need to align to your branding:

To have a truly authentic employer brand, you need to look at ways for employees to live your values. This means carrying your culture and personality through to every aspect of the working environment. If you pride yourself on being a technologically advanced company, make sure that employees have the latest tech to work on. If you embrace the value of collaboration, consider open-space working areas.

Communicate your employer brand

Once you’ve defined your employer brand, keeping in mind consistency with your corporate identity, brand colours, brand tone and more, it’s time to start putting it to use: to attract high-quality employees and get top talent through the door:

  • Make sure your employer brand is unique. If you look just like your competitors, candidates won’t be driven to join your organisation on branding alone.
  • Determine your talent pool in terms of basic demographics, and then decide which aspects of your employer brand would be most appealing to these groups.
  • It’s also useful to do some research about what candidates are likely to value in a modern organisation. Addressing these concerns and answering these questions will likely give you an edge when attracting talent.

Monitor success

Continually evaluating the success of your employer brand links back to HR and your talent management strategy. With all the key factors in place, is there a reduction in turnover? Are candidates excited about the branding message you are communicating?

Your company branding also needs to recognise the shifts in the talent market and the changing needs of employees – both current and prospective. Those organisations that don’t speak to the human needs of candidates will truly be at a long-term disadvantage in the war for talent.

Read more articles from HFMtalentindex: