A strong employer brand is crucial in attracting and retaining top talent in today's competitive job market. It serves as a compelling narrative that communicates your organisation's values, culture, and commitment to employee wellbeing. Individuals are more likely to align themselves with an organisation that is perceived as an employer of choice, leading to increased job satisfaction and reduced turnover. A strong employer brand can also act as a differentiator, setting your organisation apart in the eyes of both customers and investors. We were thrilled to host our annual Employer Branding Summit last week, where we heard lots of key takeaways from our fantastic speakers on how organisations can build a great employer brand.
Define your brand
The first step for any organisation to build a great employer brand is defining what its brand actually is, and the strategy that will go alongside this. A key part of this is creating your unique Employee Value Proposition (EVP). This is a unique set of benefits and opportunities that an organisation provides to its employees in exchange for their skills, contributions, and commitment. It outlines what makes an organisation an attractive place to work and why employees should choose to work there. An effective EVP not only helps to attract top talent but also serves to retain and engage existing employees by aligning their expectations and values with those of the organisation. It will play a crucial role in shaping your employer brand and influencing perceptions of your organisation as a Great workplace.
A key point to consider here is what will entice the talent you are seeking to attract. The benefits and perks on offer should appeal to your target audience, which will differ by industry and demographic. This will require collaboration between your HR and Marketing function, working in tandem to ensure what is offered is well communicated, targeted, and crucially, can be delivered.
Is your organisation enthusiastic about CSR for example? Utilise this and showcase it to the world - prospective employees whose values align with this would love to see how your organisation is passionate about this cause. For example at our recent Employer Branding Summit, Hilda Hegarty, Head of HR at DHL Global Forwarding Ireland gave the example of world-renowned band Coldplay reaching out to them as they were aiming to reduce carbon emissions by 50% for their upcoming tour and knew DHL could help to support them to be sustainable. Your organisation may not have the likes of Coldplay on standby for your ad campaigns, but big or small, it's about showing potential employees the core values of your organisation, and for DHL Global Forwarding, this was an ample opportunity to showcase their commitment to a more sustainable world.
An authentic employer brand reflects the true essence of the workplace culture, values, and employee experiences. When an organisation communicates honestly about its work environment, it fosters a sense of transparency that resonates with potential employees.
When specifically looking at talent attraction for students and upcoming graduates, this level of authenticity is particularly important. Tara Dalrymple, Global Workplace Community & Culture Manager at Genesys spoke into the need for companies to "demystify" what the organisation is about. In Genesys's case, computer science can seem like a daunting topic, especially to students who may not have much knowledge on the subject. By breaking down the opportunities your organisation has available and what they entail, you can open a whole new door of opportunity of prospective candidates. Humanise the prospects for potential candidates - who are the people behind the brand?
Dave Kilmartin, Senior Manager for Student Success at TUDublin reiterated this when emphasising the importance of catering for a whole new generation of employees in the digital age - it's not uncommon for students and young people to feel a sense of anxiety when thinking of their futures, especially when they may not have the advantage of being exposed to things like networking opportunities. How you attract these students is important, for example through easily accessible platforms like social media.
Through a hospitality-centred lens, at The Fota Collection (Fota Island Resort and The Kingsley), authenticity is one of their core values, and as Charlie Dineen, Director of Human Resources at The Fota Collection spoke on, it's important to showcase this wherever you can, whether it be on social media, your company website, your careers page, or all of the above.
Recognise the power of storytelling
With so many organisations competing for attention in the digital space, how can you ensure your organisation stands out? Authenticity is key here - people are drawn to what they feel connected to, real stories that offer genuine insights into your culture. Share stories about what makes your organisation stand out, whether that be your ESG activities, organisational structure, team building, development, or anything else you excel in.
Julien Clancy, Story Coach & Founder at the Dublin Story Slam outlined three main elements of a great employee story: action, emotion and meaning. What was the overall message of the story? Another common theme by our speakers at the Employer Branding Summit this year was the importance of leaders telling stories, whether this be personal or professional - this can help break down barriers, reducing friction in hierarchies and creating an overall more positive work environment.
Utilise employee advocacy
When employees actively advocate for their employer, they serve as powerful ambassadors who can authentically communicate an organisation's strengths and benefits to their networks and beyond. This word-of-mouth marketing is highly trusted by potential candidates, as it provides genuine insights into what it's like to work at the company. Employee advocacy humanises the employer brand, making it more relatable and compelling to external audiences.
Riley Stefano, Global Lead of Employer Brand Marketing at Datadog emphasised the importance of the ABC's of employee advocacy for your employer brand and building a brand that people are engaging with:
- A - Advocacy, Adoption & Amplification
- B - Building Brand Champions
- C - Content Creation & Quick Copy
Content shared by employees generates on average 8 times more engagement than that shared by an organisation itself. Getting employees to share on their personal accounts can help generate conversation about your brand in a more authentic light - all feeding back to the storytelling element of employer branding.
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Raise the credibility of your Employer Brand
Now that you have built, developed and promoted your Employer Brand, you need to ensure that you are also raising the credibility of your brand. A tried and tested way to do so is through third-party validation. An organisation can present itself any way it wishes, but will they open up their people practices to external experts and put their culture to the test? Are they willing to let their employee’s voices be truly heard? Doing so demonstrates a commitment to transparency and your people.
By joining the Great Place to Work Programme and achieving the recognition threshold, you are not only showcasing to the world you are a great employer but you also get a worldwide known external validation of it. Once you are accredited, you can include your Certification™ logo on your website, careers page, role listing, social media accounts and much more. All excellent ways to increase the credibility of your brand and help you stand out from the rest.
When you can leverage Great Place to Work Certification to enhance your Employer Brand, you are demonstrating your commitment to your people, and you are stating that you are investing in creating a culture built on trust, camaraderie, fairness, credibility, pride, and respect.
We were thrilled to welcome you to our annual Employer Branding Summit. This is an annual event and we look forward to seeing you next year! To be the first to receive the invite next year, and if you want to receive Employer Brand & Talent Attraction content to stay up to date, click here to opt in.
Check out more resources on this topic:
- 10 Points on Retaining and Attracting Top Talent through Employer Branding
- 8 Ways to Build an Effective Employer Brand
- How Esri Ireland uses their Great Place To Work Recognition To Leverage Their Employer Brand
- 8 Highlights on Navigating Change and Employer Branding
About Great Place to Work®
Great Place to Work® is the global authority on workplace culture. We help organizations quantify their culture and produce better business results by creating a high-trust work experience for all employees. We recognise Great Place to Work-Certified™ companies and the Best Workplaces™ in more than 60 countries.
To join the thousands of companies that have committed to building high-trust company cultures that help them attract, retain and take care of their people, as well as build their employer brand, click below.