Having a strong employer brand is critical to attract, engage and retain the best talent in today’s competitive labour market. Not only will your organisation be able to recruit better candidates, a strong employer brand  also reduces employee turnover which saves overhead costs.

However, even though we know the importance and benefits of a strong employer brand, many companies fail to actively monitor it which in turn creates a massive blindspot in the organisation. Almost 8 in 10 candidates would actually reject an opportunity to work for an employer with a bad brand reputation, even if they are currently unemployed, according to a study by DevSkiller.

With the pandemic causing an upheaval in the job market, it is now more important than ever to make sure that your organisation is able to retain its best people, and continue to attract top talent to help your organization adapt fast. A study by CareerArc shows that although 96% of companies believe employer brand and reputation can positively or negatively impact revenue, less than half (44%) actually monitor that impact. Does your organisation have a weak employer brand; and if so, how would you know?

There are three main signs that may indicate that your organisation has a weak employer brand:

  1. Employee Engagement is Down

This is likely the first tell-tale sign of a weak employer brand. If you start to see decreased response rates to engagement surveys in your organisation, or are seeing fewer people show up at company events or virtual happy hours, it could be a sign of a weak employer brand.

Having a weak employer brand might mean that the organisation’s mission, values and culture are not shared or internalised by its own employees. This creates a poor workplace environment where employees may feel less engaged, resulting in decreased motivation and productivity. In fact, according to Gallup, companies must achieve a 4-to-1 ratio of engaged to disengaged employees in order to counteract the negative effects of disengaged workers. If disengagement grows among your labour force, you will need to revisit your employer brand.

2. Increased employee focus on pay, benefits and perks

If you start to see an increasing number of employees asking for a pay raise or more welfare perks, it might be a sign that they no longer feel part of the larger company purpose, or they have lost faith in the company’s mission and values. According to Harvard Business School, when employees do not share the same values as their team and company, they will start to look to other factors (more pay, increased benefits, perks and other “hygiene factors”) as motivation for their employment in the organisation. If more of your employees are starting to ask for company perks that seem noticeably extravagant, it might be a sign that internal or external dynamics have tarnished the employer brand and employees expect their benefits to fill the void.

3. Difficulties in attracting recruits and retaining employees

According to a study by Officevibe, employee turnover can be reduced by nearly 30% by investing in the employer brand. How much you invest in your employer brand is reflected in employee retention. With a strong employer brand, employees will be more motivated, proud and happy to continue working for your business.

A poor employer brand can also make it hard to recruit the right talent. Candidates are attracted to strong employer brands. Your organisation’s work culture, mission and values, and the “special sauce” that makes your organisation unique from its peers, all contribute to the employer brand. When these are communicated clearly, more top talent will be attracted to join your organisation.

How to Turnaround an Underperforming Employer Brand

  1. Invest at the executive level -  a report by HRO Today found that companies with strong brands are significantly more likely to have the CEO or president as the most senior sponsor of employer branding activities. When the C-suite cares about employer branding initiatives, it is much more likely that appropriate resources will be allocated for their successful implementation.
  2. Make Learning & Development the norm - By providing resources as well as the time and space for learning, employees are able to achieve their full potential.  This bodes well for the company, particularly amongst millennials. A Gallop report found that 59% of millennials said opportunities to learn and grow are extremely important to them when applying for a job.
  3. Share your company’s ‘magic’ online - It’s no surprise that most opportunities to first interact with businesses these days are largely online. Companies that have an optimized web presence are more effective in their recruitment marketing, and can build multiple touch points with talent prospects. Companies with strong brands are intentional about leveraging social media and other channels to offer a glimpse into their corporate culture and what makes them special.

It can be challenging to build a strong employer brand. From defining the employee value proposition (EVP) to centralising brand-building efforts, there are many hurdles that make it difficult to make and maintain a winning employer brand. However, people are often the number one driver of success for any business, and it is crucial for senior leadership to set the tone for taking employer branding seriously. Investing more time, money and energy into building a good employer brand that resonates through all levels of the organisation will help your organisation attract and retain top talent that will move the business forward.

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