What is Your Promise? Defining Your Employer Brand

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Uncover, define and leverage your employer brand for stronger recruiting and better hiring results.

A brand is a promise. When a person thinks of certain top brands there are a few qualities that come to mind.  Take Apple for instance.  When I think of Apple I think of creative, innovative, easy-to-use, intuitive and elegantly designed technology. 

When a brand consistently delivers on their promise they are able to build stronger relationships with their customers, relationships that people identify with. A strong brand pulls people in so much so that people begin to identify themselves with the brand identity. 

Remember the “Are you a Mac or a PC?” campaigns? Those ads were effective because the team at Apple knew there was a large group of people who defined themselves in some way by the computer they used, which in turn allowed Apple to build a community of fans.

ROI on a strong brand isn’t limited to brands as big as Apple. It applies to any brand that has (or wants) customers. But it doesn’t stop there. When we think of that bigger, consistent promise, your brand applies to how your employees and job candidates experience and feel about your organization as a place to work. That grows into your employer brand.

“A great brand is a promise, a compact with a customer about quality, reliability, innovation, and even community.”

— Stephen B. Shepard

What is employer branding?

Your employer brand starts with your people. It’s what they experience, what gets them out of bed in the morning, how they feel about the candidate or employee experience, and ultimately what they would tell someone else about what it’s like to work for you. Employer branding is taking what you learn from your reputation with candidates and employees, and using it to define your employee value proposition, recruitment marketing strategy and how your employer brand looks, sounds and feels.

An employer brand should be an extension of the corporate brand and the two should ideally be closely linked. A corporate brand communicates the product or service expectations to its customers and the employer brand communicates expectations of how employees will be treated when delivering those products and services. If a brand is a promise to its customers, an employer brand should be a promise to its workers. 

Why is employer brand important?

A strong employer brand can be a powerful tool in both talent acquisition and retention. When a company keeps its promises to its workers, word spreads (that’s your employer brand growing!) and makes it easier for organizations to attract new employees.

Case in point: 92% of employees would consider changing jobs — with no salary increase! — to work with company that has an excellent employer reputation. More than 80% won’t even consider taking a job with an employer that has a bad reputation.

But there’s more to it than thumbs up or thumbs down. A strong employer brand helps candidates understand what the company stands for and what to expect, which helps them to decide if the employer’s brand promise aligns with their personal goals. If the company delivers on that promise the employee is likely to stick around a lot longer because their expectations are being met, which reduces turnover, builds loyalty, and improves employee engagement, which is similar to how long lasting customer relationships are established through the corporate brand.

How can my organization define our employer brand?

As we mentioned at the top: it starts with your people. Listening to, survey, creating feedback channels and methods for processing feedback from employees (and candidates!) is essential. Your employer brand should constantly be monitored to make sure your reputation is where you think it stands. To get started, use these steps to start defining your employer brand:

1. Ask your employees and candidates what matters most to them.

A great way to begin to define your employer brand is to listen to your workforce: past, present, and potential. Conduct a survey to see how applicants, employees, and alumni view your organization’s promise and how often those expectations are met. Create a regular cadence of surveying and collecting feedback to keep a pulse on the health of your employer brand. Monitor review sites to collect feedback (even if anonymous), respond to questions or criticism in a thoughtful way and process what you here to improve future experiences.

2. Connect back to your organization’s core values and mission statement.

Review your organization’s mission statement and core values. It is important to understand your company’s WHY so you can craft a message that will attract the right (not just “perfect”) candidates for your company. This exercise not only helps you define and connect your employer brand to the company’s core, it supports your employees too. People who believe in the value of their work tend to feel more motivated and fulfilled with their jobs and more connected to their workplace.

3. Talk to your customers.

Your customers interact with your employees on a regular basis and a great way to look at your organization’s reputation from the outside and will help you determine if your corporate brand and employer brand are aligned. Information from your customers will also help you gauge if you are meeting the expectations of your workers. Unhappy employees tend to create unhappy customers, so this source of information is critical.

How to craft your employer brand promise

What is an employer brand promise? Your employer brand promise is what you promise employees and candidates they can expect from you as an employer. What will motivate them to get out of bed in the morning? What will make them feel fulfilled by the end of the day? Why would they tell other people how great it is to work for you?

To define your promise: look inward. Determine what your greatest strengths as an employer are and make a pledge to deliver them to your employees consistently. 

Your ability to meet the expectations of your employees is the most important aspect of defining your employer brand. Use this promise to craft your messages, inform your interview process and define employee engagement programs.

Need help defining or leveraging your employer brand?

Employer branding is a powerful tool and can be used to build a loyal and committed workforce. It can reduce time-to-hire, employee turnover, and your overall hiring costs while creating long lasting relationships.  Investing time in understanding who your organization is and what it promises is fundamental to fulfilling those promises which in turn will strengthen your corporate brand and have an impact on your bottom line. Advanced RPO can help. Explore our RPO solutions to see how we can help you define and leverage employer brand for stronger recruiting results.

Not sure how RPO fits into your talent acquisition strategy? Read how RPO works and understand the advantages of outsourced recruiting (beyond simply filling jobs).