Why You Should Start Building Your Employer Brand
Employer branding has now developed into a global trend. Due to abundant flow of international talent, employer branding has become the most efficient way to recruit the most appropriate talent. By building a specific and strong employer brand, enterprises can attract talented individuals whose values match those of the organization. Wisely executed employer branding has a highly positive impact on employees’ behaviors, attitudes, and willingness of retention.
The article “Employer Branding and Employee-based Brand Equity: The Mediating and Moderating Effects in Multilevel Models” published in Management Review Vol. 40 No. 1, gives us an insight into employer branding. This study aims to investigate the impacts of employer branding on work meaningfulness, employee-based brand equity, and employee self-concept. It was found in this research that employer branding positively affected both work meaningfulness and employee-based brand equity. Building a special image which is distinct from other enterprises could generate identification with organizational membership and make work meaningfulness for employees.
The benefits of utilizing employer brand strategies are countless. LinkedIn, the enterprise platform with 660 million users worldwide, conducted a survey on employer branding in 2011. They found that 72% of recruiting leaders worldwide agreed that employer brand has a significant impact on hiring. The advantages of building a specific employer brand includes reducing the cost of hiring a person by 50%, attracting more than 50% of qualified candidates to attend an interview, and increasing the speed of recruitment by 1-2 times.
The Definition of Employer Brand
“Employer brand” was first proposed by Tim Ambler and Simon Barrow in 1996. They applied marketing theory to recruitment and retention and defined “employer brand” as “the package of functional, economic and psychological benefits provided by employment, and identified with the employing company.” Building an employer brand expands the enterprise vision which, in turn, helps improve employee cohesion, increasing their engagement and efficiency as a result.
Scholars use different definitions of employer brand:
“The two-way deal between an organization and its people – the reason they choose to join and the reasons they choose – and are permitted – to stay,” (Rosethorn, 2009; indirectly cited from Figurska & Matuska, 2013).
“A set of attributes that make an organization distinctive and attractive to those people who will feel an affinity with it and deliver their best performance within it,” (CIPD, 2006; indirectly cited from Figurska & Matuska, 2013).
“The image of the organization as a great place to work in the minds of current employees and key stakeholders in the external market (active and passive candidates, clients, customers and other key stakeholders),” (SHRM, 2008; indirectly cited from Figurska & Matuska, 2013).
“A complex concept based on various intangible factors, including perception, image versus identity, and the ability to differentiate between them,” (Randstad, http://www.randstadaward.ca; indirectly cited from Figurska & Matuska, 2013).
“A sum of the key qualities current and prospective employees identify with organization as an employer, such as: economic (compensation and benefits), functional (e.g. learning new skills) or psychological (e.g. sense of identity and status),” (Mosley, 2009, p. 4; indirectly cited from Figurska & Matuska, 2013).
In summary, the definitions of employer brand are related to organization image, which show the special values of enterprise on perception, image versus identity, and the ability. These traits are crucial for attracting candidates in the Generation Z cohort to your organization. Generation Z refers to people born in the late 1990s to early 2010s. According to United Nations statistics, Generation Z represented over 1/3 of the total population in 2020. If we look at the working population, Generation Z accounted for about 20% in 2020, and 40% in 2030. The values of Generation Z are different from previous generations. They dare to embrace diversity and difference. Therefore, they wish to balance dreams and reality, work and life at the same time.
What Do You Want? My Top Talent
Since employer branding has become increasingly crucial to employers and employees, some institutions which focus on employer brand research have emerged, such an example being the Randstad Employer Brand Research (REBR) in Singapore, which is the most representative and inclusive employer brand research organization in the world. Each year, the Most Attractive Employer in the local market receives a unique trophy created by renowned designer, Marcel Wanders.
Employee value propositions (EVP) is one of a number of surveys conducted by REBR. EVPs demonstrates the support, recognition and value provided by employers, such as financial compensation, professional development opportunities, work/life balance, and a sense of belonging or purpose, all of which enable employees to achieve their highest potential in the field of work. The REBR survey result of Singapore enterprise is listed below. We can find that “Work-life balance” and “Attractive salary & benefits” are the most important elements from the perspective of employees.
Top 5 employee value propositions (EVP) in 2021
1. Work-life balance (74%)
2. Attractive salary & benefits (74%)
3. Job security (60%)
4. Career progression (59%)
5. Pleasant work atmosphere (58%)
According to this research, 75% of candidates confirm the employer brand of a potential company before they apply for a job there. Therefore, with a clearly defined employer brand, companies may attract passive candidates who are currently employed. According to the LinkedIn EVPs survey in 2014, passive candidates care about criteria such as “better compensation and benefits,” “better work/life balance,” “greater opportunities for advancement,” “more challenging work,” and “better fit for skill set.”
In the evaluation of satisfaction, 52% of active candidates and 80% of passive candidates were satisfied with the status quo regarding their employment situation. Compared to active candidates, passive candidates were more satisfied with such a status quo, meaning that they would make a decision to leave their current employment only if they perceived a better chance to be offered elsewhere. Therefore, if a company’s employer brand is attractive to passive candidates, they are likely to work longer for that company then active candidates. In addition, employer branding can bring benefits to companies when recruiting talent, and can also improve retention of key talent.
How to Build Employer Brand?
According to the research undertaken by REBR, companies with stronger employer brands experienced one to two times faster hiring time. Similarly, 50% of candidates preferred not work for a company with a bad reputation despite the offer of a higher salary. Research by a company to recruit talent can be carried out efficiently by means of employer brand building. For this reason, employer branding is so crucial Many recruiting platforms dedicate a column to the discussion of employer brand and how to build them.
In order to encourage enterprises to use LinkedIn to build their employer brand, LinkedIn has created blog articles which introduce employer brand and provide steps such as introducing a company by means of a company page and career page and spreading brand information by means of managing a blog. These introductions are not only useful for enterprises who seek to build their employer brand, but also to increase corporate “stickiness” to LinkedIn. The blog introduces five steps to create an employer brand, which is worthy of reference by enterprises.
1. Become familiar with your company
2. Conduct an audit of your employer brand
3. Define an employer value proposition
4. Use recruitment marketing
5. Build engagement among current employees
6. Write snazzy job descriptions
The five steps mentioned above are concrete ways to run employer brand; however, besides those, there are several items which organizations would be wise to check. Bryan Adams (2022) proposed three elements, “reputation,” “proposition,” and “experience,” which can be suitable for enterprises as they examine their employer brand.
The first element, “reputation”, can be evaluated by means of the three “c.” The first is “career catalyst”, a means by which the candidates analyze the career development of company. The second is “culture”, which refers to the company culture and work environment, affecting the kind of employee that the company recruits. The third is “citizenship”, which evaluates how the company contributes to society.
The second element is “proposition”. Employee value proposition represents the “give and get” relation between employer and employee. The proposition of a given company needs to be consistent with its employee brand strategy because it is related to the enterprise’s reputation in the market. Taking Tesla as an example, this company has sufficient resources to provide great employee value proposition for its employees. However, the company has not succeeded to this end, so the result has been a negative reputation.
The third element is “experience”. The nature of employee experience is the means by which a company highlights employee value proposition. When employees understand the expectations of their employer and implements them appropriately, positive feedback is usually the result. Such positive employee experiences can lead to a positive feedback loop for both employees and organization.
Besides the above, employee experiences reflect the priority of reputation evaluation criteria. Adams uses McKinsey & Co. as an example to highlight this point; the reputation evaluation criteria act as “career catalyst,” and thus McKinsey & Co. can equip employees with ability to make the leap to Google and Amazon, or to cultivate their entrepreneurial talent, which positively reflects such employees’ experience gained at McKinsey & Co.
Are You Ready to Build Your Employer Brand?
The primary considerations of job seekers when engaged in choosing a job is often beyond the control of employer; however, the management of employer branding is something that enterprises can use as means to take initiative in their quest to hire the best talent available and further develop. Instead of waiting passively for appropriate talent to approach, it is better for enterprises to spend time managing and positioning their employer brand. The concept of “employer brand” can guide an enterprise’s focus to successfully shape its corporate culture. HR departments can view the advantages and disadvantages of the organization, then list the points needed to be improved upon, along with ideal traits which need to be cultivated.
We recommend that HR departments add a questionnaire in their interview process in order to survey the preference of employer brand in regard to different groups such as, age, gender, and personality. When sufficiently large pools of data are accumulated, it can be used in for the prioritization of brand optimization. Besides the investigation of employer brand preference, such evaluation of interviewee’s self-concept is also crucial for recruitment. As Helm, Renk, and Mishra (2016) mentioned, screening interviews can be made with a view to analyzing applicants’ actual-self (the real thoughts of oneself) and ideal-self (the ideal image of oneself) at the beginning of the recruitment process. The results reached by Chiang and Yu (2021) show that actual-self and brand congruence relate particularly strongly. Therefore, an organization needs to consider the results of actual-self testing as being a high priority.
Adams, Bryan (2022), “Make Your Employer Brand Stand Out in the Talent Marketplace,” Harvard Business Review, (February 08), (accessed June 14, 2022), [available at https://hbr.org/2022/02/make-your-employer-brand-stand-out-in-the-talent-marketplace].
Chiang, Hsu-Hsin and Shih-Yu Yu (2021), “Employer Branding and Employee-based Brand Equity: The Mediating and Moderating Effects in Multilevel Models,” Management Review, 40(1), 131-154. https://doi.org/10.6656/MR.202101_40(1).ENG131
Figurska, Irena and Ewa Matuska (2013). “Employer Branding as a Human Resources Management Strategy,” Human resources management & Ergonomics, 7(2), 35-51.
Helm, Sabrina Verena, Uwe Renk, and Anubha Mishra (2016), “Exploring the Impact of Employees’ Self-Concept, Brand Identification and Brand Pride on Brand Citizenship Behaviors,” European Journal of Marketing, 50(1/2), 58-77.