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An employer’s brand is what shapes the perception of a current employee, a potential employee or a former employee with regards to your organization. It is what sets you apart from other employers and defines you as a great employer to work for– an employer of choice or “top employer.” Similar to marketing a product, a necessity in today’s world is marketing yourself and your company.
The 2013 Bayt.com Personal Branding in the Middle East and North Africa poll has shown that managing one’s online presence and creating a powerful brand is more important now than ever, with nine out of 10 respondents turning to the internet to search for people they’ve just met or are about to meet, and 70.5% of them saying they have changed their mind about a candidate based on their online presence. At the same time, 41.5% of responding companies always research new hires online before hiring. Today, we’re seeing more and more job seekers use the internet as a place to search for jobs and conduct employer searches. This trend is set to increase year over year and we’re predicting that online searches will soon become the most common job-search activity among applicants.
Job seekers are well aware of the importance of the web for their hiring prospects, and so should you. Looking at results from the same poll, we can see that 92% of respondents think that personal branding increases their career opportunities, with the most important benefits being the ability to showcase their skills (23.2%) and connect to their target audience (21.1%). Being able to distinguish themselves from others in their field (14.7%) and becoming an expert or thought leader (13.2%) are also important.
How top companies are pushing their brand to the top
Fortune Magazine ranks Apple as the world’s most admired company. What is it that makes Apple so grand? What is it that urges the world’s prime talents to fiercely strive for a job at Apple? It’s much more than perks and benefits, it’s the image that Apple imprints in people’s minds, the means they use to connect with them on an emotional level, the way they position themselves as not only a global seller and manufacturer of state-of-the-art gadgets and software, but also as a global top employer. All this combines to formulate the company’s “employer brand.” Bayt.com, on the other hand, has just been awarded one of the top 10 companies to work for in Asia by the Great Place to Work® institute. The award goes only to companies that do the impossible to make sure their employees are happy and engaged at work. We had previously been awarded the Great Place to Work in the UAE award four years running from 2011-2014. Top companies to work for are ones that have successfully built trust-based cultures, developed strong relationships with employees, and have put in place programs to develop their workplace.
Bayt.com’s mission has always been to improve people’s lives, and what better way to do that than ensure its very own team is receiving everything it needs to grow and prosper while working in an environment where teamwork and creativity can flourish and ideas can be shared freely. Our employees will tell you that Bayt.com is not just a company; it’s a family.
Building your own employer brand
It is fundamental for employers to take a holistic approach to branding throughout all activities related to the employment process as the ‘’perceived’’ power of a company’s brand is directly representative of the ‘’actual’’ power of the brand. A few tips below:
1. Manage job postings with diligence More often than not, jobseekers are drawn to minuscule particulars of the job– they wish to discover all there is to know about it and no amount of detail is superfluous. As an employer aiming to have your employer brand prevail, make sure all vacancies you publish (online, in the newspaper, etc.) comprise a thorough and eloquent job description. Throw in supplementary excitement stimuli here and there about perks and benefits and other development opportunities. Include your logo and a brief and concise narrative of who you are, what you do as a company and what the company stands for.
Incite candidates to want to join you and to want the job no matter what! Let everyone know that you are hiring while putting your best resources and efforts into making it a pleasant experience for job seekers. At the same time, make it very clear that you are firmly and steadfastly committed to your employees by expounding on such items as company culture, retention programs, employee satisfaction surveys and employment standards. Differentiate your company in the job posting by expounding on not just all the items you require of prospective candidates but also all the items that make your company a preferred place to work.
2. Manage your company website with diligence With typically no less than eight hours of work a day, five days a week in the same office, a company becomes an employee’s second domicile and its staff becomes, voluntarily or not, a second family. According to the What Makes a Company an Attractive Place to Work? poll, 76% of professionals will always turn to the internet to research a company when considering a job opportunity. Therefore, you can undoubtedly count on prospective candidates to pay your website a visit to dig into details that would ease their hearts and minds. Make sure your website is a winning one! This is not simply a matter of using the right graphics, colors, images, backgrounds and formats. You need to make sure your vision, mission statement, values and culture are all very clearly and concisely articulated. Show potential candidates why they should and would want to join your organization and the benefits they will reap once part of your team. Including pictures and videos and biographies of your existing staff/management and keeping content up-to-date would also contribute to make your website even more compelling and your vacancies even more in demand.
3. Manage candidate job applications with diligence Hiring managers and recruiters all over the world receive gargantuan masses of job applications every single day, some of which may be appealing enough to call the subject in for an interview, and others of candidates who could be unqualified, overqualified or simply totally irrelevant. However, this does not imply unfit candidates can be ignored and left in the midst of uncertainty. An employer aiming to have their employer brand prevail does, of course use all means available to screen and qualify talent and source only the best, however they do, as well, take the time to actually reply to all applicants, regardless of whether or not they were successful enough to proceed to the next stage.
In fact, there is nothing more frustrating to a candidate than not being acknowledged by a company after putting the time and effort to research it, apply to it, and trust it enough to want to join it. Your employer brand is calling you to take action: a simple, “Thank you. You have not made it to the interview phase,” will not only ease the candidate’s doubt, but it will also showcase the professional and dedicated person that you are, and the respectful and considerate organization that your company is. Brand yourself the right way– make every point of contact with the outside world a professional one!
4. Manage job interviewees with diligence They have developed interest in your company, they have researched your line of work and your culture and liked it, they have succeeded in getting to you via their carefully-written job application, and they are now here for the interview. Your employer brand has, hitherto, been on the right track, but it does not end here! The interview represents the perfect setting for you to convey an exemplary image about your company and yourself. Do be on time, do be professional, do be friendly and most importantly, do put the interviewee at ease. Remember, you are not simply making a mere business transaction. You are aiming at recruiting a “relationship” before recruiting an employee. Always aim at guaranteeing a winning relationship via the recruitment process whether the prospective employee does or does not get the job. Solid recruiting relationships translate into a more solid employer brand!
5. Manage employees with diligence Nothing can boost an employer brand better than having existing employees willingly want to brag about your organization! Satisfied employees often tend to volunteer to tell stories about their company’s unrivaled success, unique culture, and exquisite bundle of values. Make your employees happy: reward them when due, support them when needed, and leave the doors open for communication at all times just so they know they can come to you for both positive and negative feedback. Transparency, integrity, support and gratitude are what talents are after in their quest for their ideal employer today.
6. Have a compelling online presence One of the key benefits of the web is that it allows you to create profiles on different platforms that all reflect your company’s unique brand and message. A cohesive brand is especially important when you’re reaching out to and trying to attract top talent. The simplest thing to do in order to figure out your online reputation is to Google the name of your company. Are the top 20-30 results positive? Are there any negative customer reviews? Prospective employees should be able to look at any one of your profiles and get a good feel of what your company is about. In addition to having elaborate, well-thought-out website and social media profiles, you need to create a company profile on a high traffic, leading job site. 80% of professionals check a company’s online profile before applying to its advertised jobs, as revealed in the poll.
7. Actively engage with job seekers online It’s important to reply to your online followers quickly and diligently. Never ignore or delete their comments. You can also ask for their opinion or feedback. The same social media poll revealed that 55% of professionals feel they are more likely to be hired if they are active online.