How to Create a Great Employer Brand
The most competitive battle in Asia Pacific is not in e-commerce, fintech, or even ride-hailing—it’s the war for talent that has waged across those industries and all others in the tech world. Simply put, there is a shortage of tech talent across the region, including everything from product design and mobile development to artificial intelligence and data science.
In this kind of high stakes environment, companies cannot afford to compete on salary and benefits alone. There will always be a better-funded venture in your space who can take away your dream candidate if you’re only enticing them with numbers and terms on a job offer. Tech firms must instead focus on developing their employer branding, particularly toward the young talent that can grow with your company.
Tricks of the trade
As the domain expertise of most founders in the region is often technical, they often neglect their employer brand, viewing it as a fuzzy and unnecessary luxury. To these skeptics, I would point to none other than Google and Facebook. We know them as creators of ubiquitous products woven into the fabric of our everyday lives, but also as two of the best companies to work for in the world. Why? Because they invested in their employer branding, making the jobs of senior leadership and human resources much easier. Rather than have to try to sell the company on the job marketplace, they only need to select the cream of the crop from the thousands of people clamouring for their open positions.
While not every firm can be a Facebook or a Google, there are steps that entrepreneurs in the Asia-Pacific can take to make their company more attractive to young talent across the region.
Improve employee engagement
Start your employer branding inside-out. Rather than starting their employer branding initiatives externally, entrepreneurs must first focus on improving employee engagement, as a study from the Harvard Business Review has shown that business leaders routinely over-estimate this factor. To do so, they can make sure to recognize high performers, communicate how each person’s job contributes to larger company-wide goals, and offer appropriate training, all of which have proven to be impactful employee engagement drivers.
By establishing a positive work environment where employee engagement is high, your employees will be the first line of your employer brand. They’ll tell others how your company is a great place to work. Some may even refer top candidates from their own social network. These referrals are the ultimate validation of your employer brand: Your employees are willing to stake their own reputation on their friends enjoying the company as much as they do.
Think social media
Design your employer brand for the social media age. It’s common knowledge that one of the first things that a job seeker will do after hearing about your company is Google it for more information. Despite this general awareness, there are still a surprising amount of brands that seem to have put little thought into their digital footprint. The biggest offenders are photos. The search results for many tech companies in Asia Pacific, even some of the best ones, often show poorly taken photos of the office, with few visible employees, and even fewer who seem to be enjoying their job.
First impression matters
Just as candidates strive to make a great first impression during the interview, so too should brands care how they are first perceived by job seekers. Firms should thus take high quality, well lit photos of their office space, team interactions, and company outings. Anything that highlights unique perks or traditions is a plus. Distribute these photos across all your social media assets, online features, and company profiles. If a picture paints a thousand words, you want each one of yours to say at least these seven to job seekers: This is a great place to work.
Embed your employer brand across the entire recruiting process. Many business leaders and HR professionals mistakenly think that employer branding is just a way to get candidates in the door, a kind of promo to generate job inquiries and foot traffic. Firms need to shake this belief, as it often leads to them taking applicants for granted once they do begin the recruiting process, who then walk away with a negative image of the company that they may be all too eager to share with others.
Companies instead need to see to it that every touchpoint during the recruiting process, from the initial screening to every interview and test, up to the job offer or even rejection, is a positive reflection of the firm’s values. This is the ultimate litmus test: If even the candidates you pass on at the moment still dream of gaining acceptance to your company in the future, then your company has created a great employer brand.