How to Develop a Stellar Employer Brand

Want your company to really stand out from competitors in the eyes of job seekers? Check out these ways to boost your organization's profile.

learn more about Heather R. Huhman

By Heather R. Huhman

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Creating an innovative employer brand is a goal for many companies. In fact, 80 percent of more than 100 executives and HR professionals surveyed for a December Brandemix report said they believe employer branding is effective.

When it comes to attracting talent, a strong employer brand can positively influence the recruiting process. Consider companies such as Google and Amazon. Candidates might not flock to these employers merely for a job but rather to also be part of a creative and exciting workplace.

Several qualities can make employers attractive to candidates. According to Randstad's Award for the United States last year, the most important employer "personality traits" for candidates include honesty, "secure" and reliability. Companies that highlight some of these qualities in their employer branding are more likely to experience improved talent-recruitment processes, more recognition and higher job-acceptance rates.

Ready to attract, hire and retain top talent? Here are five tips for developing a killer employer brand:

Related: Brand Like Your Company Really Matters

1. Get leaders on board.

The foundation of a strong employer brand starts with a company's leadership. If an organization wants to attract top talent, its executives will also have to be involved with the branding strategy.

According to a survey released in May of more than 1,100 professionals in 18 countries by Employer Branding International, leadership is one of the top factors involved in shaping a strong employer brand. Ironically, the survey found that only 8 percent of CEOs were involved with such branding efforts.

Instead of making employer branding the responsibility of the human resources department, get the CEO and other executives involved. When leaders become the face of an organization, this can humanize the organization and entice candidates to apply for jobs.

2. Create uniform messaging for all departments.

Consistent employer brand messaging across all departments of an organization is the biggest challenge for employers, according to the Employer Branding International survey.

The first step of creating consistent employer-brand messaging is research. The December Brandemix report suggests the most effective ways to research a company's brand are to set up employee focus groups, interview staff and conduct surveys and social-media audits.

Related: 5 Big Company Branding Strategies Any Business Can Utilize

3. Bring in a branding expert.

Creating an employer brand doesn't happen overnight. It requires guidance and an unbiased perspective. Even if a company has in-house HR professionals and marketers, seeking external resources is wise.

Brandemix's report showed two-thirds of the HR pros surveyed used an outside vendor to create a company brand. When developing an employer brand, consider using platforms such as Match-Click to craft customized career pages and videos to market job opportunities.

4. Offer a taste of company culture.

Top talent won't want to read boring job descriptions and career websites. When highly skilled candidates view a company's career opportunities, they want to imagine themselves working there. Job seekers wish to read blog posts, check LinkedIn accounts of employees and watch videos to project what it's like to work at a given company.

Show candidates the culture of an organization through branded videos, employee interviews and workplace photos. Employers like Zappos have created branded career sites and Comcast crafted a branded video featuring a "day in the life" of an employee.

5. Identify key metrics to track success.

Figuring out the return on investment of an employer branding strategy is crucial. Fifty-five percent of the respondents in the Brandemix survey said they use career-site traffic to determine if a branding strategy is successful.

Employers can also focus on metrics such as employee engagement and talent acquisition to see whether if the company's branding strategy is working. If employment engagement improves after a branding campaign launches, it could be thanks to the branding strategy.

What steps are you taking to create a killer employer brand?

Related: Does Your Company's Branding Really Matter in Recruiting?

Heather R. Huhman

Career and Workplace Expert; Founder and President, Come Recommended

Waldorf, Md.-based Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager and president of Come Recommended, the PR solution for job search and HR tech companies. She writes about issues impacting the modern workplace.

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