Employer Branding; Best Practices

Part
01
of four
Part
01

Employer Branding Process; Overview

The steps of an employer branding process include getting familiar with the company, considering the growth strategy, setting goals, doing a brand audit, conducting research, setting the employer brand strategy, building the tools to communicate the strategy, launching the brand, and optimizing for visibility and impact.

Employer Branding Process

The employer branding process includes the following steps:
  • Get familiar with your company
  • Consider your growth strategy
  • Set your goals
  • Do an audit of your brand
  • Conduct research
  • Set your employer brand strategy
  • Build the tools to communicate your strategy
  • Launch the brand
  • Optimize for visibility and impact

1. Get Familiar With Your Company

2. Consider Your Growth Strategy

3. Set Your Goals

  • Employers should think about what they want to achieve with their employer branding strategies.
  • Employer branding goals include getting more job applicants, getting more high-quality candidates, increasing online engagement, increasing candidate engagement, increase employer brand awareness, building trust with current candidates, getting more career site visitors, get more applicants from social media, increasing referral rates and increasing offer-acceptance rates.

4. Do an Audit of Your Brand

  • Employers should get to know how their company is viewed, both by current employees as well as in the market. Research on this can be done internally and externally through applicant surveys, searches on the internet and social media, or using firms that carry out reputation monitoring.
  • A brand audit enables employers to know what is working so they can continue with it, and to identify areas that need improvement in company operations, morale and the talent acquisition process.

5. Conduct Research

  • In order for an employer brand to resonate with the people that the employer wants to impress, there are several important sources of information: recent hires, talent referral sources, recent departures and potential new recruits.
  • Understanding how prospects are responding to the marketplace, how they make decisions, and who the competitors are and what they do, helps employers to understand how they need to be positioned in order to attract the top talent. Employers also need to have a clear definition of their candidate personas so as to know how to best target them.

6. Set your Employer Brand Strategy

7. Build the Tools to Communicate Your Strategy

8. Launch the Brand

9. Optimize for Visibility and Impact

  • It is important to monitor the performance of the program and optimize it over time. The variables that need monitoring are whether the program is being fully implemented, and the impact that it is making (results or success).
  • If the implementation is on track, the firm can then focus on picking out additional strategies that were not part of the original plan, but that are still consistent with the firm brand and employee brand. These new approaches should also be tested in order to see if they produce better results.
  • Systematic testing is an important part of making sure that the firm achieves results and stays on course.


Part
02
of four
Part
02

Employer Branding; Case Studies

The EVP campaigns by Sky and the #AreYouWithUs campaign by T-Mobile were examined in the below findings as successful employer branding campaigns.

Employee Value Proposition (EVP) Campaigns By Sky

Overview

  • Sky is a "leading direct-to-consumer media and entertainment company in Europe."
  • The company's employer branding campaigns are based on three core elements, namely, external perception, consumer or corporate brand teams alignment, and people conversion through appropriate channels.
  • Employer branding campaigns by Sky tends to change certain misconceptions about the Sky workplace, enable collaborative attitude in the workplace in terms of research, learning, and knowledge, and activate the use of technology in digitalizing that experience.

Step-by-Step Process Tour

  • The step-by-step process tour of the employer branding process employed by Sky started with interviews and testing involving more than 3000 people across different focus groups. For the people used, they were both externally and internally drafted.
  • After a thorough evaluation of these focus groups, the Employee Value Proposition (EVP) was designed and created. The EVP is conceptualized in one line as "a job you love to talk about."
  • The EVP is seen from two perspectives, which are anything like having a fun environment at work or bumping into superstars and having that sense of pride working for a multinational organization like Sky.
  • In creating the EVP, the company needed to make it compelling and flexible at the same time, to satisfy the diverse positions it recruits for across vacant levels. The company also needed the EVP to work across territories.
  • As a result, the EVP is anchored on four different drivers, namely, 'we are fans too,' 'be brilliant,' 'embrace pace,' and 'together we can.' The essence of these drivers is descriptive of "how to give extra clarity to people about who Sky is as an employer."
  • In launching the EVP as the new employer brand of the company, it was embedded in its recruitment team, launched across social channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube. It was also launched across broader touchpoints such as career sites, company profiling site like Glassdoor, and external brand ambassadors.
  • Sky also worked with an employer brand agency that served as a compass to navigate the process of this new journey.
  • 'Life at Sky' is an example of this new employer brand campaign on the company's website.

Final Results of Process

  • The process has resulted in a sense of pride in candidates to become employees at Sky. For instance, according to the research conducted on the different focus groups, "when asked what do you do, people said ‘I work for Sky’ before they’d follow up with what they do there."
  • One of the final results yielded by the process is employee advocacy. Employees are now the most prominent advocates at Sky, as their personal stories can be found on videos across different social media platforms of the company, including its website.
  • It is the employees that have been successfully promoting the #LiveAtSky hashtag, which is one of the "most authentic things that candidate can see as apart from their research on Sky."
  • The company recently created 1,000 new jobs across the UK, resulting in "an increase of nearly 5% in employee growth base in both the UK and Ireland."
  • While 'Work for Sky' has over 19000 likes on Facebook, the company's review on Glassdoor states that 70% of users recommended the page to a friend, while 80% approved of the CEO.

#AreYouWithUs Campaign By T-Mobile

Overview

  • T-Mobile is a major telecommunications and Un-carrier company that delivers wireless experiences to customers.
  • The company has been "a social business for some time," which has informed its employer branding campaigns significantly on social media.
  • A look at the company's social corporate media handle on LinkedIn suggests top employer branding. Its new employer brand campaign on the social account focuses on "things like diversity in their workplace, their employees at various retail storefronts, open careers, employee stories, customer-centric focus content, and more."
  • The employer brand campaigns of T-Mobile encompass "everything from their colors, look, tone, and overall feel."

Step-by-Step Process Tour

  • T-Mobile's employer branding campaigns started without a budget, talk less of a team. But through the company's informal internal program, employees are 'borrowed' across different teams towards building "an in-house creative team and employer brand content strategy from the ground up."
  • From the 'borrowed' employees, the best talents with the ability to convey emotions from personal working experiences were drafted into the creative team.
  • The team wanted the employer branding strategy of the company to have "a mentor-like relationship with their social audiences, and they, therefore, built out a detailed persona as a base for that."
  • To develop a successful employer branding campaign, the team evaluated the company's 'cultural bait' — a platform for creating high engagement through raising spotlights on diversity inclusion. It thus leveraged on its '#teammagenta' customer experience to create '#areyouwithus' employer branding campaign.
  • The company's channels of communicating its campaigns are through both career and social media platforms.
  • There is a collaborative effort from many internal organs of the company towards ensuring dedicated social posts are crafted for specific purposes.
  • T-Mobile's employer branding process entails different approaches to audiences through their communication channels. Based on its findings, the company believes Twitter is the best platform to inform their audience, while Instagram and Facebook are the best platforms to inspire and entertain their audiences, respectively.
  • The company works with two external employer agencies, but unlike Sky, it is only for paid social and traditional media buying.
  • T-Mobile's employer branding campaign process is internal.

Final Results of Process

  • The process has resulted in significant improvement in the company's career page on social media in terms of engagement. In 2015, T-Mobile Career recorded its worst-performing post on Twitter, but it got its best performing post in 2018.
  • One of the final results yielded by the process is employee advocacy. Employees are now the most prominent advocates at T-Mobile, as their personal stories can be found on videos, posts, or graphics across different social media platforms of the company, including its LinkedIn account.
  • The process has resulted in recognition of T-Mobile as one of the "masters of employer brand on social" by a digital marketing executive.
  • In 2018, T-Mobile was named in one of the best places to work by Glassdoor, the best employers for diversity by Forbes, and best companies to work for by Fortune.

Research Strategy

We started our findings by looking for recent campaigns of successful employer branding campaigns from companies. Our two case studies were taken from 2019 publications of Human Resources Today and Everyone Social.

For each case study, we were able to provide a detailed overview of the employer branding campaign and general details about the company, a step by step process tour of the employer branding process they employed, and then the final results of the process.
Part
03
of four
Part
03

Best Practices; Creating, Maintaining & Enhancing an Employer Brand

Additional best practices for creating, maintaining, and enhancing an employer brand include making employees brand ambassadors, being active on social media channels, being active on Glassdoor, including more than job adverts on career pages, transparent and visible employer brand strategy, developing a mobile responsive career site, and recognizing efforts of employees with tangible rewards.

Make Employees Brand Ambassadors

  • High performers who are engaged and committed to the cultural values of the companies can be identified and mobilized to promote the company on social channels.
  • Employees who are highly connected can tweet, post, and share about open positions, company updates, and publish their achievements. Prospective candidates can be easily attracted and influenced by this strategy.
  • According to Jobsoid, 40% of potential employees rely on employee reviews to determine their future employers. This practice is also cited by multiple industry experts as a best practice.

Be Active on Social Media Channels

  • Companies should use social media to showcase their culture, show potential employees that "creativity is fostered, opinions are respected, and extra efforts are rewarded".
  • Social media gives potential employees a way for them to communicate with the brand and employees.
  • An example of a company that is active in social media channels is Hootsuite.
  • According to Influencer Marketing Hub, 25% of potential employees use social media as a primary tool to search for jobs. This practice is also cited by multiple industry experts as a best practice.

Be active on Glassdoor

  • It is a best practice to encourage employees to share their experience of working and the application process of the company.
  • It is also a best practice to respond to comments whether positive or negative. The answers should come from the CEO, HR manager or head of a department.
  • According to Everyone Social, 62% of users of Glassdoor agree that their company perception improves "after seeing an employer respond to a review". This practice is also cited by multiple industry experts as a best practice.

The Career Page Should Include More Than Job Advert

  • The career page should show the potential employees "what working at the company is all about". It should show things like colleagues, the office, and the city.
  • An example of a company that employs this best practice is Hochbahn Hamburg. The company uses short videos to "show what their employees value about their jobs".
  • According to Everyone Social, 78% of job seekers say "the overall candidate experience they get is an indicator of how a company values its people". This practice is also cited by multiple industry experts as a best practice.

Employer Brand Strategy Must Be Transparent And Visible

  • For an employer brand strategy to be effective, it must be transparent and easy to be understood.
  • A complex or opaque strategy may pose a challenge of implementation for the team carrying it out.
  • If candidates do not know the existence of the brand, they cannot understand the employer brand and end up working for another company. Lack of transparency also creates doubts about the brand.
  • According to Everyone Social, 9 out of 10 of potential employees would "apply for a job when it’s from an employer brand that’s actively maintained". This practice is also cited by multiple industry experts as a best practice.

Develop a Mobile Responsive Careers Site

  • A mobile responsive careers site is important. This enables the site to load on any device and therefore improving the first impressions.
  • The application process can also be made easy and quick by "integrating popular social networking sites in the careers site". The application process should also be short and specific in order to save time.
  • It is also a good practice to notify candidates at every stage of onboarding.
  • According to Influencer Marketing Hub, 94% of smartphone potential employees browse and research jobs on their phones. About "60% of job-seekers quit in the middle of filling out online job applications". This practice is also cited by multiple industry experts as a best practice.

Recognizing the Efforts of Employees with Tangible Rewards

  • Companies should provide inexpensive perks to their employees in order to motivate them. Policies that are employee-friendly such as flexible working hours and working from home help in keeping employees motivated and productive.
  • Companies can offer employees the rewards they want by conducting polls to know what they value and then designing rewards programs accordingly.
  • A good reward system also shows that the company values its employees and makes employees feel part of the company.
  • Employees who are acknowledged are 5 times "more likely to stay at the company". This practice is also cited by multiple industry experts as a best practice.

Research Strategy:

We started by searching through articles, blogs, and publications relating to employer branding. Our primary focus was on the best practices for creating, maintaining, and enhancing an employer brand. In compiling this information, we examined case studies, professional tips, and opinions of experts in the industry.

After finding a large list of articles and blogs with information on best practices for creating, maintaining, and enhancing an employer brand, we sorted out these articles and blogs in terms of relevance and consistency. We then listed out the most common and recent practices.
Part
04
of four
Part
04

Best Employer Brands, Analysis

Starbucks and Apple are two of the most well-known brands that have a strong employer brand image. The common key elements of their employer branding are creating a sense of belonging, listening to employees' ideas, staying true to brand values, telling a compelling story, having a solid diversity and inclusion strategy, offering unique benefits, and having a good parental leave policy.

Starbucks

Reasons For Inclusion

  • Starbucks is ranked 24th on the Financial Times' list of the world's top brands.
  • It also has one of the strongest employer brands according to the rankings by ITA Group, Breezy HR, and OnGig. The last one is based on which brands are the most searched for by potential employees.
  • The company's employer branding efforts have also been praised by experts from Hubspot and Hireology, among others.

Apple

Reasons for Inclusion

  • Apple is ranked 2nd on the list of the world's top financial brands by the Financial Times.
  • It has one of the strongest employer brands, according to the rankings by Breezy HR and OnGig.
  • Also, it is the top employer brand for tech employees globally in the prestigious report by Hired.


The Most Critical Elements of a Strong Employer Brand

1) Creating a Sense of Belonging

  • According to PRWeek, the sense of belonging is necessary for employees to truly engage in their work and believe in it, which will make them invested in making their company's image stronger.
  • One of the reasons why Starbucks is regarded as one of the best employer brands is its efforts to build a community.
  • The company refers to all of its employees as "partners," which makes everyone feel valued. To bring them together, it has a dedicated Instagram account, StarbucksPartners, with 138k followers.
  • There are many opportunities and benefits for Starbucks' frontline employees, which helps them feel included in the life of the company.
  • Apple's videos create an impression that Apple's employees form a unique community of like-minded innovators and rebels, thus giving a promise of the sense of belonging.
  • When promoting their employer brand, the company doesn't focus on benefits and perks, but on what it's like to be a part of the company and what kind of people belong there.
  • Additionally, the community spirit is strengthened through employee events and a work environment that welcomes everyone's ideas and boosts creativity.

3) Listening to Employees' Ideas

  • At Starbucks, each employee's idea matters. For example, when bean-counters proposed that it should rely on cheaper toilet paper, the company saved millions of dollars.
  • According to Scott Bedbury, former brand manager at Starbucks, giving such attention to everyone's ideas and needs is crucial to building a strong brand. ERE Recruiting Intelligence thinks that it can be a difference between a "faux employer brand" and a "magnetic employer brand."
  • Apple encourages everyone who works for or with their company to think for themselves and challenge everything.
  • When one of the teams starts a project, they don't look for inspiration in industry best-practices. First, they come up with their own ideas during brainstorming sessions.
  • Additionally, they provide their employees with Apple Park, "a state-of-the-art campus, as the work environment to foster creativity."

2) Staying True to Brand Values

  • Starbucks aims to "create a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome" and to achieve its goals "through the lens of humanity."
  • Their employer brand emphasizes and enforces those values by treating employees as partners, making their stories important, and acknowledging their needs regardless of their rank or background.
  • According to PageUp, Apple's employer brand "precedes it," because the organization has been able to put forward its best qualities and clearly differentiate itself.
  • Forbes thinks that Apple's employer brand is particularly strong, because people associate it with unique professional growth opportunities.
  • In Australia, the company is considered as the top employer for its reputation, stability, and innovation focus.
  • Also, their employer brand tagline is "Do more than you ever thought possible. Have more impact than you ever imagined," which is meant to make potential employees passionate and inspired, as well as reflect the company's overall position.

4) Telling a Compelling Story

  • According to multiple experts, the key reason for Starbucks' strong employer brand image is its social media presence.
  • The brand launched dedicated StarbucksJobs accounts on Facebook and Twitter, as well as a Jobs Playlist on their YouTube channel. Those profiles are mainly dedicated to sharing their employees' success stories, some of which can be attributed to the company's CSR activities.
  • The Instagram profile is followed by 54.2k people, while the Twitter account has 91k observers.
  • Additionally, telling engaging and upbeat stories of its employees allows the brand to have more control over how it is perceived. Otherwise, it would have to rely on unmoderated content posted by users.
  • Through its video marketing, Apple tells an engaging story that attracts potential employees and speaks to their emotions.
  • At the same time, Apple's videos paint a clear picture of the employer brand, stating its values and using storytelling to show what kind of people fit in the company — those who are rebellious, creative, and able to take risks.

5) A Solid Diversity & Inclusion Strategy

  • Starbucks takes its diversity and inclusion mission seriously. In 2016, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation named it the Best Place to Work For the LGBT community.
  • After a racist incident in one of the U.S. locations earlier this year, thousands of the U.S. stores closed for half a day for additional employee training. Later, the company further increased its diversity and inclusion efforts, which earned it praises for continuous work in this department.
  • Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, thinks that "the most innovative companies must also be the most diverse."
  • In terms of usual diversity efforts, the company is praised for hiring people with disabilities and different cultural backgrounds. They also have multiple diversity and inclusion initiatives in place, such as focused recruiting and leadership development and internship programs for the best students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
  • However, Apple's approach to diversity is much wider than that. They are welcoming ideas from employees of all ranks, as well as their partners. They believe that great things are born from diverse perspectives.

6) Offering Unique Benefits

  • Many of Starbucks' employees need a college education. For this reason, the unique benefit they offer is their College Achievement Plan, through which "every benefits-eligible U.S. partner working part- or full-time receives 100 percent tuition coverage for a first-time bachelor’s degree through Arizona State University’s online program."
  • It also extends to children and spouses of partners who served in the military.
  • Apple's employees get big discounts on products and services. For example, every three years, they get between $250 and $500 off on the company's hardware, and software is always 50% cheaper. There are also discounts for their friends and families.
  • Additionally, they organize attractive events for employees, such as beer bashes.
  • By analyzing those two examples, it can be concluded that companies with the strongest employer brands offer benefits that are tailored to the needs and interests of their employees.

7) An Attractive Parental Leave Policy

  • In 2017, Starbucks changed its parental leave policy to include eligible hourly workers.
  • A year later, it announced that it would also give six fully-paid weeks off to non-birth parents, such as partners or adoptive parents.
  • According to Talent Adore, it's one of the most attractive perks of working at Starbucks.
  • Apple has a similar policy. The company offers six weeks of paid leave for non-birth parents.
  • At the tech company, mothers can get four weeks off before the child is born, and 14 weeks off after giving birth.
  • Breezy HR thinks that a solid parental leave policy is one of the perks of working at Apple.


Sources
Sources

From Part 02
Quotes
  • "a social business for some time"
  • "things like diversity in their workplace, their employees at various retail storefronts, open careers, employee stories, customer-centric focus content, and more."
  • "everything from their colors, look, tone, and overall feel."
Quotes
  • "an in-house creative team and employer brand content strategy from the ground up."
  • "a mentor-like relationship with their social audiences and they, therefore, built out a detailed persona as a base for that."
Quotes
  • "a job you love to talk about."
  • "how to give extra clarity to people about who Sky really is as an employer."
  • "when asked what do you do, people said ‘I work for Sky’ before they’d follow up with what they’d actually do there."
  • "most authentic things that candidate can see as apart of their research on Sky."
Quotes
  • "an increase of nearly 5% in employee growth base in both the UK and Ireland."
From Part 04