Why scaleups should think about their employer brand at the beginning of their company journey

27 April 2021

When you’re trying to scale a business, it can be easy to get caught up in product development, trying to source rounds of funding and raising brand awareness. The consumer brand takes priority over all else because it’s the product, marketing and belief in your product or service that will see your scaleup succeed, right?

The truth is all of this is vital for scaling businesses; we’re not going to shy away from that fact. You need a great product or service for a company to thrive, the right series of funding to get it off the ground and a level of brand awareness that will ensure loyal consumers. But to get these things in order, you need the right talent. Therefore, you need a strong employer brand that can draw in the best and brightest people and position you as a workplace of choice.

It’s no use thinking about your employer brand at the exact same that you’re trying to find talent. If you need to scale your business rapidly, you need an employer brand that will support your talent acquisition. You need to know who you are (or will be) as an employer, how you’ll position yourself against your main competitors in the talent market. Therefore, if you want to attract the best talent to your growing company, you need to put in some of the groundwork before you even think about scaling your business.

Here’s why we believe you should think about your employer brand at the beginning of your growth stage:

Sets the tone for your company culture

Think about the employer you want to be. If you’re a new or growing business, you’re in a unique position as you can set the tone and culture for the rest of the business as it scales. Whether you want to become an international household name or an expert in your field, company culture starts with you and your initial hires. This is the time to decide whether you’ll be a fun, quirky startup, a more corporate, serious scaleup or somewhere in between. After all, the culture you create initially will influence the candidates that you attract. Once you’ve established yourself as a serious, corporate entity, it’s much harder to shed that image. Therefore, before you think about scaling, your stakeholders need to agree on what you’d like to be like as an employer; otherwise, you have no real guide for your mission.

Helps you to compete for talent

Your employer brand and EVP will help you attract talent; in a highly competitive tech recruitment landscape, candidates are looking more to culture and values when deciding on a place of work. To compete, you need to have a firm idea of who you are and what you stand for. If you’re making it up as you go along, candidates will see right through you, and you can almost guarantee they’ll take a job elsewhere. When competition for talent is fierce, you should celebrate what will make your scaleup a unique and exciting place to work. While you may not have the people in place to prove that you’re unique and support your statements, some candidates looking to work in a growing business will be excited by the prospect of helping you deliver this mission.

Attracts like-minded candidates

As a scaling business, you don’t want just anyone working with you. You need the right talent. People who have the technical skills you need to grow your product and take your business to the next stage and people who have an entrepreneurial mindset, versatility, and the determination needed to thrive in a growing organisation. Scaleups are unique workplaces; not everyone is cut out for working at one. Ensuring your EVP and employer brand are clearly communicated means that you’ll attract candidates who will thrive in the agile and rapidly changing environment.

Also, by clearly outlining your brand values, you’ll stand a chance of attracting people who are passionate about your mission and have a similar ethos. 98% of people wouldn’t work somewhere that doesn’t share their values, so outlining them in the early stages should not be overlooked. Any leader hopes that these initial hires are the people that will be with you for the long-haul as you scale and take your business from strength to strength; sharing your passions and motivations will encourage that.

Reduces recruitment costs

Having a good employer brand will also reduce your recruitment costs. Having a strong employer brand can reduce the cost per hire by around 50%, ensure 50% more qualified applicants and create a faster time to hire. Obviously, in a scaling business, your employer brand will be less widely known, but it can still have an impact. A clear EVP and employer brand will reduce your turnover as employees will know precisely what they’re getting into from the get-go. It will also allow your initial team to act as better advocates for their company, as they’ll have an informed idea of the employer you’re trying to be. This will enhance your employer brand awareness significantly and will help to expand your network.

Helps you to look beyond your network

Scaling businesses are often guilty of looking inwards when looking for talent. By that, we mean looking to former colleagues, university friends or other connections to help grow your business and hiring people you know. In a business sense, this isn’t always a good idea. It limits the possibilities you have as you’re surrounding yourself with similar people, leading to groupthink or similar decision-making issues. Basically, you aren’t opening up your business to a broader audience. Working on your employer brand before you scale means that more people will be aware of you and likely to apply for a position at your company. Using social media and digital attraction, you can raise awareness of yourself as an employer outside of your network, helping to recruit a more diverse range of opinions and voices, which will prove vital as you scale. Having a clear idea of who you are as an employer or who you want to be will make you look like a more legitimate career prospect to people who don’t know you personally.

Supports overall brand awareness

As a scaling business, brand awareness is crucial. It’s what will attract investors, customers and make a name for your company in a competitive space. Raising your profile is everything. Therefore, if you can grow your profile as an employer and be celebrated as a great place to work, it will raise your overall brand awareness too. If your employees are shouting about you on their social media, you’re entering awards, or your job ads are being seen, it will entice people to learn more about your company and what you’re trying to do. You know the saying; all press is good press. Well, employer brand awareness is just as crucial as corporate brand awareness when you’re a scaling business as both can help you to become a more widely recognised name.

Therefore, when you’re looking to grow your business, your EVP and employer brand is just as important as any other aspect. Not only will they help you to reach the talent you need to grow your product, services and business as a whole, but they will help to confirm your company culture and inform your future talent acquisition efforts when you have other priorities to worry about. Plus, being recognised as a great employer will help you make a name for yourself in your sector, which will help your scaling business to reach new heights.

Talent Works are experts in building insight-led EVPs for scaling businesses and helping them to raise their profile as an employer of choice in the tech space. With in-house insight, creative and digital teams alongside our recruitment professionals, we’re uniquely positioned to help businesses improve brand awareness amongst relevant candidates. If you’d like to learn more about creating an EVP framework and building an employer brand, get in touch with our team and start your conversation.

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