How important is it to build your employer brand today?

The answer of building an employer brand is more important than ever, and here’s why:

Globally, the talent market is in a unique situation. Companies are continuing to streamline their internal teams, embrace outsourcing and navigate the realities of a gig economy.

There are pockets of talent ready to work – but they can’t find the right fit. There are also new grads who are fighting for limited internship and early career positions – and they are taking a new stance. They just want to work, and they understand it may help to be in an office.

20+ year veteran talent has been hit hardest by the reshuffling. Companies are focused on EBITDA and margin. They have to tackle uncertainty in the market by making tough decisions. But can they hold steady without the experience and more expensive talent, then recruit once the future looks more stable?

What does this mean for employers?

With so many different expectations and aspirations in the labor market, now is the time for employers to create the narrative that says: this is why we do, what we do.

There are tangible reasons why people join companies. The job, the salary, the location, the benefits. These are easy to list. But every employer proposition also has intangible aspects like culture, values, sense of purpose, and vision. Much harder to articulate, but they are no less important when it comes to why people join.

These intangible reasons for joining are what your employer brand should aim to define, articulate and communicate. Mission and values are always important, but after the last 4 years of global disruption, they are becoming more important than ever. Candidates and current employees want to find an employer who gives them a sense of purpose. They want to find an organization who provides the work environment that values what is important to them individually. Are they prioritizing their career right now or are they looking for flexibility? Are they interested in being part of a start-up or do they want the career opportunities and development that comes within a more structured organization? Do they want to work remotely or are they looking for a rapid, upward learning curve that only comes from being around others?

Does your employer brand need a refresh?

I had coffee with a former co-worker this week and we were reminiscing about the amazing culture and co-workers we had almost 25 years ago. We didn’t have flex hours and free food. And we certainly couldn’t work from home or take unlimited vacation, but we were all part of a team who wanted to succeed, believed in what we were doing and respected our leadership and each other. We watched each other get engaged, have babies, survive loss and celebrate wins.

Can a candidate gain a clear picture of the way you work from your recruitment assets today? Are there videos or animations showing the passion of not only your executive team but your core employees?

If you think it may be time to develop or update your employer brand, you are not alone. I know personally many of my clients and contacts are focusing on this now, especially while there is a lull on requisitions being approved for the rest of the year. I also did a quick pulse poll in early March and the results are as follows:

Does your company need a refreshed or new employer brand?

71% – Yes

14% – Considering if budget allows

14% – No

Starting the process doesn’t need to be complicated

Now is the time to dive in and share who you are as an employer. It doesn’t need to be complicated.

Employer brands in 2024 can be done quickly, leveraging culture and other internal surveys, validating your internal perceptions with external research and conducting a few specific focus groups with employees for their honest opinion. Using an external firm undoubtedly gives employees the comfort to be honest. Additionally, leadership also trusts this isn’t just HR wanting to bring up a potential challenge or quick win. 

Your sample needs to include leaders, emerging talent and a diverse mix of those roles you need to continue to recruit as the market heats up later this year. ERGs are a fantastic place to start, and if you don’t have affinity groups, this is the type of feedback that often comes out from these discussions.

Make the plan, tell your story and realize who you are as an employer in 2024. Things may be slightly different in the years to come. Having the confidence to confirm and tell your story is what allows organizations to attract, recruit and retain the right talent for business success.

Written by Jody Robie.