5 ways RPO can enhance your employer brand

5 ways RPO can enhance your employer brand

Your employer brand is key to attracting and retaining top talent.

By effectively communicating who you are as a company, you can attract high-quality candidates and improve retention rates. When your employer brand is strong, candidates will want to work for you.

RPO providers can help to develop and build your employer brand. As well as this, they can make sure your employer brand is effectively represented through the recruitment process.

We’ve put together some of the ways working with an RPO provider can help strengthen your employer brand.

Work with a recruiter who specialises in the appropriate area

When outsourcing your recruitment process, you can partner with recruitment specialists who are experienced in the sectors most relevant to your business’ vacancies. Working with an experienced sourcing specialist reduces time and optimises your recruitment process. A recruiter who fundamentally understands the role and its value to your business is best placed to source the right fit.

A recruiter becomes an extension of your business

One of the main advantages of RPO is that the recruiter or recruitment team you partner with becomes an extension of your business. They will spend time getting to know your business extensively so that they can represent you accurately. RPO recruiters are uniquely placed not just to understand your brand, but to enhance it.

Expertly crafted job descriptions

A well-crafted job description is essential in capturing top talent. RPO providers offer support in writing ad descriptions that instil your employer brand, while accurately defining the job role to ensure it attracts relevant candidates. If a job description is too vague it can result in an influx of applications from candidates who are just not right for the role. Most RPO providers have copywriters and content writers who can give your job advert that extra flare to make it stand out. This also ensures the words used are succinct and to the point.

Using social media in your recruitment marketing

Some RPO providers have creative and digital teams. This means they can create specialised social media campaigns, promoting your employer brand to reach the right candidates. Experienced digital marketers can target an audience for your job postings, right down to city and profession. This ensures you are targeting the most relevant candidates and using your resourcing budget effectively.

Quality candidate experience

Candidates want to be confident that they’re making the right decision if they choose to join your business. By utilising recruitment partners, you can ensure that the candidate will get a quality experience throughout the entire recruitment journey, from the application stage through to interview feedback.

Specialist recruitment teams can provide excellent support to candidates, giving them the information they require when they need it. And because recruitment partners are aligned with your company values, they can shortlist candidates that are not only right for the vacancy but also a good fit for your team.

RPO and employer branding go hand in hand to make your recruitment strategy more specialised, and ultimately more successful. To find out more, check out our blogs on RPO FAQ’s and how to improve your employer brand.

Is a lengthy recruitment process costing you talent?

Picture this: a candidate has two job interviews coming up.

They are both second stage interviews, and the candidate is well qualified for both roles. They are confident that, should all go well, they will receive an offer from both companies. Having little to pick between the jobs, they have decided they will go with whichever offer is best or comes in first.

“A study of UK businesses showed that 54% of HR directors have lost out on a qualified candidate due to a long hiring process.” If you are part of that number, it might be time to think about how you can speed up your recruitment process.

Never presume you are the candidates only offer

Speeding up your hiring process can ensure you capture the right talent for your business. These days, with employment levels at an all-time high, workplace recruitment is just as much about advertising an opportunity to a candidate, as it is about ensuring you make the right hire. Too many businesses presume they can take their time during recruitment processes, but “a drawn-out hiring process costs time and money.”

Research from Morgan McKinley showed recruitment processes in 2018 “were swift and succinct, as employers recognised that long-winded applicant processes would likely turn candidates off and send them packing towards competitors.”

If you want to ensure you attract the right talent for your business, consider putting steps in place to speed up your recruitment process and get ahead of your competition. We’ve put together some ideas for how you can do this.

Recruitment Process Outsourcing

Outsource your recruitment process to an RPO provider and let experienced professionals conduct preliminary interviews and shortlist quality candidates for the vacancy. Specialist recruiters will already have a diverse and highly skilled talent pool at their fingertips. It may be that they are already aware of a candidate who could be perfect for the role within your organisation.

Ask for referrals from existing employees

Chances are your current employees know or have previously worked with someone who could be the right fit for the position. What’s also great about asking for their recommendations is that they will only recommend people they would like to work with personally. This makes it more likely that the candidate will be the right fit for your company culture.

Consider a referral bonus for employees who recommend successful candidates. If you develop an employee referral programme this should reduce your contingency recruitment fees in the long term. You will also be rewarding staff for their contribution, leading to a happier work environment.

Spend time on a well-crafted job description

A job description is not only a way to attract talent, but also a way to filter out applications that aren’t suitable. If your advert is too vague, you will end up with an excess of applications, most of which won’t be right.

Specify the skills the role requires from the offset, as well as what they can learn on the job and what the most essential part of the role is. For more details on how to get your job description just right, check out our blog on this subject.

One task too many?

Many interview processes require a candidate to complete a task relevant to the job description. This is a great way of gaining insight into candidates’ thought processes and is also an invaluable opportunity for them to showcase their ability. However, tasks take time and you could be in danger of losing out on talent if you set too many.

Don’t forget that most quality candidates will be interviewing elsewhere. If Company A shows more instinctive faith in their ability, chances are they will be inclined to accept their offer on the basis that they feel Company  A want to work with them more.

Make the candidate the centre of the universe

This is an idea taken from Janice Bryant Howroyd, Founder and CEO of ActOne Group, a global recruitment business. If you consider the candidate to be all important, not only will you attract them to your business by making them feel welcomed and supported, but you will naturally make sure that you meet their needs during the recruitment process.

If you are not paying enough attention to your candidate, they may not feel comfortable to share with you where they are at in their process. It may be that they want to tell you they have had or are expecting another offer. If they are comfortable enough to tell you this, they are letting you know for a reason. If you know they are keen to work for your company, you can speed up your process to ensure you capture the talent before it is snapped up by someone else.

In today’s recruitment market, there is no time to take your time. Capture top talent with an efficient recruitment process that proves to the candidate you want to work with them. Not only will this mean you make the right hires for your business, but it will also save you money on a long, drawn-out recruitment process.

Company Culture: Why It Matters In Recruitment Attraction Campaigns

Company culture is important as it can play a crucial factor in determining the success or failure of a business. Evidence shows that investing in company culture can lead to higher performance rates, due to enhanced employee wellbeing, higher levels of development and long-term employee retention.

According to Science Daily, “corporate culture is the most important factor in driving innovation”. So, not only does a strong culture improve employee ratings of their company’s qualities by 20%, being named a “best place to work” leads to a roughly 0.75% stock jump, as can be seen on Glassdoor.

Why is company culture important?

Company culture is of prime importance to economic success. However, research shows that if a negative corporate culture is established early on it can be very difficult to change.

Kotter’s research on this subject showed that there are two essential subcategories of corporate culture, which can be summarised as either visible or invisible. The first few years are critical to forming positive habits that determine overall success; however, change can occur later, it just requires more intentional effort to undo invisible bad practices and establish new ones.

So, here are some steps you can take to ensure your company culture attracts the best candidates:

Start from within

Focus on developing a strong, positive internal culture from the beginning. If this is something you have let slip, then take some time to correct it. Candidates will be comparing multiple companies, so they’ll know if your culture isn’t all you say it is.

So, before you make your culture external, ensure that you have it right. To help with this, you could research your competitors and use them as inspiration. What are they offering that you aren’t?

Although it is great to look at other companies for ideas be careful not to become a carbon copy of them. Establish bonuses and incentives that are aligned with your brand values, which will attract the candidates which are right for your business.

Publish your mission, vision, and values on your website

Once your internal culture is on point, focus on your employer branding and ensure it reflects your culture. Craft a tone of voice that is honest about who you are. Once you have spent some time developing your brand values, put them pride of place on your website.

Some companies can underestimate how important these statements are for candidates. Stand out by being open with what you want to achieve, how you want to achieve it, and how important you consider your employees to be.

Create a careers page

If you haven’t already, create a page on your website that is dedicated to advertising your current job opportunities, as well as giving an overview of your culture. Dedicate pages to the benefits you offer, including socials, team building, and development opportunities, and any extra packages you offer employees such as healthcare and wellbeing.

Be honest about the personality of your company. If your employees are interactive, talkative, and enthusiastic, mention this. Similarly, don’t portray your culture inaccurately. Authenticity will not only attract the right talent for your business but ensure they stay for the long term. It’s not about attracting as many candidates as possible but attracting the right ones.

Ensure your tone of voice is consistent

If your tone of voice has been crafted to communicate your company culture, make sure this is also used within your recruitment attraction campaigns. A change in tone of voice could confuse candidates and discourage them from applying. If you need to, invest in your content to ensure consistency.

Ensure communication with candidates reflects your culture

It’s crucial that your recruitment strategy is efficient, but also make sure that candidates, whether successful or not, have a positive experience throughout the process.

Invite candidates to experience your culture for themselves by introducing simple steps into your recruitment strategies such as an office tour, or meeting with ‘employer brand champions’ within the specific team they are looking to join.

If you need to apply processes to take steps to ensure that unconscious biases don’t come into play, maybe consider blind recruitment.

Develop a set of ethical policies

Studies show that millennial’s are looking to work for employers who reflect their own values and respect their community, with 86% being considered willing to take “a pay cut to work at a company whose mission and values align with their own”.

For example, the environment is one of the most pressing issues of our time, as well as being an issue millennial’s are highly engaged with. If you want to attract up and coming, exciting talent that can transform the future of your business, consider creating your own set of environmental policies. Transform the way your business runs, from everything down to recycling and power usage. As an added perk, consider contributing to environmental charities or supporting your staff with volunteer days.

Other options to consider are a set of policies to ensure diversity and inclusion is a part of your recruitment strategy or implement an internal mental health awareness campaign. Incorporate your policies as part of your talent attraction process by documenting them on your careers page.

Use Instagram

Instagram is a fantastic tool to showcase your culture. Take pictures and videos at social events, celebrations, and office perks. If you treat your staff to lunch, snap it. If your employees are taking part in team building exercises, film it.

Actions speak louder than words, and candidates don’t just want to hear about all the benefits of your culture, they want to see them in action. For more hints and tips on using Instagram for recruitment and to attract talent, see our blog.

Use Social Media

And, on this note, determine which social media channels you will use to communicate your culture. Just as 70% of employers are checking out candidate’s social media pages, they’re doing the same to you. Check out our blog post about using social media to see how you could be using your channels to attract top talent.

Your company culture is integral to your success, both economic and internal, and investing in it should be a satisfying process. It’s all about showing candidates why you’re the right company for them. It’s what’s on the inside that counts.

Promoting your employer brand on Social media: a guide on what NOT to do

Social media is fast becoming the way candidates find out about your employer brand, with a staggering 68% of Millenials choosing to specifically visit company social channels to evaluate their employer brand prior to applying for a role. After the company website, the most visited site when researching a potential employer is their corporate Facebook page. Is it time you took control of your employer brand on social media? In this blog, we go through our top tips on what not to do as well as some inspiring examples from companies who are getting it right.

Stay the same

Each social channel has its own merits and the way content is consumed differs accordingly. Ensure your posts are tailored to the particular channel and limit cross-posting. It can start to look automated if you post the same content on all channels on the same day. Change up your timings or be selective of where you post – will that funny Gif work as well on LinkedIn as it will on Twitter?

Sound like a robot

Automation is efficient and can be really effective if used correctly. But just because something can be automated doesn’t mean it should. Some ATS systems can automatically post job vacancies to your social feeds however, rather than flooding your audience’s feeds with irrelevant job openings, we’d recommend cherry picking the right roles to promote.

Share corporate content or stock imagery

Your content should showcase real people in your organisation and give a true picture of what it’s like to work there. Take advantage of the digital era we live in and encourage your employees to capture shareable moments, which prospective candidates will be truly interested in seeing.

Only post about you

It can be off-putting if a person only ever speaks about themselves- the same can be said for companies on their social media channels. It’s great to post about your employees and organisation, but avoid being predictable or producing forced content. Intersperse this with curated content which represents your brand values, and will be of use to your audience.

Start without a solid Employee Value Proposition (EVP)

It is important for all members of the social media/marketing team to be aware of your brand values before you begin. This will ensure a consistent style and tone across your social channels. A strong EVP will drive your content strategy and have the adaptability to work across various social channels without feeling repetitive.

Ignore your audience

Social media isn’t meant to be a one-way conversation. By interacting with your following and asking questions you’ll increase engagement (major plus!) and you’ll discover insights about your audience that you can use in the future.

Stay free forever

Once you’ve nailed down your strategy and gained an understanding of what your audience likes, don’t be afraid to put some money behind your posts. Using Facebook sponsored advertising, even on a minimal budget, will increase engagement and give you the ability to target specific audiences.

Stretch yourself too thin

The main social channels are LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram but there are others including Google+ and YouTube. Be sensible with the number of channels you decide to use as each will take valuable time to manage. If you have limited resources stick with 1-2 channels and perfect your content before you consider expanding.

Stick to what you know

When it comes to recruiting the social network of choice more often than not is LinkedIn. This doesn’t mean it is the best platform for every business to showcase their employer brand though. If you are only launching on 1-2 social channels initially think about where your target audience spends most of their time, and place yourself in the action.

Go it alone

It’s crucial that your employees back your brand from the beginning and show their support by sharing posts on their channels – especially at the beginning. A good way to do this is by utilising an employee referral program (ERP) which will make it easier for your employees to share your content. As well as increasing your reach, referrals will also increase the quality of applicants. Referred candidates are 3-4 times more likely to be hired than candidates who haven’t been referred.

Who’s doing it right?

There are many companies that are using social media to promote their employer brand. Here are a few examples from organisations who think are doing particularly well.

Employer branding example on Facebook

Why does it work well?

Not only does it use an authentic-looking picture of a Nando’s employee, it is accompanied by a quote about his personal experiences of working there. This post is simple, unpolished and packed full of honesty.

Employer branding example on Twitter

Why does it work well?

The BBC Careers account shares live job listings, but BBC Get In, their entry-level recruitment account, touches on the more human, user-generated side of things. Here, they repurpose images and posts from employee’s to share behind the scenes content. This is posting in its most natural form, and no extra context is required.

As well as this, the name of the channel sets them apart from other more generic careers social channels, and sets the tone for the rest of their feed.

Employer branding example on Instagram

Why does it work well?

Instagram is a place where you can really get creative with your content. Penguin Random House Careers are onto a winner with this post – fun user-generated boomerang image, a quote from an employee and a handful of relatable hashtags which will make the post easier for potential candidates to access.

Employer branding examples on LinkedIn

Why does it work well?

This post by Oath reflects their company values by referencing their commitment to diversity and equality. Including a group photo emphasises their authenticity and commitment to their people.

People spend on average 1 hour 40 minutes a day on social media and it is increasingly becoming the first point of call in candidates’ search for jobs and information on hiring companies. With 69% of candidates more likely to apply to a company which manages its employer brand its crucial, now more than ever, for your employer brand to be present on social media in order to attract top talent.

Looking for more figures on social media? Check out our blog on our top social media stats you need to know if you’re in recruitment.

What are the Top Employee Benefits?

The top issue shaping employers’ benefits strategies in 2017 is their desire to improve employee engagement, however budget restraints remain the biggest barrier to introducing the benefits they would like to offer.

When tight budgets are in place, it is crucial that employees are taken into consideration and asked what benefits they would appreciate and be of substantial value to them.

Key Findings 
  • 82% of respondents offer benefits because they are an effective retention tool
  • 76% of respondents identify budget as a barrier to offering new benefits
  • 73% of respondents will use more targeted communications to adapt to future benefits challenges
  • 36% of respondents’ organisations offer enhanced parental leave
  • 66% of respondents’ organisations measure employee engagement through an annual employee survey

Top employee benefits

Extra holidays for long service

Companies are going above and beyond their standard number of holidays and offering extras to create loyalty amongst employees. 53% of employers are offering extra holidays to reward employees for long service.

Unlimited holidays

The number of companies offering unlimited time off is growing, see our blog post on unlimited time off to find out more on this benefit.

Maternity/Paternity leave

Netflix is one of the leaders in Maternity benefits, they offer unlimited maternity or paternity during the first year after their child’s birth or adoption. Employees can take unlimited time off and choose to return to work on a full or part time basis. Following this, 38% of organisations globally, now offer paid paternity leave above the statutory minimum.

There is a rise in the trend of an increase of benefits to support Mothers returning from maternity leave including flexible return to work, mentoring and counselling.

Flexible working

61% of employers offer flexible-working initiatives, this has risen from 54% in 2016. Part-time hours, working from home and career breaks or sabbaticals are all popular elements of flexible working.

Flexible hours give employees the opportunity to meet family needs and life responsibilities without any guilt whilst reducing employee burnout and allowing employees to enjoy their working schedule.

There are many benefits in offering flexible working to employers including increased employee morale and engagement, employee loyalty and reduced absenteeism.

Wellness/healthcare

Private medical insurance remains the top healthcare and wellbeing benefit to be offered by employers, with 79% offering it to employees which has risen from 71% in 2016. (Staffcare)

Employers that offer a range of health and wellbeing benefits can help to create a supportive culture, an inclusive offer of fitness benefits such as gym membership or exercise classes and healthcare rewards such as medical or dental insurance will appeal to most generations.

But not all wellness and healthcare benefits appeal to everyone, it’s difficult to create a program that will cover everybody’s needs. By offering a budget for employees to spend on whichever healthcare benefits they like, gives them the opportunity to create their own benefits plan.

Source:
The Staffcare Employee Benefits report 2017 highlights what benefits employers are offering at the moment and why. The survey was conducted in February – March 2017 among users of www.employeebenefits.co.uk and received 271 responses.

Unlimited Holidays – Too good to be true?

An unlimited holiday allowance is not a new phenomenon but up until recently it was a benefit which was rarely found outside of Silicon Valley tech companies. Although most companies offering this benefit are US-based, companies such as digital agency VisualSoft, social media agency Social Chain and technology platform JustPark are leading the way in the UK.

What is unlimited holiday?

An unlimited holiday or vacation entitlement means an employee is able to take paid time off work whenever they want to throughout the year. For most companies there are no strict rules attached to this perk, however, it appears to be an unwritten assumption for most companies that the employee’s work must be completed before taking said time off. Richard Branson says that all Virgin employees are able to take time off whenever they wish as long as it, “will not in any way damage the business – or, for that matter, their careers”.

Where did the unlimited holiday policy originate?

Netflix started in 2001 and was one of the first notable companies to offer unlimited paid leave, however, Brazilian company Semco has been offering this to their employees since 1981. When Semco first started implementing this policy the company was worth $4 million. They are now worth over $1 billion dollars.

Which companies are adopting unlimited holiday?

Crimson Hexagon, LinkedIn, HubSpot, JustPark, Grant Thornton and Eventbrite are just some of the companies offering this benefit in the UK. Although the list is ever increasing it seems to be proving more popular with technology firms and start-ups. But, I’m fairly confident that many organisations will follow.

Positive reasons for unlimited holidays

Times have changed

“Flexible working has revolutionised how, where and when we all do our jobs. So, if working nine to five no longer applies, then why should strict annual leave policies?”

One of the main reasons for unlimited holidays the movement away from a traditional 9-5 role. As this becomes more elusive, so does standardising holiday. With advances in technology employees no longer need to be in the office to access their emails and take calls. Traditional hours are on the way out, as they don’t always suit employees, with many companies offering more flexible ways of working.

Accountability

An unlimited holiday policy can convey trust to employees. By handing the responsibility to employees it makes them accountable for ensuring their work is on track prior to taking any time off.

Focus on results

Whereas staying late at the office used to score you brownie points, society has adapted its thinking and is now more in favour of employees that ‘work smart.’ Efficiency is key at Netflix and if you are able to manage your workflow effectively they believe you should be rewarded for this.

We should focus on what people get done, not how many hours or days worked.

A way of attracting talent

On the surface, the benefit of unlimited holidays is undoubtedly a great way to attract talent. Company review website, Glassdoor states, “Unlimited time-off can play a massive part in recruiting and retaining top talent. Allowing employees to recharge at their own pace, without having to meticulously count their annual leave days. Perhaps it could even result in more productive employees?”

Negative reasons for unlimited holidays

How much time off is appropriate?

Unlimited holidays is a relatively uncommon compensation policy so it can lead to employees wondering, ‘how much time is appropriate to take off from work?’. UK-based technology company, Triggertrap saw employees take an average of 15 days annual leave when they adopted the unlimited holiday policy. 13 days under the statutory minimum.

Feeling pressured

Some employees may feel pressured to not take time off for various reasons. They may feel guilty about leaving their colleagues to deal with their workload. Or they may feel that their manager will judge them if they’re seen to be taking too much time off.

Some employees may even feel internal pressure, as according to behavioural scientists our decisions are anchored by social norms.

Will it make much difference?

If you had unlimited holidays how many days in a year would you take off? In 2015, business media brand, Fast Company rolled out an unlimited holidays policy to their employees. They found that employees took roughly the same amount of holidays compared to the previous year when they were on a traditional paid time off system.

Doesn’t work for every company

Unlimited holidays inevitably won’t work for every industry, company or department. In particular, Elliott Manning, MD at Kayman Recruitment, believes it wouldn’t work for recruitment companies, “If a recruiter takes three or four weeks off it’s going to affect their pipeline and ultimately over a three-month period of the year, that’s going to affect business. The one-month build up, the month they’re away and the month they come back they are starting again.”

How can you adapt unlimited holidays to suit your business?

Call it something different

Fast Company suggest that adapting the name may help make the policy more successful. “Unlimited” conveys time off as indulgent whereas adapting the name to “flexible,” “self-managed,” “personalized,” or “responsible PTO” may be a better option to help employees understand the purpose behind the policy.

Incentivise time off

If you are worried that employees may feel guilty about taking time off why not incentivise it? That’s what companies such as Evernote and FullContact do. Employees at Evernote are given $1000 spending money if they take at least a week off at a time. FullContact have a policy called, ‘paid paid vacation’, where each employee is given a very generous $7500 per year if they go on vacation.

The rules to gain the $7500 are simple. They have to go on vacation, they must disconnect and they can’t work while they are away.

Unlimited Holiday – a good idea?

Ultimately it really depends on your business and your way of working. However, if you expect your employees to go above and beyond to achieve results, shouldn’t they have a compensation policy which reflects this?

How important is company culture to candidates?

Your company culture is your personality and it’s something candidates want to learn about during the recruitment process. But how can your candidates experience your culture first hand?

LinkedIn recently surveyed over 14,000 professionals worldwide to find out their favourite methods to discover and experience company culture.

Participants were given the option to choose their top three from the following;

  • Office Visit
  • Hiring Manager
  • Other Employees
  • Company Website
  • Recruiters
Visiting your office

Whilst video or phone interviews might be easier, they don’t give candidates the same glimpse into your culture as onsite interviews do. Making office visits part of your interview process is simple with anything such as tours or open houses, even walking the candidate around the office before an interview will give them a quick introduction to the culture.

Hiring Managers

Many candidates see hiring managers as having more authority, so they’re more likely to reply to them. US candidates in particular are more interested in hearing about culture from the hiring manager rather than other employees within the business. Utilise their power to influence by having them talk specifically about company culture during the face-to-face interview.

Hearing from employees

Current employees are the ones on the front line as they have experienced the company culture first hand. So, make sure candidates have the opportunity to speak with existing employees, whether it is during interviews or career fairs.

By developing your employees into brand ambassadors, you encourage them to share what life is like at your company.

Using the company website

Candidates will conduct research before applying for jobs and your website is normally the first place they will look. Pictures and videos which reflect your company values will give them a gateway into your culture.

Hearing from the recruiter

In order for recruiters to give candidates a glimpse into the company culture they can talk about a variety of things for example, they can give candidates an overview of a typical day in the office or speak about their genuine reasons for enjoying working there. Again, this is where your employees become brand ambassadors.

How candidates think in 5 statistics

LinkedIn recently conducted their annual talent survey where they asked 14,000 global professionals about their job-seeking attitudes and habits. Some of their findings were quite astounding, we’ve selected our top 5 takeaways from the report:

90% of candidates are open to new job opportunities

Unsure whether to send that message? According to LinkedIn 90% of candidates are open to new job opportunities and what’s more, 63% feel flattered when recruiters reach out to them.

Candidates want to know why they are a good fit more than company specifics

It may seem obvious but if you send a message which is personalised you are a lot more likely to gain a response. 54% of candidates want to know why the job would suit them which is on par with knowing the job title.

Candidates spend 1-2 months gathering information before applying

Changing jobs can be a big deal and therefore most candidates take time to carefully consider their options before taking the plunge. On average candidates spend between 1 – 2 months researching companies before deciding to submit their application.

Your company website is their top destination

When conducting their research, 53% of candidates’ main point of call is the company website.

Ensuring your company website is visually appealing and contains engaging career-focussed content is essential in attracting candidates. But none of that matters if your website isn’t being seen- make sure you’re publishing SEO optimized content so you show up in those all-important google searches.

Social Media plays a key role

Candidates use social media as a way of keeping up to date with companies that they are interested in. 35% of candidates say LinkedIn played a significant role in their recent job change and 49% of candidates follow companies to stay aware of upcoming vacancies.

Is your careers site attracting candidates? Check out our recent blog post on how to make your careers site user friendly.

Are we doing enough to help employers track their cool credentials?

Recently I found myself pondering the latest CoolBrands survey – an annual survey into the coolest brands in Britain – and whilst looking over the Top 20 coolest brands for 2016/17 it dawned on me that employer brand managers could take more notice of ‘cool’. It’s a pretty safe bet that being cool and being a desirable employer is closely related. There are strong indications that people often want to work for the brands that make them feel good about themselves, enhance their social status and help them build a positive identity.

The body behind the CoolBrands survey – the centre for brand analysis –canvasses the opinions of independent experts and 2,500 members of the British public to identify the UK’s coolest brands. They’ve been announcing the coolest brands every September since 2001. It will be interesting to see how many in the 2016/17 CoolBrands Top 20 retain their Top 20 status next month.

The CoolBrands Top 20 for 2016/17 is as follows

1. Apple

2. Glastonbury

3. Netflix

4. Aston Martin

5. Nike

6. Instagram

7. Spotify

8. Adidas

9. PlayStation

10. YouTube

11. Google

12. Airbnb

13. Alexander McQueen

14. Bose

15. M.A.C

16. Sonos

17. Harley-Davidson

18. Gopro

19. CHANEL

20. Ray-Ban

Coolness is subjective and dynamic: What consumers consider cool changes over time and across consumers. What millennial candidates think is cool is likely to be different from what a candidate over fifty thinks is cool. The talent management and employer branding industry ought to be doing more to provide client firms with the means to regularly track their cool credentials, in the same way that we help them keep tabs on their brand consideration ratings or willingness to recommend scores (NPS). I’m thinking a dedicated cool tracker.

And we should not just track their coolness ratings. Consumers find it easy to say what brands are cool, but it’s much more difficult for them to say what features make a brand cool. Consumers know what is cool when they see it but they can’t always explain why. We should do more to help employers get to grips with what makes a brand appealing; how that might vary by business sector and whether you need to possess all of those things to be a cool brand.

Evidence suggests the following may be central to what makes a brand cool and so would need to be reflected in any dedicated cool tracker:

  • At the forefront of technological innovation
  • A deep understanding of the audience through immersion in their world
  • An understanding of how the target audience feels (cool is an emotion)
  • A disruptive vision
  • Originality
  • Unmistakeable quality
  • A strong (social) mission
  • An emotional connection with consumers – a brand they can love
  • Opportunities for consumers to engage with the product or service
  • Opportunities for consumers to express their individuality
  • In touch with the evolving lives of consumers
  • In touch with the consumer agenda
  • Faithful to the brand’s roots but in a contemporary, relevant way
  • Connected with the wider culture

Interestingly, celebrity endorsements are not key to being cool. At best, they will buy you some cool by association but it won’t be real. Simon Massey, of The Gild consultancy, once summed up coolness as a well-maintained combination of the zeitgeist, how you want consumers to feel, the brand’s roots, a strong stance, and stylish execution.

With our vast experience of building and managing employer brands based on real insight and intelligence via market watch reporting, competitor benchmarking and candidate insight, we in the talent management and employer branding industry are well positioned to help client firms track their cool credentials and better understand the drivers of coolness, through a dedicated cool tracker.

I’m confident there would be a strong appetite amongst employers for such a tracker.

A cool employer brands survey would mark a significant evolution in the way we build and manage employer brands. It would also go a long way towards syncing the consumer brand and the employer brand.

To quote Martina Alexander, marketing manager at Wonderbra: “cool is a perception”. So, let’s get tracking it.

Want to track your cool credentials?

More information on the CoolBrands Survey can be found at: www.coolbrands.uk.com

Katharine Newton is Head of Insight at Talent Works International (TWI). TWI is a global talent communications firm that helps organisations around the world build effective and efficient talent strategies through our research, sourcing and creative teams. For more information, contact: Katharine.newton@talent-works.com