In our previous article, we told you about the main misconceptions employers have regarding the selection of candidates for tech positions, and now let’s look at the key strategies for companies to improve the HR brand and become a dream place to work at.
What is HR branding?
In simple words, HR branding or employer branding is the process of managing your company’s reputation as an employer among job seekers, employees, and key stakeholders. When the company’s values, culture, and mission are aligned with those of an employee, the latter is likely to remain with the company for as long as possible. Or, if we are talking about a job seeker, will compete for being hired.
However, the employer brand is sometimes perceived only as a set of employee perks – such as free lunch, ping pong table, or long vacation. This very narrow understanding makes it unrelated to the main drivers of the business. The effectively formulated employer brand is a much broader concept based on the company’s main values and strategic goals. That is why the task of establishing the attractive employer brand should not be fully delegated to the HR or PR department but attentively developed with the participation of the company’s management.
Why is developing HR branding important?
If your business fails to attract a professional needed to meet your strategic objectives, you are not properly utilizing your employer brand —–>
This, in turn, negatively affects the whole performance of a company.
Otherwise, enhancing the work on employer brand and formulating smart branding strategy makes you the company of choice for the best talents on the market —–>
You hire the most efficient candidates – loyal and ready to contribute to scaling up your business.
Top talents are scarce, while the costs of replacing them are really high. At the same time, if a company gets things right in terms of building a strong HR brand – attracting and retaining the best employees on the market – it creates huge opportunities for developing the business. Why would an employee rather choose to work for Google, Goldman Sachs or McKinsey than for another less recognizable company offering a higher salary? Because these giants reached the top in terms of HR brand – to work for them is prestigious and promising for a future career.
Let’s look at some figures from different surveys:
- According to LinkedIn, 75% of candidates will research a company’s reputation before applying for a job opening;
- Corporate Responsibility magazine found out that 92% of people would consider switching jobs if offered a role with a company with an excellent corporate reputation;
- According to LinkedIn’s research, a strong employer brand reduces turnover by 28% and cost per hire by 50%;
- LinkedIn has also revealed that companies with strong employer brand see 50% more qualified applicants and hire two times faster;
- And some more interesting stats from LinkedIn: if they had unlimited budgets, 53% of companies would like to invest in employer branding most.
The COVID-19 crisis has proven once again how important HR branding is. Millions of companies worldwide have faced a serious crisis, and the extent to which the employee experience suffered became indicative.
Although the pandemic is still shaping our reality, the global economy started to gradually recover towards business-as-usual mode. Job seekers and employees are paying greater attention to whether a company managed to avoid damage to its reputation and remain committed to its values against all odds.
A good example of how the individuals’ attitude to business is linked with the way it behaved during the crisis is a ranking compiled by communications and graphic design specialist Lewis Cotter, who ranged high street brands based on how they treated employees and consumers during the pandemic. While some brands failed to maintain their reputation, others stepped up to help their staff and others during difficult times. These efforts largely define the whole image of a company for employees, job seekers, clients, or customers.
It is especially true for the tech industry, which is characterized by high competition for talents. Our experience shows that a well-developed employer brand can be a key to the successful and effective recruitment and retention of top professionals.
How to become attractive for top tech professionals?
- Enhance your internal employer brand.
Above all, your employees are your number one asset — they understand how your company functions and know every aspect of your business from A to Z. Improving the HR brand for stakeholders outside your company is impossible without internal work since your current employees are those communicating the company’s values to business partners, customers and candidates. Establish reliable communications and feedback culture within your company, be attentive to employers’ aspirations and needs, encourage your team to learn and provide it with opportunities to do that.
- Treat candidates like your customers.
This is the most effective strategy to get respect, build relationships, and attract new candidates. The main strategies to make the job seekers’ experience positive include:
- Continuous communication and candidate’s engagement. One of the most common factors contributing to a negative candidate experience is lack of communication. Respond to your candidates promptly, thank them for applying or making test tasks, keep informed on the timeline of the recruitment process. This will reduce the number of drop-outs from the talent pipeline you are forming to fill a position.
- Make processes friendly for candidates. The application process, its stages and deadlines should be transparent and simple – this favorably influences the candidate’s perception of the process management in your company.
- Provide feedback. According to numerous surveys, job seekers are four times more likely to consider a company for a future opportunity when they receive constructive feedback. Personalize your feedback, do not hesitate to send rejection letters outlining the reasons behind your decision and thanking a candidate for communication and participation in the selection process.
- Invest in technologies.
Remember that tech professionals adore everything related to technologies and often know almost everything about them. So, the bar is high and you need to catch up to make a good impression. If the stack you offer a candidate or an employee is less advanced than he or she has at their disposal, the chances to hire a cool employee are smaller.
- Establish your presence at the tech scene.
Let your potential candidates get to know your company closer before you start hiring. The high level of brand awareness will boost confidence in your business and make it more attractive as a place to work. Compile a calendar of conferences, workshops, and any other events that people passionate about technologies regularly attend. Participate in tech hackathons, forums, position your company in media as an owner of unique expertise.
- Formulate your mission, values and goals, make it understandable for people.
More than ever, employees care about how their work impacts the business and the world around them. That is why you should pay attention to the transparent and clear wording of your core values and mission statement. Even if you already have them, ensure once again they still match the company and brand vision. To do that, focus on your current employees’ experience, ask them to name the key elements that make up your company and its vision.
- Use social media as employer branding channels.
About 59% of candidates use social media to follow companies that they are potentially interested in working for. According to LinkedIn, 49% of professionals follow companies on social media to stay in the loop on their open jobs. Moreover, active presence in social media keeps your current employees more engaged in the company’s life. So, social media is worth attention in terms of reinforcing brand identity. Share your company news with your followers, tell about open positions, communicate your main values and mission – stay in close communication with the audience.
- Design smart and modern recruitment strategy.
Candidates applying for positions in large companies and corporations often face protracted and bulky application procedures. Nothing can be more discouraging for a candidate than constant interruptions in communication with a potential employer and lack of transparency regarding the company’s recruitment goals.
- Adjust compensation and work schedules packages to each candidate.
Generally, companies determine the compensation package based on interview results and the candidate’s experience. However, you are not immune to making a mistake and offer a higher wage to a weaker candidate, and vise versa. To avoid this, it is always better to use a tailored and flexible approach to conditions you are offering to a candidate with a possibility to adjust them based on the results of work.
- Encourage your employees to learn.
New technologies are developing very fast and it is crucial to provide your team with opportunities to acquire cutting-edge frameworks. Deloitte consulting company has recently found out that organizations with a strong learning culture are 92% more likely to develop novel products and processes, 52% more productive, 56% more likely to be the first to market with their products and services, and 17% more profitable than their peers.
- Show that you do not use discriminatory policies.
Abandon any discriminatory policies based on age, gender, sexual orientation, or race. Corporate profiling cases, if they become known, may completely destroy the reputation of your business. The 21st-century marked a turn in diversity and inclusion initiatives, and millennials are leading the change – being raised in a tech-connected world, they are open-minded, support all types of diversity, and demand the same from their employees.
Although an employer brand is not a tangible asset of your company, it should be constantly cultivated to attract top talents and retain those already working for you.
Many factors make your company a place where people want to work, and all of them require attention and determination. Overall, the key to success in building a successful HR Brand is to keep it aligned with the general direction of your business, its main drivers and values.