Winning the talent war: How to rise to the challenge of building your employer brand

Winning the talent war: How to rise to the challenge of building your employer brand

Firefly HQ

Firefly HQ

The Great British Bake Off is switching channels and as a result has lost almost all of their key talent, with Mary Berry, Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins all staying with the BBC. The strength of the BBC brand and the loyalty it has shown played a huge part in their decision not to make the switch to Channel 4.

Staff retention and hiring is a huge challenge not only for Channel 4 but for many businesses. Sites like Glassdoor are able to give a transparent insight into your workplace, so the role of PR is important in supporting the HR team to improve your employer brand and help win the talent war.

It’s becoming harder for employers to retain and attract top talent – or, as in the case above, anyone at all - because candidates are able to move around to get the best benefits and salaries. In this candidate-led job market, companies are distinguishing themselves using the strength of their employer brand. If your business has a poor employer brand, it can be very difficult to shake off both externally and internally, impacting the talent you can attract.

This was recently demonstrated in research by client Cornerstone OnDemand, which found that almost a third of European line managers and HR professionals are not proud of their workplace, and would not be willing to recommend it. This is particularly alarming because your managers and HR team are meant to wave the flag of the company and represent your corporate values.

Added to the impact on your brand reputation, high levels of staff turnover can also be very costly to the business, with research by Oxford Economics showing that staff turnover costs the British economy at least £4.13bn every year, as new employees can take up to eight months to become their most productive.

In a candidate-led job market, it is vital that the communications team helps to bring the company’s future employees into focus. Of course it’s important to caveat that whilst PR and marketing can amplify your employer brand, we can’t create it. Actions speak louder than words, and no amount of positive PR can disguise a megalomaniac boss or bad working conditions, or lack of Mary Berry.

So with that healthy caveat in mind – once you have a good employer brand, here are my top tips on how to whisk up a great reputation.

Use alternative ingredients

By alternative ingredients, we mean not relying on the usual suspects that PR shines the spotlight on. Whilst it’s important to profile the senior members of you team that are the public face of the company, journalists sometimes crave to speak to alternatives. Perhaps someone with a job role that isn’t particularly prevalent, like a Chief Happiness Officer – or even someone at a ‘regular’ grade, like the payroll team or tech support.

This gives potential candidates a closer look at what other people outside of the key spokespeople do at the business. With some time spent doing media training and by through targeted pitching, you can boost your company’s reputation through more than just your CEO and other senior members of staff.

Watch out for the judges’ comments

Speaking of your CEO, how do they rate? Social media platforms like Glassdoor allow employees (your judges) to rate their current and past CEO and employers, share salary reports, and more. When you consider the impact that Amazon ratings have on purchasing decisions and how reviews on TripAdvisor impact hotel bookings, it’s not hard to imagine how bad comments from your judges can influence future talent.

To keep on top of this, you need to make sure that:

  • The way your profile your CEO is true to reality. Comparing Glassdoor reviews to media articles will soon show any potential disparity
  • Your brand values match what people are really doing. It’s important to keep an eye out for any disconnect

PR teams should co-manage company profiles with the HR team on sites like Glassdoor to make sure that there is no disparity between what is promoted in your description and what is allegedly practised in comments. Glassdoor in particular allows you to monitor for any issues like bullying and defamation, in order for the PR team to get the HR team involved to engage commenters.

Have a consistent bake, inside and out

HR and PR teams should also collaborate on other social networks, in order to ensure that the public profile of the business is like any well baked cake; consistent inside and out.

LinkedIn is the destination to show future talent why they should want to work for your brand. Your company profile page is one of the first channels potential hires will visit, so it’s important you discuss with the HR team how best to impress talent and what is most likely to attract people to your company. LinkedIn users don’t just follow companies; they also follow people. With this in mind, Marketing and HR should also encourage employees to become brand ambassadors on their profiles, posting updates and job opportunities for any followers.

Twitter is another important channel for doing some basic employer branding. Throughout your tweets, pepper in key messages that will resonate with the people you want to attract to your workforce. The best way to do this is to use content that shows off the businesses personality through your people. It’s also a good idea to build anonymous Twitter lists of future employees you’d like to attract to your business. This is something to collaborate with the HR team on and gives you one place to go to make sure that the right talent is being engaged with, and allows for promotional, paid for tweets around job vacancies that target your list.

A solid bake will attract admirers

The above are just some tactics that can be used in your communications to help improve your employer branding and attract star talent. The inner workings of your business is becoming more and more transparent, and social media is the force driving this trend forward. This means it is becoming increasingly important for the marketing and HR teams to work together to build your employer brand from within, and ensuring this well baked approach helps to retain and attract the best talent.

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