A notebook filled with ideas for an employer brand on top of a desk.
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7 ways to build a strong employer brand in the new era of work

7 Apr 2021

Putting the work into getting your brand right will help you attract and retain the best candidates in the new era of work, writes Hays’ David Brown.

With access to larger pools of talent as a result of remote work and redundancies, a strong employer brand will enable you to more quickly and cost-effectively hire the right people for your organisation while keeping your existing top talent engaged and performing well.

So, with that in mind, here are a few ways you can ensure your employer brand is even stronger as we enter the new era of work.

1. Let your values guide your employer brand

It’s important to have confidence in your brand, what it stands for, what it’s trying to achieve and the values that make your organisation unique. These core values should guide your decision making from here on out. If they do, they will shine through and be plain to see for current and potential employees. It’s that simple.

It’s also increasingly important for you as a business leader to understand that Covid-19 has changed people for good. This will undoubtedly impact the choices we make when considering employers. So, to ensure your employer brand is even more powerful in this new era of work, it must communicate your organisation’s purpose powerfully too.

2. Invest in relationships with potential candidates

The uncertainty caused by the pandemic means that the talent landscape is looking somewhat different from what it was just a few months ago. As a result, the hiring process is likely going to be longer. Therefore, building long-term relationships with your talent pools is becoming even more important when constructing a strong employer brand strategy.

For instance, many professionals who may have been just about to start their job search prior to the crisis have likely decided to stay put for the time being due to fears around job security.

That’s completely understandable, but it does mean your strategy will need resonate with those people. It also means you’ll need to put the work in now in attracting them – it may take months, years even, for them to feel that they are in a place where they can finally join you.

3. Keep cultivating your company culture

For employers, having teams scattered in a number of different locations means that ensuring your company culture remains strong is both key to happy, engaged and productive employees, and to a powerful employer brand in the new era of work.

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So, you must do everything you can to ensure your company culture – the personality of your business – stays strong as we transition to new ways of working. From my perspective, as we go forward, the focus should be on building on a company culture that celebrates and appreciates learning, inclusion, wellbeing, compassion and trust.

If you’re currently hiring and onboarding remotely, it’s essential to do so in a way that lets your strong company culture take centre stage. It can’t get lost just because you don’t always have an office full of people. Here are a few things you could try to help you do that:

  • Conduct virtual office tours for candidates and new starters
  • Record short introductory videos with key team members as part of your induction processes
  • Run virtual coffee meet ups
  • Create ‘water-cooler moments’
  • Do what you can to make everyone feel included, no matter where they are based

4. Evaluate your hiring methods

Take some time to review and audit your talent attraction and hiring funnel in order to identify which parts might need changing. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself along the way.

How personalised is your current candidate experience? Does the wording and tone of your job advertisements need to change to reflect any new benefits packages you’re now offering, or your renewed emphasis on growth, learning and development?

Do your hiring managers need further training and support to help them interview and onboard remotely? Are you utilising the right new HR technology?

5. Review your HR processes

Your employer brand strategy needs to be a cross-functional team effort. To be truly effective and to really resonate in our increasingly dispersed world, you must bring in expertise and perspectives from all areas, including input from both your CEO and your marketing department.

After all, it’s crucial that your employer brand strategy complements your wider marketing strategy – the two must work in tandem together to work at all.

For example, your marketing team can use their knowledge and expertise to help your HR team devise an employer brand strategy which meets your potential candidates where they are, using content that will really resonate with them.

6. Get your content in order

While employer brand content is an effective way to establish brand recognition among potential new employees, it’s important to adjust your messaging as we progress through each stage of the pandemic in order for it to be effective.

As LinkedIn advises in this webinar, use your employer branded content to showcase how your business is supporting and managing current employees during changing times, leading with trust and adaptive to drive business continuity.

7. Emphasise top-down engagement

Ensuring communication from leaders within your organisation is clear, authentic, transparent, human and empathetic is crucial, particularly at this time. But it is also key to building and communicating a powerful employer brand.

Between developing strategy and growing revenue, your company’s executive team are key drivers of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit from the top down – so they should be a loud voice in communicating your employer brand.

But it’s not just down to the CEO. Your employees should have a voice too. So, empower them to share their experiences of working in your organisation across their personal social media channels. After all, your current people are your biggest advocates and they have the loudest voices, so utilise them.

By David Brown

David Brown is CEO of Hays US. A version of this article previously appeared on the Hays Viewpoint blog.

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