In today’s candidate-driven job market, employers have to play their cards right when communicating what they have to offer. This is why more and more companies are saying goodbye to traditional recruiting methods and adopting more progressive strategies that will give them a competitive advantage.
Enter the world of employer branding and recruitment marketing. These terms have quickly become HR and recruitment buzzwords, and it is clear to see why. Both practices bring many benefits to organizations, from increased talent awareness to dramatically reduced time to hire. With a plethora of new firms now offering their take on the internet about what employer branding is, and how to solve for it, one clear challenge has emerged: many companies and HR Leaders do not understand the difference between employer brand and recruitment marketing and therefore their expectations versus business impact are often not aligned.
Why Recruitment Marketing Alone Can Miss the Mark
If the organizational goal is to achieve results with elevating employee experience, engagement, retention, ambassadorship and talent attraction, recruitment marketing alone will miss the mark.
“Employer Brand Strategy by definition, is the process of managing and influencing your reputation and experience as an employer. It is a strategy that encompasses everything a company does to position the organization as an employer of choice.”
Unfortunately, today, many companies make the mistake of investing in an EVP and Employer Brand solution only to solve for current day recruitment challenges.
“Recruitment Marketing refers to the inbound strategies and tactics an organization uses to find, attract, engage, and nurture talent before they apply for a job, also called the pre-applicant phase of talent acquisition.”
When employers start employer brand projects by prioritizing time-sensitive talent acquisition goals alone the entire strategic benefits are not realized. When culture alignment, employee experience and change management take a backseat the approach is sort of like filling a leaky bucket. You may be able to fill roles slightly faster, but if these new hires leave due to a poor work culture or employee experience, and you will soon end up right back where you started, if not in an altogether weaker spot as the organization has failed to deliver on its promise to new hires. Given the rising volume of resignations, this problem will soon become more challenging than most employers are prepared to handle.
Don’t get us wrong, we love recruitment marketing! It is one of our core services and there is tremendous impact that can be realized from the work. There are incredible tools, vendors, and partners in the market today. Programmatic job advertising, digital media advertising, social media and digital storytelling, video and CRM tools, Careers Site hosting, text recruitment and sourcing tools all make an impact on the bottom line. These tools will help to showcase the organization and workplace culture, but they are only one slice of the whole employer branding pie, and their impact will be short lived if not embedded into a holistic strategy.
The Golden Thread That is Employer Branding
The real opportunity in employer brand strategy is that it is designed and codified to transform workplace reputation, experience, awareness, preference, and performance for the better. Today, there are really a very small number of organizations that are considered top of mind, preferred and ideal employers. This small group of employers tend to get the largest volume of applications, top performing talent, have the strongest retention ratios AND ultimately drive the greatest innovation and customer experience. It really is one golden thread versus a siloed departmental solution.
Great Cultures = Great People = Great Performance = Bigger Market Share!
Like any strong business, culture, or brand strategy. You must start with the foundation of solid research and data. Culture, External Market, Employee and Leadership research must be the foundation of your employer brand strategy. A conversation with the recruitment team or HR Department is not an employee value proposition – this is a reflection on what you assume talent want. Do not make assumptions, especially in the rapid changing world of talent! Do not skip the research and analytics step of building an EVP to just rush to ad campaigns, and careers sites, unless your objective is extremely short term.
An employer brand strategy should be holistic in that it addresses internal factors like experience, leadership, ambassadorship, change management and programs alignment. It will also address external factors like talent awareness, recruitment marketing, reputation, and sentiment. Organizations that use this unified approach to employer branding are the ones that realize a massive shift in candidate applications, quality, and conversion. They also see a massive jump in engagement, ambassadorship, reputation and, not surprisingly, business performance.
Consider this when assessing the value of a holistic employer brand strategy vs recruitment marketing effort alone:
- Today’s talent personas demand that company values, purpose, reputation, and flexibility align with their expectations. More than 86% of workers will not apply for, or continue to work for, a company that has a weak reputation with former employees or the public. Glassdoor, Indeed, Comparably and social sentiment greatly influence most talents intent to apply.
- Today’s talents are conducting fewer job searches than ever and are being actively pursued by recruiters. At the same time, the gig economy is on the rise and more appealing than ever to self starters.
- A rapidly rising volume of talent are actively reviewing and commenting about poor employer and leader experiences on social media platforms, including Twitter, Tic Tok, Instagram, Reddit, Glassdoor, Indeed and Comparably. As a result, the story about one’s workplace culture can often have equal share of voice to the content your company controls and manages in recruitment marketing. The story simply must be experienced and shared from the insight out.
- People have spent the last two years of the pandemic determining what they now expect in their new world of work and what they will no longer tolerate. Talent are making their moves now (a record 4 million quit their job in April alone) and the battle for their hearts and minds must touch every leader, employee, cultural and organizational shift, press release, candidate communication and recruitment marketing initiative. This is what a solid employer brand can do for you. It can reduce turnover rates by 28% and cut your costs-per-hire by half
Build Your Employer Brand First
If your recruitment marketing efforts are not getting you the ROI and leadership attention you expected, you need to re-evaluate where you are focusing your time and energy and ensure that the Employer brand and EVP is a part of a holistic culture experience.
Recruitment marketing might attract people to your organization, but employer branding will motivate them to stay, to act as ambassadors, to elevate your reputation, positive sentiment and share of voice, and ultimately your customer perception and loyalty. Investing in your employer branding is not easy work, but when done effectively, you will reap the rewards for years to come.
To learn more about how we can help you create a more effective employer brand, or for additional research insights or inquiries, please contact Stacy Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blu Ivy Group is a global leader in employer branding, organizational culture, and recruitment marketing. We help organizations across the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors build extraordinary employee experiences, magnetic employer brands, and high-performance cultures.
From C-Suite to Employer Brand and Talent Acquisition leadership, we partner with our clients to transform their organizations and design the most compelling workplaces of the future.