When was the last time you looked at your employer brand? Your company reputation with current, past and future employees can be your most powerful recruiting tool in the search for and development of talent. Neglecting your employer brand can come with real costs. According to a recent study, 69% of job seekers are unwilling to accept a job at a company with a bad reputation. And it’s not just your open positions you risk by having a poor reputation. The same study found that 84% of current employees would consider quitting to accept a position at a company with a stellar rep.
As with any branding, your employer reputation can suffer without active management on your part. A less-than-desirable reputation is a challenge, but one that you can take on with the right tools and mindset. Here are three things to consider to cultivate a better environment and attract higher quality talent:
1. Research Your Reputation
If you don’t already have a system in place, it’s important to begin monitoring your reputation. Focus on elements like brand awareness, candidate demographics, employee engagement, and social chatter to give you a sense of where your company currently stands.
If you’re unsure on where to get started, a good idea is to ask those already in the company. Provide employees with a way to give anonymous feedback and see what trends emerge. Or take to the internet and check out what people are saying on social media and sites like Quora and Glassdoor. Weigh both the positive and constructive feedback to find themes that you can begin to target.
Incoming candidates are another excellent source of information. As part of the interview process, ask what they know about your company. What associations do they make when they think about the company? Look at the data, too. Tracking metrics around recruiting (ie: cost-per-hire, percentage of employee referrals, offers accepted) and retention (low vs. high performers, resignations by department) can be an excellent way to get a high-level picture of your brand.
2. Put a Reputation Management Team in Place
The best companies to work for don’t rely on others to set their employer brand. They dedicate time and resources to cultivating a positive employer image, and this commitment starts at the top. Remember, reputation management doesn’t belong to just one person. Consider involving the following players:
- C-suite: High-profile leaders should be setting the tone for your brand and are the strongest advocates for managing the company’s reputation.
- Human Resources: Your HR team is on the front lines, and their role in recruiting and hiring means that they shape much of your brand and have the best sense of what others are saying about the company.
- Marketing: These experts in branding and advertising can be tapped to help create captivating messages and identify the appropriate channels to reach your target audience.
- Public Relations: PR teams understand how to communicate both internally and externally. Use them to share exciting news such as company changes and major hires, as well as navigate messaging during times of transition or change.
3. Take Action
Once you understand your employer brand and have built a team of stakeholders, it’s time to take action as you manage your company’s reputation.
- Be honest. The most trustworthy and engaged leaders take the time to acknowledge where things have gone wrong and explain how they plan to move forward. If you’re not sure what that sounds like, you can take a look at these excellent examples from top CEOs.
- Ask for regular feedback. While you may have asked people to share while you were starting your reputation management process, it’s important that feedback is a consistent part of the culture. Identify where you have improved, and find out how things are changing. Respond to feedback so candidates and employees know that the company is listening. And don’t be too scared when negative feedback gets out there; 95% of consumers trust reviews more when they are both negative and positive.
- Build your online presence. Utilize a multi-channel strategy by engaging on sites that your candidates and employees are already using. Consider platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest if you haven’t already. Share what it’s like to work at your company and encourage your employees to tell their own stories.
- Develop your message. Your company has it’s own culture. Maybe you want to share your casual atmosphere, pet friendly office, or company volunteer days. Serious or silly, make sure it aligns with the reputation you want to cultivate.
- Find brand advocates. Your strongest brand advocates are those who are already invested in your company’s success. Consider ways to involve employees in brand messaging as they are the most authentic storytellers for your company. Whether it’s through sponsoring a team in a local sports league or providing a bonus for referrals, make sure employees are helping spread the word about the company.
Finally, remember that your employer brand is constantly growing and evolving, and that managing it is an ongoing process. But with invested leaders, engaged employees, and a comprehensive strategy, cultivating your brand will become a natural part of your overall recruiting and retention practices.
About our guest blogger, Sydney Frazer:
As a Partnerships Manager at Glassdoor, Sydney works with hundreds of accounts across universities, libraries, and blogs, helping to provide them with content and tools to aid job seekers. Outside of work, Sydney enjoys running, hiking, and searching for the perfect burrito.