Talking About Employer Brand

Whenever I attend an in-house recruitment conference, and attendees break out to discuss their big challenges, the two issues most consistently raised are pipelining and brand. Cost of hire and quality also feature along with volume of irrelevant applications and the need for better internal mobility.

Inevitably it’s the employer brand that links all of these, yet the very concept still seems diverse and difficult to nail down. Many have an opinion on what it includes and how to showcase it, but the whole area of marketing to engage, attract and retain still remains a challenge for many recruiters

Over the last couple of years I’ve seen presentations on, and judged HR and recruitment awards for, employer branding and it would be easy to conclude that it’s a fairly amorphous topic that means anything from a new logo or learning programme for some to reputation and rewards for others.

Of course its all of those things and much more, but the challenge of defining and illustrating the experience of working for a business, the compelling reason why someone would want to join, nailing what someone says about you when they’re not with you, to promote what is effectively your reputation as an employer, is elusive to many. Yet the benefits of getting it right – reduced recruitment costs, fewer hiring mismatches, greater awareness, stronger pipeline, communities, better quality and retention, differentiation, alignment with consumer brand to name a few – are great.

And the window on your employment experience is already wide open. This graphic (from research on employee activism earlier in the year) illustrates that employees are already shining a light on their day to day work experience through social channels, even before they decide to log in to Glassdoor.

And it isn’t just your people. The second most popular job search activity on social media is researching potential employers, with 47% also checking out what other people say about the company.

I’m always interested in finding out how businesses from different sectors manage to achieve this successfully and overcome barriers, whether its buy in from the C-suite, measurement or creating long term growth, so I’m looking forward to this Friday’s Employer Brand Management Conference at which a range of businesses – including Sky, Deloitte, RAF, First, Shell, TfL, ebay, Carphone Warehouse – will share insights, learnings and benefits. I’ll be aiming to tweet the best ones.

The conference is run by Transform Magazine and there are still a few places left – readers of TRecs can get a 15% discount by using the code EBM_15 when booking here.

Should be an interesting event. With job seekers searching out what people say about working at a company, and existing employees/alumni offering their help, possibly inadvertently, its not surprising that employer brand remains a priority for recruiters.