If you were in sunny San Diego at the end of May for the Employer Branding Strategies Conference, or EBrandCon as we all call it, then you were probably just as pumped as we were to be part of such an outstanding event. EBrandCon offered an incredible line-up of speakers and thought-provoking presentations that reinforced the importance of investing in and building a strong employer brand. The conference also made clear that this is a really exciting time to be in employer branding and recruitment marketing. And we couldn’t agree more.
If you couldn’t make it to California, we’ve identified five of the biggest takeaways that you should know and put into action for your own employer brand:
1) Employer Brand Marketing is Rapidly Maturing
With the evolution of employer branding over the last decade, it’s no secret that the way organizations actively market their employer brands has rapidly matured as well. According to a conference presentation from RedBranch Media, your employer brand influences 91% of people you’re looking to hire. 69% of Americans wouldn’t take a job with a company they thought had a bad reputation. That means you must actively manage and showcase your employer brand in a way that attracts candidates and makes it clear what it’s like to work at your company.
And it also means you have to be smart and savvy in how you market your organizational culture. Another presentation at EBrandCon showed how using media targeting, or ‘leveraging data to deliver the right media to the right person at the right moment’ can help you pinpoint and market your employer brand to candidates using a sophisticated data-driven approach. Whether it’s geo targeting from location or zip code, data targeting with industry, occupation or other identifiers, contextual targeting with keywords, or behavioral targeting using relevant likes, media targeting represents a rapid evolution in how you should market your employer brand. And leveraging the right recruitment marketing platform can help you effectively do this.
But showcasing your employer brand doesn’t just stop there. Remember, your employer brand represents the collective experience that candidates—both passive and active—have with your company. It’s an emotional connection of what it’s like to work for your organization. And it should be expressed consistently across a variety of channels. According to RedBranch Media, you should focus marketing your employer brand in three key areas—user experience, recruitment messaging and ROI. User experience includes your company website, company career site, job ads and application process. Recruitment messaging focuses on your career site and social media, recruiting channels and ads, job ads and descriptions, and job boards. And the ROI of employer brand marketing means taking a hard look at how your recruiting channels, recruiting advertisements, career fairs, job ads and descriptions, job boards and job postings deliver results and extend your employer brand effectively.
So what’s the lesson in all of this rapid change? It’s that you must examine and audit your own employer brand across channels, and consider how else you should be evolving in your own employer brand marketing. Remember, candidates expect the same experience with your employer brand as they do with your corporate brand, so don’t overlook the importance of how you should invest in showcasing your organizational culture and employee value proposition (EVP) across marketing channels.
2) Employer Branding Primarily Belongs to Talent Acquisition
By now, you’ve heard the phrase that modern recruitment is modern marketing. And nothing is truer. In fact, the Link Humans presentation at the conference cited a LinkedIn study that indicated ‘80% of talent leaders agree that employer brand has a significant impact on their ability to hire great talent.’ This indicates that talent acquisition leadership realizes the true power in leveraging an employer brand for candidate attraction. But too often, employer branding does not receive the attention or focus from corporate marketing departments that it should. And it is left to talent acquisition and HR professionals to strategize, invest and execute an employer brand that not only reflects what it’s like to work in an organization, but also serve as an attraction mechanism for candidates.
The good news is that at EBrandCon, we saw several excellent case studies of talent acquisition leading the way for employer branding initiatives and strategies. From Princeton University to Dell to Thermo Fisher Scientific, it was clear that employer branding at its heart stems from talent acquisition, and those individuals who live and breathe the employer brand every day—and use it as the primary lever for attracting more great talent to the organization. But do remember one important side note that was prevalent at the conference—the importance of partnering and involving corporate marketing within your organization where possible. Remember, your marketing colleagues can provide valuable resources you need to execute and operationalize your employer brand.
With the knowledge that employer branding really is a sub-function of talent acquisition also comes the ability to identify key entry points into your employer brand for candidates. For example, according to the Tenable presentation, citing a recent CareerBuilder study, 92.5% of candidates go directly to your job page first, while only 7.5% of candidates visit your career site home page first. In other words, job descriptions are a big part of your employer brand, but they are usually just a laundry list of responsibilities and job functions. This is a huge missed opportunity for talent acquisition to use job ads and descriptions to reflect the employer brand and attract great talent where they are looking first. So remember, when it comes to your employer brand, recognize that expressing the essence of your culture serves a real purpose in finding and connecting with great talent—and should be primarily owned by your talent acquisition function.
3) Employer Branding Should Include Persona-Based and Personalized Content Strategies
Move over standard EVPs. There’s a new content king in town. Yes, developing a sound employee value prop is still essential. And yes, strategic recruitment messaging still matters a great deal. But the next big thing is personalized content and persona-based marketing to candidates.
At EBrandCon, the theme of personalization and a deeper dive into audience and persona-based content strategy was front and center. The Tenable presentation examined how targeting candidate personas—similar to how corporate marketing targets key audience personas—should be a central part of your employer brand strategy. Understanding things like ‘candidate interests, likes, dislikes, interests, education levels, experience levels, past employers or location,’ can help you segment your candidate personas and really understand who you are messaging to.
Developing and delivering personalized content was also discussed frequently at the conference. According to one EBrandCon presenter, attracting top talent isn’t just about a good candidate experience anymore. You must start thinking about how to deliver personalized content—to ‘leverage branded moments instead of a functional-only focus.’ Think back to the job descriptions example. With personalized content, you can influence candidates while they are in their most critical moments of viewing your open positions. Provide a highly branded experience based on user behavior on your career site. (Spoiler alert: Talemetry will start offering this functionality in June 2018). So why does personalization matter so much? According to one presentation, 86% of consumers agree with personalization in buying decisions—and the same is true for candidates. 32% of candidates want jobs matched to their personalities and 60% want information on your company culture.
4) Employer Branding Requires Prioritization
One of the primary pain points we heard at the EBrand Conference was, ‘we are focusing on and developing world-class content to market to our talent, but we don't have the right tools to properly consolidate, measure or scale those efforts.’ If you’re like most organizations, you have a small team—maybe one to two people at most—dedicated to your employer brand. And your ability to scale your recruitment marketing efforts and build upon your employer brand is limited. You must prioritize your employer branding activities—and many of those priorities start by auditing, understanding and articulating your employer brand through content and creative.
But have you considered how your corporate marketing team deals with the challenge of delivering quality content and scaling their marketing efforts? If you ask any marketer, you’ll quickly learn they use automation platforms, like HubSpot, Marketo or Salesforce. Talemetry is that platform for recruitment marketing. With your great content and creative, coupled with our industry-leading platform, you can maximize your recruitment ROI and extend the impact of your employer brand to candidates throughout the entire recruitment process.
The Tenable presentation at EBrandCon reinforced the importance of adopting a platform to amplify your employer brand. Specifically, the pro tip shared was to ‘invest in a CRM/recruitment marketing platform’ that will manage your great content and recruitment messaging to better engage candidates across the recruitment process. By focusing on getting your core content and EVP into place, and then delivering the right content to the right candidate at the right time—with the right technology platform—you can drive results and deliver a quality candidate experience that amplifies your employer brand.
5) Employer Branding Efforts Can Be Stunted Without the Right Approach
Another captivating point on the interaction of brand and technology was made at EBrandCon. Specifically, one presentation indicated that ‘Brand is the emotion. Technology is the delivery point.’ This statement has major influence on how you approach the intersection of employer branding and recruitment marketing technology. Understanding that your employer brand is what attracts and appeals to candidates, but your technology is the delivery mechanism for getting your message to them, is essential in building undisputable recruitment ROI.
Remember, there is real business value in having a strong employer brand. According to EBrandCon, employer branding can increase your stock price by 36% and employers with strong employment brands see a 43% decrease in cost per hire. And according to the Link Humans presentation, ‘a bad reputation could cost an employer with 10,000 employees upwards of $7.6 million in additional wages,’ according to LinkedIn as well. But without the right recruitment marketing technology stack, a majority of organizations are severely limited in their ability to measure the impact of their hiring and recruitment efforts.
Tenable described a modern marketing approach in its conference presentation to depict how you should be measuring recruitment results at each stage of the candidate journey. The recruitment funnel is made up of four key stages—awareness, preference, apply and loyalty. At the top of the funnel in the awareness stage, you should be measuring overall brand awareness, social engagement, career site traffic and clicks. As candidates move to the middle of the funnel to preference and application, you should measure your number of candidates, time to apply, and source of candidates. In the loyalty phase at the bottom of the recruitment funnel, you should measure your number of hires, source of quality of hire, time to hire, cost per hire and drop-off rates.
If you have worked hard to build your employer brand with a compelling EVP and recruitment messaging, but lack the proper delivery mechanism from your technology, then you should seriously consider how you can prioritize your investment for the future to find the right recruitment marketing platform that supports all your recruitment channels and integrates with your existing systems. To get the most out of what you’ve put in, you need data-driven insight into your full talent acquisition strategy that also helps you scale recruitment marketing in a cost-effective way. That’s where recruitment marketing technology can have an immediate impact on amplifying the power of your employer brand to create lasting ROI.
Where Do You Go From Here?
These five big takeaways from EBrandCon have exciting applications for your organization in building a stronger, more impactful employer brand. But they can also seem overwhelming at first. If you are ready to take the next step and learn how you can gain an immediate, complementary impact from your employer brand, EVP and recruitment messaging, we would love to show you how the right technology can help you better attract, connect with and engage the right talent at the right time for your organization. Don’t overlook the rapid evolution that is taking place in employer branding. Ensure that you are at the forefront in investing in the right areas to impact the cultural brand that you’ve worked so hard to build. Your employer brand—and your business performance—will thank you.