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Your Employer Brand Attract and Retain Top Talent?

Does Your Employer Brand Attract and Retain Top Talent?

Business leaders have long focused on building brand awareness to attract customers. Companies jostle for recognition of their products and services and do what they can to stand out in a crowded marketplace. They create attention-grabbing logos, taglines, and other marketing tactics to make consumers gravitate to them before considering other options.

Consumer brand recognition and appeal are vital for businesses to succeed. However, companies should also cultivate another type of reputation that is equally important: a favorable employer brand. This image determines how their staff, former employees, and job seekers view their organization.

The Employer Brand Carries Weight

The concept of the employer brand became popular in the 1990s when companies began to apply product branding practices to the employee experience to bolster recruitment. In today’s tight labor market, more business leaders are polishing and promoting their reputation in the eyes of current and future employees. They even compete to be included in “Best Places to Work” lists.

These leaders are on the right track. Statistics show prospective employees are more likely to strongly consider companies with attractive employer brands. Glassdoor reports:

    • 86 percent of employees and job seekers research company reviews and ratings to decide where to apply for a job.
    • 75 percent of active job seekers are likely to apply for a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand.
    • 68 percent of Millennials and 54 percent of Gen-Xers indicated they visit an employer's social media properties to evaluate the employer's brand.
    • 50 percent of candidates say they wouldn't work for a company with a bad reputation, even for a pay increase.
    • 92 percent of people would consider changing jobs if offered a role with a company with an excellent corporate reputation.

This data indicates the extent to which prospective employees scrutinize a company’s reputation before they apply for a job. Companies with a positive employer brand clearly have a market advantage. And companies that don’t try to hone their employee-facing image won’t draw top talent.

Another benefit of building an employer brand is that it saves companies money. LinkedIn reports:

“An attractive employer brand can help improve metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) like time to fill, cost per hire, and employee retention, saving your organization $5,000 per employee.”

The Components of an Employer Brand

Although most leaders understand the need for a strong employer brand, many aren’t clear about how to build one. Bryan Adams, CEO and founder of Ph.Creative, writes in Harvard Business Review that their confusion is understandable due to many common misconceptions on the topic, including:

    • Companies can’t create an authentic employer brand because reality never reflects their ambitious vision statements.
    • Employer brands only apply to an in-office environment because remote work models are too amorphous to anchor a company identity.
    • Employer branding can be encapsulated in a generic mission statement.

Adams discounts these views and boils the essence of an employer brand to three primary elements: reputation, proposition, and experience.


As the above statistics show, a company’s reputation as a place to work is a priority for today’s job seekers. Adams explains that people largely base their evaluation of an employer on opportunities for professional growth, organizational culture, and the company’s impact on the community and society. He points out that each candidate will value these elements differently.

As they are working to build their employer brand, Adams advises leaders to “identify the types of employees they need to execute their business strategy and study their motivations and incentives as they would a customer’s.”


A company’s employer value proposition (EVP) describes what employers and employees get from each other. It lays out what each party stands to gain in the relationship.

Adams tells leaders: “This ‘give-and-get’ validates your reputation in the marketplace. The benefits you offer should be commensurate with the expectations you set for employees to ensure that your EVP is fair.”

Failure to be transparent and honest about the exchange will lead to attrition and a damaged employer brand.


The employee experience has a significant impact on a company’s employer brand. According to Adams, the quality of the employee experience depends on how effectively an organization delivers its EVP. Employees who understand, agree to, and meet their company’s expectations and are rewarded commensurately will likely have a positive outlook about their experience.

Adams observes:

“Ultimately, you can’t buy the PR equivalent of a vocal employee alumni network that enthusiastically endorses you as an employer. Much as satisfied customers often make the best salespeople, satisfied current and former employees can be an invaluable source of candidate referrals, strengthening your ability to attract top talent.”

An organization’s culture is equally important to the employee experience as the EVP. The behavioral norms that define company culture create the workplace environment. These behaviors form a more personal barometer than the EVP’s “give-and-get” ratio because employees are subject to them daily. A supportive, inclusive, motivating culture translates to a positive employer brand.

How to Build and Polish an Employer Brand

In an article for Forbes, IQTalent president David Windley suggests a step-by-step branding strategy to cement a favorable reputation among future and current employees.

  1. Create Your Own Narrative

Windley warns leaders that if they don’t forge their company’s employer brand, others will. And he notes that the people with the loudest voices are usually the most disgruntled. He advises:

“Make a conscious decision about what you want the corporate culture of your organization to be and take action to ensure that culture becomes your genuine employment narrative.”

After establishing a healthy culture, companies should proudly highlight it everywhere job seekers may be looking, including the website, social media, and job postings.

    2. Recruitment Marketing

Windley explains that the process of attracting and landing top talent is like the standard marketing funnel. Candidates must be aware of a company’s employer brand, gain interest, and decide to apply for a job or respond to a recruiter. The “sale” is when they accept a job offer.

With this parallel in mind, Windley suggests, “Build a regular posting cadence that emphasizes employees, diversity, awards, social events, and culture and regularly engage with comments from users on these posts.”

A great candidate experience is vital for building a talent pipeline, converting job-seeking talent into recruits, and establishing a positive employer brand.

    3. Audit Your Employer Brand

After crafting their employer brand, leaders should review it through the eyes of jobseekers. Windley advises them to:

    • Ensure that job descriptions reflect the employer brand.
    • Ensure that the mission and vision on the company website align with the brand.
    • Build a company profile on Glassdoor, regularly check it for reviews, and respond with empathy and authenticity.
    • Set up Google alerts for the company name and its leaders and address any unflattering results.
    • Evaluate the company’s social media posts to make sure they are in sync with the employer brand.

Companies should use consistent messaging across all platforms to strengthen their employer brand.

    4. Ask Employees

The best way for leaders to learn if their employer brand reflects what they intended it to be is to get their staff’s opinions. Employee surveys are an effective tool to gather this insight. Instead of asking people in person and putting them on the spot, surveys give employees a way to give open and honest feedback anonymously.

Windley tells leaders not to just go through the motions of conducting surveys. They should review the results carefully and address areas of concern. He also mentions that top workplace awards come with employee surveys, and winning one of these distinctions is a big enhancement to the employer brand.

With the understanding that exceptional company culture is at the core of a strong employer brand, building a reputation as a great workplace gives companies another advantage beyond being a beacon to top talent. It can help organizations attract people who will be the best fit for the organization. As Bryan Adams commented:

“You can use your employer brand as a smart filter to compel people who are well suited to your organization to apply, and at the same time encourage people unsuited to your culture to stay away. ‘Repel the many and compel the few.’”

Hiring for a culture fit is an effective way for organizations to bolster the employer brand.

Top job candidates have options and form opinions about companies largely based on their employer brand. It’s vital that leaders do not underestimate its value and impact on recruitment, retention, and cost per hire. Since an engaged, high-performing workforce is an organization’s chief asset, prioritizing the employer brand is essential to achieving overall success.