What's an employer brand, and how can you improve it with training opportunities?
This is a guest post from Fabrik Brands
Information is everywhere.
We're living in a world where 3.2 billion people have access to the internet, either through their computer, smartphone, or tablet. That means that half of the world's population can answer their questions with Google, share pictures of the cats over social media, and research your company before they apply for a job.
The fact that we all have more access to knowledge than ever before means that today's companies to rethink their branding strategy. You need a brand that connects with your target audience and shows potential customers what you stand for, and you need an employer brand that attracts new talent to your team.
Don't believe that branding is important?
Studies show that job-seekers are more likely to submit their resume to employers with positive reviews online.
According to iCIMS, 86% of HR professionals say that recruitment is becoming more like marketing. An employer brand is how you "sell" your position to the top-tier talent that could make or break your company.
So, how do you create that brand using training and development opportunities?
A brand isn't a logo; It's a "pattern"
The first thing you need to know is that your employer brand isn't a logo or tagline - it's a pattern of perception.
For instance, think of a standard consumer brand that you know well, like Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola probably has one of the most recognisable brands in the world, not just because of it's compelling logo, but also thanks to its use of:
- Brand colours.
- Happy, joyful messaging.
- Marketing campaigns.
- Values and visions.
Throughout every touchpoint Coca-Cola has with its customers, it uses the same consistent features to create a pattern. That pattern convinces clients to feel a certain way about the company. For instance, Coca-Cola is often seen as a fun, youthful and engaging company.
Your employer brand will use patterns, in the same way, to convey an idea of your company through every interaction you have with potential candidates. That means that you'll need to give your future employees the same impression of your brand through your website, interactions with your existing staff, your job descriptions, and even your social media pages. Today's job seekers rank professional and social networks as the most useful resource in their search - even more important than career boards and job descriptions.
The more you show your candidates that you're invested in your employees, by giving them great onboarding, unique opportunities, and immersive training experiences, the better your brand becomes.
Your employer brand already exists
The good, or bad news (depending on how you look at it), is that you already have an employer brand.
For as long as your company has been in business, it's been sending out repeated messages and experiences that define you as a "boss." For instance, your current brand may be represented by:
- The experience your candidates have during interviews.
- The job descriptions you write.
- The message you leave on career forum boards.
- The insights available on Glassdoor and other review sites.
- The things you say on social media (and the things your employees say).
Every company has an employer brand. The only variable is whether you control it, or not.
Leave your employer brand to grow by itself, and you can't guarantee that you're going to have the right impact on candidates when the time comes to expanding your team. However, take an active approach to your brand, and you start to develop a company that naturally attracts the best talent.
Of course, you can't change your entire identity overnight, at least, not without a lot of help.
So, where should you start altering your employer brand?
Training and employee development could be the answer.
How employee training transforms an employer brand
If you only invest in one thing to optimise your employer brand, it should be employee training and development.
Why? There are a few reasons.
First of all, the workforce of both today and tomorrow is overrun by millennials. In fact, millennials are set to make up 75% of the workforce by 2025. This group of people expects to be in a job where they're provided with constant opportunities to learn and develop their skills. In fact, a study by Gallup found that over half of millennial respondents think learning opportunities are critical in convincing them to apply for a job.
Training and development opportunities don't just make your current staff more productive, efficient, and creative in their work - they also pave the way for new people to join your team too. By showing your candidates that you're not just offering them a paycheck, you're giving them a chance to pursue a real career.
Training leads to employee referrals
Aside from making your business and job descriptions more appealing, training and development options also enhance your employer brand in another way - through employee advocacy and referrals.
When you offer your employees training opportunities, you delight and engage them. According to CIO, giving staff a chance to further their education helps them to feel valued and invested in your company. This means that your team spends less of their time searching for alternative jobs, and more time helping your company grow.
Since most of the workforce is currently disengaged, we all need to work a little harder to help our employees feel more connected to their companies. Just as great experiences with your corporate brand build the links between your customers and your business, training with an employer brand can start to develop the same connections for your employees.
The more you invest in your staff, the more they'll invest in your company as a return. After all, if your people love working with you, then they'll be the first to recommend your company to other skilled candidates looking for work. This means you start to tap into referral employees that:
- Are easier to retain (46% stay with a company for longer than a year, compared to 22% of candidates from job boards).
- Offer better performance (46% of the top hires at the best firms are referrals).
- Take less time to find (It takes 29 days to source a referral hire, compared to 45 days for a candidate coming from a job site).
Build your employer brand on an appetite for learning
Today's employees want so much more from their employer than just another paycheck. They want opportunities to learn, grow and explore their skills. The companies that can build an employer brand around this appetite for growth will be the ones that stay ahead of the game in talent acquisition. Changing your employer brand with training and development strategies is simple. All you need to do is:
- Audit your current reputation: Explore the internet in the shoes of a potential candidate and see what kind of image you find for your business. Are you coming across as a company dedicated to the development of their employees, or a brand that merely puts profits first? You can also ask for feedback from your employees here in the form of reviews and survey answers.
- Find out what kind of training your team is looking for: Issue a questionnaire to find out what type of development matters most to your staff. The more you know about the sort of education they need, the easier it will be to find development opportunities that appeal to both existing employees, and future candidates.
- Share your success stories: Once you complete training sessions, remember to promote the experience online! Share case studies that demonstrate how much your staff members grew thanks to their training. Ask your employees to comment on their experiences as part of an employee advocacy program. You can even host online interviews on a podcast, or Facebook Live session with an employee who just got a new qualification.
Employee development and the employer brand: The perfect mix
A commitment to employee development is one of the easiest ways to enhance your employer brand and start attracting new talent to your team.
As you start to promote your hard work on social media, websites, and forums, future employees will begin to see you as a company that puts the growth and success of their team members first. That instantly makes your business more attractive to the modern era of job seekers searching for their next chance to grow.
At the same time, employee development is also one of the employer brand strategies with the highest ROI (Return on Investment). After all, you not only get a better image for your company out of the deal, you also get:
- Referrals from happy brand advocates ready to send new talent your way.
- More productive and engaged employees that go above and beyond for your business.
- Better employee retention - when people can see a path to the future in your company, they stick with you for longer.
- Improved performance in projects. All the new skills your employees learn will pay off in their quality of work too.
Providing enriching training to your employees strengthens your brand, empowers your existing staff, and helps you to attract the best talent in the future too. What are you waiting for?