This year, companies that stand out to candidates are those that put as much time and energy into their employer brand as their consumer brand. And their efforts are worthwhile. It’s not about amplifying reach and increasing candidate volume; instead, companies are honing their employer brands to attract the right candidates. It’s about hiring quality employees.
Remember, employer branding is no longer optional. Your company is making an impression on potential candidates – whether you’re controlling it or not. Wouldn’t you rather have a say in the matter?
Read on to learn about the top four trends for employer branding this year and how you can leverage them as part of your talent acquisition strategy:
Technology has an impact
It always does. But there are so many emerging platforms this year that you’ll see being trialed in the talent acquisition space, especially for employer branding purposes. With voice-activated speakers being adopted quicker than smartphones, taking the opportunity to create a voice app will boost your brand recognition. Virtual reality will come into play through providing a day in the life of an employee. It takes the guesswork out of what the new potential job experience and company culture will be like. Jet.com allows candidates to partake in the company happy hours and virtual meetings with the CEO to get a feel for the company. Talent software [such as talent acquisition systems (TAS) and talent relationship management (TRM) systems] is becoming more robust and delivers a full-cycle approach that includes employer branding functions, like recruitment marketing and onboarding exercises. Look at all your technology options to determine which will be best for your company to invest in and give a try.
Employees will drive it
This goes back to the fact that you have a brand no matter if you decide to manage it or not. So, by embracing the idea that your employees have a say in how your brand is perceived, your company will be seen as authentic. Unique hashtags, like #WeAreCisco and #ZapposCulture, inspire employees to post their employee experiences to social media. This builds a grassroots approach to recruitment by encouraging referrals. Additionally, people are more likely to buy into people than a company. So, potential candidates want to hear from (and are seeking out) current and previous employees to get an idea of the experience they can expect working for a prospective company. They’re looking for genuineness, not canned marketing speak. Candidates are interested in learning more about their potential coworkers, which is why IDFC Bank started a hashtag #ExtraOrdinaryPeople that showcases employees’ passions beyond what they do in their career.
Intangible benefits go further
The nap pods, in-office yoga and breakroom ping pong tables are still great perks, but employees are looking for more than just comfort and fun in their jobs. Benefits such as personal development, ongoing educational opportunities and a community focus go a long way with candidates – especially the younger cohort. Personal development means something different to everyone. So, the key here is to have one-on-one conversations with employees to determine what meaningful personal growth looks like to them. A program that’s flexible for employees but still encourages innovation for the company, for example, is LinkedIn’s [in]cubator program. It allows employees to pitch their pet project ideas to executive staff with the chance to work with a team for up to three months to further build out their project. Other companies allow 10 to 20 percent of employees’ time to be spent on passion projects. If you decide something like this will work for your company, just set parameters so the mission stays focused. In terms of social impact, a Cone Communications survey reports that 88 percent of millennials say their job is more fulfilling when they are provided opportunities to make a positive impact on social and environmental issues, and 75 percent say they would take a pay cut to work for a responsible company. By offering volunteer days or fundraising opportunities, you’ll increase employee engagement.
Data (and artificial intelligence) provides insight
Big data, small data – and everything in between – can be used to inform decisions regarding employer branding efforts. Just as most aspects of talent management, analyzing the data you collect will make you more efficient and effective. It allows you to focus time and money where it makes the most impact and segment it based on your talent needs. While we’ve been aware of the importance of data for a long time, this is the year to become data-driven. Coupled with growing capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI) and use cases in recruitment, you’ll be able to improve the candidate experience and free up recruiters to focus on high-touch matters. One example of how data and AI will impact employer branding is through the use of chatbots. These virtual assistants can collect and collate candidate information and resumes, as well as provide personalized responses to candidate questions. It will provide a more positive candidate experience journey because jobseekers will get immediate responses to their inquiries 24-7 and recruiters will have the time to deliver highly personalized service later in the process.
There’s no doubt you’ll see these four trends – among others – come to fruition this year. By focusing employer branding efforts on increasing the quality of candidates rather than the volume, your recruitment function will run more efficiently and your hires will make more of an impact (more quickly) for your organization.