Prospective candidates have access to more information about companies and open roles than ever before, putting pressure on an organisation's employer brand as an increasingly important tool for attracting high-quality candidates. But what happens when a company is better at building an employer brand than it is at describing the real-life employee experience?
As it turns out, some organisations misinterpret the goal of building an employer brand as an invitation to build a sales package of the employer brand - one that highlights all of the good things about the company and glosses over anything that might put off a prospective employee.
While this approach can be good for recruiting numbers in general - 69% of active job seekers are likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand and organisations that prioritise employer brand are 250% more likely to rate their overall talent acquisition efforts as "highly effective" - it can have the opposite effect on employee morale once a candidate is hired. An employer brand that doesn't match the employee experience can end up doing more harm than good.
The Positive Impact of an Employer Brand
The purpose of an employer brand is to inspire and encourage the best candidates to apply for your open roles. It allows candidates to inform and qualify themselves before the interview process even begins so that when you invite a candidate in for an interview they already have a fairly good idea that they want to work for your company - they just need more details about the role.
A strong employer brand includes some or all of the following:
- A detailed Glassdoor employer profile with employee reviews
- An overview of the organisation's history, mission and values
- Pictures and videos of team members in the office if you have an onsite location
- An office tour or video interviews of a day-in-the-life within your organisation
- Examples of employees who have risen up in the ranks of the company to show what your company values in employees long-term
- Any information that gives candidates a sense of what kind of employee thrives within the organisation or a given role
A strong employer brand also relies on the input and voice of existing employees. Without that feedback loop in place, you run the risk of creating an idealised employer brand that does not reflect what actually happens once an employee signs their offer letter and emerges from the onboarding process.
[Keep reading: Employer Branding Strategy in 2021: 7 Best Practices]
Avoiding the Negative Impact of Employer Brand When It Doesn't Align With Employee Experience
When your employer brand aligns with employee experience, everyone wins. As an organisation, you minimise the risk that a new employee will be dissatisfied and leave the organisation too soon. And employees that accept roles within your organisation will be satisfied that they received what they signed up for.
But when you create an employer brand that does not align with the authentic employee experience, you set employees up to be dissatisfied with the reality of the job or disconnected from the company's mission. This could result in higher levels of attrition and lower levels of employee engagement, both of which affect long-term productivity and profitability within your organisation.
What can you do to ensure your employer brand is accurate? First, make sure the employee feedback loop is in place by adding a question about the employer brand to regular pulse surveys or company-wide meetings. Next, review your employer branding materials to ensure you're sending a clear message about the interests, goals, habits and qualities of people who are likely to succeed within your workplace:
For example, does your organisation value tradition, systems and processes? That's the kind of company-wide trait that could be successfully communicated through your employer brand so that employees won't be disappointed when their natural inclination to think of new and exciting ways to solve problems aren't embraced on the job.
Alternatively, if your company is mission-focused on a sustainability issue, that might be a very important way employees bond with each other at work. Communicating that factor through your employer branding will help you attract sustainability-minded candidates who will thrive within the organisation rather than candidates who might have the qualifications but lack the passion that will allow them to activate all of their potential.
[Keep reading: Amplifying Employee Stories to Your Glassdoor Company Profile]
When it comes to employer brand, think long-term
A disconnect between your employer brand and your employee experience might not seem like a big problem at first, especially if you're focused on today's recruiting and hiring metrics. But over time, this can turn what should be your greatest asset - your employer brand - into a source of frustration, disengagement, and turnover among your employees.
Organisations that want their employer brand to be an asset are taking the long-term view. They're taking careful note of what makes their organisation unique and sharing that information freely on the company website and throughout the interview process. They're regularly checking in with leadership and employees to make sure the brand presented to the world is accurate and, if it's not, taking steps to either improve the employee experience, or update the employer brand accordingly.
To get involved in the conversation on Glassdoor and start managing and promoting your employer brand reputation, unlock your Free Employer Profile today.