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Make Your Employer Brand Succeed in the Talent Market

Employer branding is becoming increasingly essential in C-suite discussions, but it is still a relatively new concept. Several years ago, business leaders might have used pinball machines in the office game room or catered lunches to demonstrate employer branding. In 2022, most people realize that such perks do not constitute a comprehensive employee retention strategy or play any meaningful role in the battle for top talent.

This shift in thinking has undoubtedly been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has put enormous pressure on leaders to not only communicate but also demonstrate their values. Employers were forced to decide whether their professed ideals and "north stars" were genuine and substantive or merely lip service in the face of difficult decisions. They became more aware of the significance of organizational purpose, team cohesion, and employee experience.

These characteristics are more important than ever for candidates considering career moves amid the Great Resignation. As a result, they are at the top of executives' minds when it comes to differentiating themselves from competitors fishing in the same shrinking talent pool. They are also, not by chance, elements of employer branding.

Even though a convergence of trends is raising awareness of and demand for employer branding, many leaders are still unsure what it entails. There are numerous misconceptions. Some people believe that creating an authentic employer brand is impossible because reality rarely matches the lofty vision statements on office walls or company websites. Others believe it only applies to in-office environments because remote and hybrid work models are too amorphous to anchor a company's identity. Others argue that employer branding sums up in a single word ("integrity") or a generic mission statement (such as "we want to be the best").

So, who is correct? What factors contribute to an employer's brand?

Here are the three main components of an employer brand and strategies for developing each one.

1. Reputation

Word spreads quickly in the age of social media, and perception is everything. Modern job seekers place a high value on a prospective employer's reputation when deciding whether to apply for a job or accept an offer because they are acutely aware of the impact it will have on their reputation and how others perceive them.

In terms of talent acquisition and retention, reputation can be measured using "the three Cs." The first C, career catalyst, alluded to one of the first questions job seekers ask when learning about a company: Will working here advance my career? Top talent gravitates toward companies that provide opportunities for ongoing development both inside and outside the office. The second C, culture, is a direct result of who you hire and retain; it is a work environment that appeals to a specific type of person rather than to everyone. Finally, there is citizenship, which includes one's impact on the community and society as a whole.

2. Proposition

Your employer value proposition (EVP) articulates the "give and take" that characterizes the employer-employee relationship at a specific organization. It establishes your performance and behavior expectations, as well as the rewards for meeting them, which may include financial compensation, professional development opportunities, work/life balance, a sense of belonging or a sense of purpose, or anything else that employees stand to gain in your organization.

This give-and-take validates your market reputation. To ensure that your value proposition is fair, the benefits you offer should be commensurate with the expectations you set for employees and should be aligned with the employer brand you want to build and your strategic objectives. Perhaps most importantly, you must be truthful about the transaction and keep your end of the bargain. If the demands placed on employees are greater than they were led to believe, or if you fail to provide the benefits you promised, you will not only lose employees, but you may also suffer long-term damage to your employer brand.

3. Experience

Employee experience is extremely valuable and plays a significant role in establishing and maintaining your reputation as an employer. Top talent may be willing to overlook a tedious experience if the reputation is strong enough. However, if your employer brand is weak, even the best employee experience will not put you on the radar of the majority of in-demand job seekers.

The employee experience is directly related to your ability to deliver on your EVP. When employees understand and meet employer expectations and are appropriately rewarded, they are more likely to view their experience working for your organization as positive. A positive employee experience leads to improved performance for both the employee and the organization as a whole.

Contact us to help you hire the best talent in town and build a good employer brand.

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