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Employer Branding: Meaning, Strategies and Examples

By: | May 13, 2022 28 min read

employer branding

The talent war rages on, and businesses worldwide face the struggle of staying ahead of the competition – be it in products, service delivery, or attracting top talent – regardless of location, market, or industry. 

But does it really matter to every organization? 

Some, like Netflix, Zappos, and Airbnb, seem to have cracked the code, consistently ranking at the top of every ideal workplace list. (and their employees seem to love it) 

Ever wondered what their secret might be? A good paycheck, a great work culture, career roadmaps, and many more factors come to mind. 

While you’re not entirely wrong, you’re not entirely correct either. It’s a combination of all these factors and a few more essential ones. 

The simple answer is they have the best Employer Branding. 

What is the meaning of employer branding, how can it help organizations grow, does it impact employees, and what are some unique employer branding ideas? 

If you’re plagued by these questions, give this blog a quick read to find all the answers. 

What is the meaning of Employer Branding? 

Employer branding means creating a favorable reputation of an organization as an employer, that influences the perception of existing and potential employees. 

Brief History of the Etymology of the Term 

A coin termed by Barrow in 1990, employer branding meaning has undergone several changes over the past decade. With various authors attributing different definitions to this term, one thing stayed constant: its impact on an organization’s strategies and its internal customers (i.e., employees).  

75% job seekers still consider employer brand before applying, while 59% of recruiting leaders have increased their investment in employer branding strategies over the past few years. 

Definition of Employer Branding 

A two-way deal between an organization and its people, the reason they choose to join and the reason they choose and are permitted to stay. The art of employer branding is to articulate this deal in a way that is distinctive, compelling and relevant to the individual and to ensure that it is delivered throughout the lifecycle of the employee within that organization.

Rosethorne (2009)

Employer branding is an aggregate of a company’s effort to acquaint to present and future prospective staffs that it is an adorable place to work for

Lloyd (2002)

Now that the definition of employer branding is clear in your mind, let’s understand the components that build an organization’s employer brand. 

Key components in Employer Branding 

employer branding components

The four main pillars of successful employer branding are: 

  • Culture 
  • Employee opinions 
  • Candidate opinions and  
  • Corporate brand 

Let’s understand these components in detail: 

1. Culture

The culture of your company includes its values, vision, mission statement, operating structure, beliefs and habits. It affects the way employees interact with other employees, stakeholders, clients, and other external stakeholders. It also impacts the other essential processes of the organization, making it an important component of employer branding. 

2. Employee opinions 

The opinion of your internal customers, i.e., your employees, is crucial to building strong employer branding. Their opinions, perceptions, and views shape the way you are perceived in the public forum and help attract the right candidates while also helping in self-introspection and making improvements within the organization. 

3. Candidate opinions 

Employer branding is all about first impressions, making a smooth candidate experience an absolute necessity. A negative experience triggers online responses, which impact your branding and discourage potential candidates from applying. 

4. Corporate brand 

Your corporate strategy directly aligns with your employer brand. Consumers prefer associating with organizations that treat their employees fairly, and failing to do so severely impacts their reputation in the marketplace. 

Now that the meaning and core components of employer branding are clear let’s understand its importance in today’s corporate landscape. 

Importance of Employer Branding 

employer branding importance

In recent times, talent acquisition leaders consider employer branding a significant aspect of their talent strategies, with 55% of recruiting leaders worldwide investing their time and efforts in designing proactive employer brand strategies. 

The aspects where employer branding plays a crucial role are: 

  1. Attracting top talent 
  2. Influencing career decisions 
  3. Creating a lasting impression 
  4. Driving employee retention 
  5. Enhancing recruitment efforts 

Let’s delve deeper into these aspects: 

1. Attracting top talent 

A strong employer brand behaves like a powerful magnet, attracting top talent who is highly competent and aligned with the company’s culture. Candidates will choose your organization over other options if they consider it as one of the desirable workplaces. 

2. Influencing job considerations 

Millennials and Gen Z are looking for components beyond their compensation and benefits packages, making company culture, growth and career progression options important. Employer brand influences their decision-making process by highlighting the important factors, making your company the ideal pick. 

3. Creating a lasting impression 

An employer brand appeals to potential candidates’ perceptions and aspirations and creates a lasting impression in their minds. This leads to a larger pool of qualified candidates, reducing the average time and resources spent on closing a single open position. 

4. Driving employee retention 

Investing in an employer brand leads to long-term savings and a more stable workforce, as when employees are proud to be associated with your brand, they are more likely to stay longer. 

5. Enhancing recruitment efforts 

A positive employer brand streamlines recruitment efforts by attracting skilled candidates who align with your company culture, as your brand image influences them. 

Hence, employer branding is a strategic investment that significantly impacts employee retention and talent acquisition strategies. 

Moving on to the next section, where we will try to find the answer to an important question. 

Who is responsible for Employer Branding? 

This question needs to be answered correctly, as it heavily influences the framing and implementation of employer branding strategies. 

Many argue that HR bears the entire burden of framing the employer branding strategy. They are responsible for attracting the right talent, keeping employees engaged, and being the torch bearer of a positive work culture, thus, making HR the face of employer branding. 

But is it the entire picture? 

Well, the answer is a ‘No’. 

Because employer branding is not merely a strategy but a lifestyle, who better to promote it than the C-suite executives? 

Upper management should use their authority and power to communicate their ‘employee-first’ approach internally and across public platforms. Exhibit A: 

Does it end here? 

Well, no, there is another layer in this! 

When discussing employer branding, how can we forget the employees? 

Employees are the true ambassadors of your brand. Their satisfaction, engagement, commitment, and perception directly impact it. Encouraging employees to advocate your brand ideals amplifies your employer brand. 

In conclusion, a successful branding strategy can be created after accepting that it is a collective effort of every single individual in your organization, from HR professionals to managers, leaders, and employees. 

Employer Branding vs Company Branding 

Employer branding and company branding are two sides of the same coin. While they have the same intent, they target different audience segments. 

Here is a comprehensive table outlining the key differences between the two terms: 

Feature Company Branding Employer Branding 
Audience Potential customers and investors Potential and current employees 
Focus Offered products or services Work environment, culture, and employee experience 
Goals Increasing sales, brand awareness, and customer loyalty Attracting and retaining top talent, improving employee engagement, and reducing attrition 
Messaging Product or service benefits, competitive advantages, and brand personality Company culture, values, mission, work environment, employee value proposition, and development opportunities 
Channels Traditional channels, online platforms, and public relations Job boards, social recruiting channels, employer review sites, and campus recruiting channels 
Metrics Sales figures, brand awareness surveys, and customer satisfaction surveys Time to hire, employee engagement surveys, retention, and employer brand reputation 

How can Employer Branding help your company? 

The new generation workforce considers employer branding as one of the essential criteria for making their final career decisions. Astonishingly, 79% of job seekers consider a strong employer brand before applying for an open position. The key benefits of a strong employer brand are as follows: 

1. Handling dynamic challenges: 

Employer branding helps organizations handle dynamic challenges, specifically in recruiting and retaining employees effectively and sustaining their profitability and market reputation in the long run. 

2. Attracting and retaining the best employees: 

It acts as a compelling force in attracting and retaining the best employees, boosting their morale and productivity. 

3. Hiring culturally fit employees: 

It plays a crucial role in hiring culturally fit employees, as organizations often highlight their core values, objectives, goals, and processes, eliminating the misalignment of organizational and individual goals and values. 

4. Transparent communication tool: 

It acts as a transparent communication tool that promotes the organization’s core ideals, motivates employees, and enhances their productivity. 

5. Boosting employee retention and public image: 

It not only boosts employee retention but also enhances the public image of the brand, indirectly impacting monetary factors like sales, profit, etc., and non-monetary factors like goodwill and sustainability of the organization. 

A strong employer brand is essential to being the market leader in your industry. 

Did you know?

According to Employer Brand International (EBI), the most common ROI metrics to measure Employer Brand are:

  • Retention rate – 38% of employees ranked it as the top metric.
  • Quality of Hire – 29% of employees ranked it as the second key metric.
  • Cost of Hire – 27% of employees placed it in the third position.

Dangers of Ignoring Employer Branding 

Today, employers face greater challenges than ever in attracting the right mix of talent, especially as the economy allows to move from survival mode to the growth mode.

Jean Martin, Executive Director at CEB

Explaining this phenomenon further, while organizations are looking to diversify their customer base they are not hunting for employees with diverse skills, expertise, and perceptions.  

Organizations that don’t invest in employer branding are focusing on attracting diverse customers without attracting quality employees. This will harm their efforts in the long run as employees need to focus on new ways of marketing their brand and catering to both their internal and external audiences. 

Here are other key risks of not investing in building your employer brand: 

1. Losing the talent war: 

With an unfocused approach and the lack of a holistic strategy, you put your business at high risk by attracting inexperienced employees. An ideal employer branding strategy always focuses on creating an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) that attracts the best talent. 

What is an EVP?
EVP stands for Employee Value Proposition, which comprises all the benefits and rewards an employee receives in exchange for the skills, experience, and competencies they bring to the business table.

2. High employee turnover:  

A less effective employer brand leads to employees feeling a disconnect from their daily work and the organization. This results in them seeking alternative employment opportunities, increasing overall turnover rates, disrupting productivity, affecting team morale, and increasing recruitment costs.

3. Negative word-of-month:  

A strong employer brand not only impacts your existing employees but also influences the perception of your brand in the minds of potential employees. A weaker employer brand leads to negative word-of-mouth, damaging your brand reputation among candidates and customers. 

4. Compromises brand authenticity:  

Most organizations fail to understand that employer branding helps attract better candidates, leading to misaligned social media voices with their brand personality.  

In this raging talent war, having the talent to sail your boat is crucial. Employer branding helps harness your employees’ real power, granting you a competitive advantage in the war. 

How to Build an Employer Brand? 

Coming to answer one of the most important questions, while there is no defined strategy behind building an employer brand and organizations often adopt the strategy that suits their needs.  

Alicia A Garibaldi, in her book ‘Employer Branding for Dummies’ mentions the following process to develop a successful branding strategy: 

  1. Developing a strategy 
  2. Keenly observing the brand reputation 
  3. Aligning consumer and employer brands 
  4. Creating a compelling visual identity 
  5. Keeping the brand identity authentic 
  6. Cultivating a niche community 
  7. Embracing social media practices 
  8. Maximizing the use of ATS 
  9. Measuring the effectiveness 

1. Developing a strategy 

The first step in creating an efficient brand strategy is to identify the goals and objectives behind your employer branding strategy. It also needs a complete understanding of the organization’s mission, vision, and values. 

Feedback from new hires and senior employees provides insights into their perceptions and aspirations, helping in shaping an ideal brand identity.

2. Keenly observing the brand reputation 

To develop an authentic identity, you must be aware of your reputation in the market. Use tools like employee surveys, regular one-on-one, and exit interviews to understand it in depth. 

Glassdoor reviews and your NPS help you in gathering both internal and external feedback!

3. Aligning consumer and employer brands 

To build a strong and long-lasting employer branding strategy, consistency between employer and company brand is essential. People invest in companies that treat their employees well, and employees want to associate with companies that are well-known in the market. 

Create a candidate experience that’s like your customer experience, respond to all applications and send a small thank you note to all the candidates that applied. 

4. Creating a compelling visual identity 

Create a visual identity for your brand, as they help make longer emotional connections with your employees, both existing and potential. Give an authentic preview of your mission, values, and culture through your visual identity. 

Create a video featuring your employees, maybe a day in their lives or a funny skit!

5. Keeping the brand identity authentic 

While crafting your brand identity, it’s important to maintain its authenticity. So, show the clear differentiators that make your brand a superior choice, but also show the harsh realities of your workplace. Provide authentic job descriptions and company reviews; this helps gain employees’ trust and confidence.  

Make employees the strongest advocate of your brand authenticity by encouraging a transparent communication process.

6. Cultivating a niche community 

Many of your company’s senior positions require employees with specific skill sets, and hunting for the right talent requires a lot of time and effort. Employer branding can help in creating a candidate pool by attracting talent with the right set of expertise. 

Share job role-specific videos on your social platform, attracting the right candidates.

7. Embracing social media presence 

79% job seekers use social media to search for new job opportunities. Enhancing your company’s social media presence helps attract the right candidates, resulting in less time and lower costs for closing one open position. 

Before creating a social strategy, it’s important to know which mode your ideal candidates are using for looking for new job roles.

8. Maximizing the use of ATS 

Apply your employer branding strategies to an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). ATS streamline the entire hiring process by adding efficiency and automation. It also helps recruiters make data driven decisions with features like smooth interview experience, candidate scorecards, and smooth onboarding process. 

Choose an ATS that aligns with your brand identity, i.e., tailoring the website, colors, logos, and writing styles according to your needs!

9. Measuring the effectiveness 

Just strategizing and implementing effective employer branding is not enough; you need to measure the effectiveness of your strategy. The best way of doing this is by defining the key metrics before implementing the strategy. A few of the important metrics are cost-per-hire, time-to-hire, and candidate quality, choose the ones that align with your overall vision behind creating the employer branding strategy. 

Review visitors’ demographics to ensure that your employer branding attracts the right set of audience.

Employer branding is crucial for recruiting quality candidates, improving employee experience, reducing recruitment costs, and enhancing the company brand. While every organization has a tailored process for building its employer brand, the strategies mentioned here can guide you. 

15 Employer Branding Ideas to Ace the Challenge 

creating employer branding

As you already know, building a strong employer brand is not just about listing open positions; it’s about showcasing your company culture, values, and what makes your company a great place to work.  

While designing a strategy takes time and depends on your corporate policies, vision, and mission statements, here are a few creative employer branding ideas to aid you in your journey of building the best employer brand in the marketplace: 

1. Content is King: 

These ideas are centered around creating compelling content unique to your brand identity. 

  • Employee Spotlight Series: This series highlights the amazing work of your employees through featured interviews and employee testimonials. Make it a weekly or monthly series where they share their experiences, passions, and what excites them about your company. 
  • Virtual Office Tours: Invite potential employees, especially the selected candidates who are yet to accept your offer letters, on a virtual office tour by sharing videos showing your company culture and work environment.  
  • Day in the Life Series: Let potential candidates see what a typical day looks like for various job roles. You can either make it a video series or a written blog posts to be shared across your social platforms. 
  • Become an Industry Thought Leader: Establish your brand as a leader in the industry by publishing whitepapers, case studies, and industry reports. 

 2. Engage and Entertain 

These fun and creative ideas are centered around engaging the current and potential employees. 

  • Social Media Challenges: Host fun challenges like hackathons, that give the employees a chance to show their skills and creativity and spark engagement on social media. 
  • Behind-the-scenes: Share behind-the-scenes snippets of photoshoots, video shoots, and team-building activities to give the candidates a glimpse into the fun side of your work culture. 

3. Connect to the Community 

These ideas help you show the potential candidates that you value the environment, community, and most importantly your employees. 

  • Community Service Projects: Promote volunteering activities among employees to shed light on your commitment to social responsibility. 
  • Employee Recognition Programs: Publicly acknowledge and celebrate employee achievements, this promotes you as an ‘employee-first’ brand. 

4. Transparent Communication 

These ideas help promote your brand’s social media presence, making it easy to discover and popular among the new generation employees. 

  • Active Social Media Presence: Respond to comments and questions and be active on your social media platforms, as it humanizes your brand and creates a chance for open discussions. 
  • Virtual Events: Host webinars or workshops related to your industry, establishing your expertise in the industry and allowing people to interact with your team openly. 

5. Celebrate your Uniqueness 

Go beyond the traditional ideas to open conversations around the unique identity of your employer brand. 

  • Think Outside the Box: Go beyond the traditional job descriptions and create lighthearted videos celebrating your company culture and office challenges. 
  • Interactive hiring aids: Use quizzes and personality assessments to help potential candidates discover their ideal role in your organization. 
  • Highlight the added Perks and Benefits: Showcase the unique benefits and offers your company offers, such as career development programs, wellness initiatives, remote work options, and flexible work culture. 

6. Building Lasting Relationships 

These ideas help you create relationships beyond the professional tenure of your employees. 

  • Social Media Alumni Section: Connect with your past employees and celebrate their success, showing your commitment to employee growth.

Bonus Idea:

Partner with influencers who align with your company values to create content and reach a wider audience base!

Wrapping It Up 

In today’s competitive talent market, a strong employer brand is no longer an option but an absolute necessity. A creative employer branding strategy helps attract top talent, boost employee engagement, and build a positive company culture.  

Your employer brand is a continuous conversation and not a stagnant policy, so keep your content fresh, authentic, and engaging to build an ideal workplace. That’s where Keka HR joins the conversation! By streamlining administrative tasks, Keka frees up the valuable time of HR professionals, letting them focus on strategic initiatives like employer branding and building a positive culture. 

Ready to elevate your employer branding game? Try Keka and witness the difference! 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

1. What is employer branding? 

Employer branding is defined as creating and sustaining a favorable reputation for a company as an employer, influencing the way current and potential employees perceive the organization. 

2. Why is employer branding important? 

Employer branding helps attract top talent, improve employee retention, enhance company reputation, and nurture a positive work environment, ultimately increasing productivity and business success. 

3. How can an organization build a strong employer brand? 

An organization can build a strong employer brand by creating a positive work culture, offering competitive benefits, providing growth opportunities, and communicating the brand’s values and mission. 

4. What are the common challenges in maintaining a positive employer brand? 

  • The common challenges to sustaining a positive employer brand are: 
  • Negative reviews 
  • Poor candidate experience 
  • Lack of employee engagement 

5. How can smaller businesses establish a compelling employer brand? 

Smaller businesses can establish a compelling employer brand by defining their unique culture, highlighting employee engagement initiatives, and authentically engaging with their community. 

6. In what ways does employer branding impact employee retention? 

Employer branding influences how employees perceive your brand’s values and culture, impacting engagement, loyalty, and willingness to stay in the long run. 

7. How can organizations measure the success of their employer branding efforts? 

Organizations use metrics like employee retention rates and quality of hire through employee engagement surveys, company ratings and online reviews. 

8. How can organizations adapt their employer branding strategies to evolving workforce trends? 

Organizations can adapt their employer branding strategies by focusing on flexible work options, DEI initiatives, personalized employee experience, and showing a commitment to social responsibility and sustainability. 

Table of Contents

    Meet the author

    Anwesha Panja

    Content Writer

    Anwesha Panja is a Content Writer at Keka Technologies. She has a passion for crafting captivating pieces around the latest HR trends. With a love for mysterious and spine-tingling things, she spends her free time exploring haunted locations. She is also a bookworm and an avid Sherlock fan.

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