Having a clear and appealing employer brand is an important part of attracting talented employees to work for your organization. If potential employees (and current employees, for that matter) think highly of your brand and consider your company a good place to work, it will make your HR team’s lives a lot easier. Your recruiting team will have an easier time filling new jobs and keeping current high-performing employees on board long-term. However, it’s easy to make missteps when it comes to your employer branding. Here are a few of the most common mistakes we’ve come across.
1. thinking you don’t need an employer brand
Unsurprisingly, this is the first mistake a lot of companies make when it comes to employer branding. Small companies or companies that have a steady flow of interested candidates that want to work for them often think ‘we’re doing fine now, why bother?’ In an increasingly competitive job market, this kind of thinking isn’t going to cut it. Today’s job market is more candidate-driven than ever. That means the best of the best candidates are being proactive and researching employers to decide who they want to work for and who they don’t. If your brand comes across as bland, behind-the-times or just non-existent, you can easily miss out on great candidates who could have been a great fit… if only they’d known how great your company actually is!
2. overpromising and under delivering
Some employers think piling on the perks is the key to a strong employer brand. And while, yes, a laundry list of perks can be attractive to new employees, you better follow through with any promises you make. Perks are only good if you deliver exactly what you say you will. If you promise a candidate an employee snack bar, but they show up to work and find a few boxes of stale cereal in the break room cabinets, they probably aren’t going to be too pleased. Sure, technically, what you said was true; there are snacks. But you oversold it, and that can lead to disappointment and a worse impression than if you said nothing at all.
3. playing it too safe
A boring employer brand is a forgotten employer brand. In today’s crowded job market, job seekers have more options than ever before, affording them the opportunity to be selective about the company they work for. It’s a candidate-driven market at the moment, and that means the onus is on you, as an employer, to show potential employees (and current ones!) why they should work for you when they have so many other options to choose from. Playing it safe and not standing out from the pack can have a detrimental effect on your hiring pipeline. Think outside the box and you’ll connect with great candidates who are superstars in their field, and hold on to the best employees already at your organization.
4. making your employer brand too rigid
Some employers treat their employer brand guidelines like they’re legally binding documents. Don’t be that employer that’s militant about your brand, handing down reprimands if some poor employee dares to step so much as a toe out of line. Mistakes happen and a little understanding goes a long way. An employer brand is a set of values and promises you make to employees and potential employees. Don’t police your employees like you’re waiting for them to mess up. Chances are building a little flexibility into your employer brand will make both you and employees happier.
5. underestimating the resources needed
If you think that a winning social media profile is all you need to build your employer brand, think again. Yes, sharing photos of all those great office events on Instagram is a start. But it’s just that: a start. Building a strong employer brand takes time, and yes, money. It also requires the buy-in of your entire staff and leadership team. So you may need to invest in some outreach and training to spread and reinforce the message.
6. thinking of employer branding as a one-time project
Your employer brand is a shifting, evolving thing that’s constantly being shaped depending on what’s happening in the world and your organization. You can’t think of your employer brand as a one-time project to be completed, done and forgotten about. That’s simply not how an employer brand works. Just like your consumer brand, your employer brand is here to stay, and that means consistently nurturing it and making adjustments to keep it healthy.
7. failing to shift course when it’s needed
Your employer brand will evolve as your organization, employees and the world do. What makes a great employer brand today may require some work tomorrow. Be open to change and listen to feedback from candidates and employees. If your employees indicate it’s time for change in your draconian work-from-home policy, take the time to listen. You don’t have to make every single change that’s suggested – but you do need to listen and make an informed decision about what’s right for your organization. Keep in mind what will make you competitive in today’s job marketplace. Employees often look for things like flexible work policies and use of the latest technology, which might not have been a huge concern just a handful of years ago.
8. not listening to employees
See the previous point. Your employees are the weathervane of your employer brand. They’re the ones on the ground-level, who make up the fabric of your company culture. They engage with clients and customers, doing all the day-to-day tasks that keep your business afloat. They know what makes your company a good employer and why they choose to stick around. If your employees identify areas of opportunity to improve your employee or candidate experience, you owe it to them to listen to what they have to say, because they’re probably seeing things that you won’t. Don’t dismiss claims just because they don’t apply to you personally. You owe it to anyone who has feedback to listen to their point of view, especially if it’s different than yours.
9. measuring success solely by numbers
Any branding expert will tell you that it’s difficult, if not impossible, to measure a brand’s success solely by quantifiable metrics. When it comes to a strong employer brand, there’s more than numbers involved. Sure, stats on employee retention rates and time-to-hire can be indicators of a strong employer brand, but there are other elements, such as employees’ emotional connection and shared values with your brand. Employees who are happy at work are more productive and more loyal, but employee’s contentedness is difficult to measure purely in numbers. Make sure you’re looking at your employer brand from all angles, not just a numbers perspective.
The good news is that mistakes are fixable, at least when it comes to your employer brand! If you’ve ever found your company falling victim to these employer branding mistakes, it’s not too late to change.