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It is no surprise to anyone working in resourcing or trying to recruit new employees that we are very much in a candidate-led marketplace.

With over 1.1M job adverts posted July-September, candidates are able to be extremely selective and apply only to those roles and companies that truly appeal. According to the CIPD’s latest Labour Market Outlook, 47% of employers report they have hard-to-fill vacancies, an increase from 39% in August. In response, organisations are having to take quick action to attract the best candidates. This includes raising pay, upskilling current employees, hiring more apprentices and graduates to fill gaps and improving the quality of work on offer. However, not every organisation can do this. And how sustainable is raising pay in the long-term?

With the ONS declaring skills shortages in 15 of its 18 sector categories, where employers can make a real difference is by providing a compelling reason for people to join their organisation. It’s led many firms to focus on developing robust employee value propositions (EVPs) and employer branding strategies that enable them to stand out from the competition and attract the best talent.

There are several misconceptions regarding employer branding. The first is that an organisation only has an employer brand if they acknowledge and invest in it. In reality, every organisation has one, whether they pay attention to it or not. The second is that it sits separately from the corporate brand when, in fact, the two are entwined. A solid corporate reputation can boost an organisation’s workplace appeal, while a poor corporate brand can repel potential employees.

While organisations that froze hiring efforts during the pandemic may believe their employer brand took a hit, their investments in workforce safety, virtualisation, business continuity and most critically, however they treated their employees, will not have gone unnoticed by current and prospective employees. Now, it’s time to build upon this and enter 2022 even stronger. Here, we look at some of the key elements of an effective employer brand and how it can be effectively communicated.

 

1. Develop clear and well-understood values

The CIPD’s Resourcing and Talent Planning Survey, delivered in partnership with Omni, revealed that employers across the public and private sector rank organisational values as the most important element of an employer brand, particularly when it comes to attracting candidates (50%).

Corporate values should directly reflect the experience of employees. Without a clear set of values, there’s a risk that employees and teams could work towards different goals with different intentions, resulting in misaligned outcomes.

With the pandemic giving rise to new digital processes and an increase in remote working, employers must revisit values to ensure they are still fit for purpose. For example, those with dispersed workforces are now more likely to prioritise collaboration to ensure productivity levels are maintained and that employees are supported. Implementing values that reflect the importance of communication will go a long way in instilling confidence in both current and future employees.

 

2. Tailor EVPs

An EVP should describe what an organisation stands for, and what it offers as an employer. Given that employees are not a homogenous group and will have different needs and aspirations, it makes sense to segment and tailor messaging to the needs of a diverse workforce. This means emphasising particular elements of an EVP to specific groups.

For example, which values will resonate with graduates compared to career returners? Will benefits like career progression entice the former, and the opportunity to work flexible hours attract the latter? Organisations can then tailor this messaging for different acquisition channels, which could even involve applying a different tone of voice and alternative imagery and graphics to ensure communications stand out to the right people.

 

3. Highlight employees

Job seekers want to get a feel for what it will be like to work and develop in an organisation and who their colleagues will be. More and more employers realise the value of sharing stories and experiences of their people, whether that’s through case studies of progression on a company blog or simple employee testimonials on a careers site.

Including photos and videos of real workers in any external communications provides a window into the workplace. Remember, if people work remotely, ensure they are also acknowledged and depicted in their environment.

 

4. Invest in the candidate experience

Current and ex-employees are not the only ones who leave reviews for companies on Glassdoor, Google and social media channels. Employers must build a positive, engaging and seamless experience that sees both successful and unsuccessful candidates treated with care and respect. A great experience goes a long way in improving an organisation’s employer brand and ensuring they recruit the best people for the future. Additionally, it increases the likelihood of returning applicants.

 

5. Bringing your employer brand to life

What is essential to think about when developing your employer brand is how you are going to bring all of these great messages and themes to life. How are your prospective candidates going to access the information they need to understand what working life is truly like for your organisation? A careers site/page is essential, however, to truly “spread the word” you need to think about the other platforms available to you and how you will manage content creation.

 

Looking for employer branding support?

Omni works with organisations across a broad range of sectors to develop employer brand messages and promote opportunities to a diverse range of candidates – driving engagement and nurturing talent in the process. Find out more about what we can do for you by connecting with one of our experts today.