Employer Branding is not solely an HR responsibility and it is tightly connected to your product and company brand. The sooner you start thinking about it, the more synergies you’ll be able to create.
The way you talk about your business impacts how potential employees perceive the company and it is always a good idea to shed some light on your team and culture. Make sure your message is appealing, authentic, and coherent. It will result in the most successful, long-term and cost-efficient Employer Branding you can get.
Who needs Employer Branding
The benefit of being an early startup is that you can hire great people from your network and their networks. After all, it is an exciting adventure to be one of the first employees in a startup – it offers a lot of an impact, opportunities for growth, as well as a decent piece of shares. And since it is your network, people want to talk to you because they know you. You are not a “no-one” to them.
The difficult part starts when you grow bigger. You don’t see as many people that you would like to hire. Your potential candidates are bombarded with lots of messages from bigger, better paying, more established (and therefore more trustworthy) companies so your message doesn’t get through. And even if it does, it is frequently ignored as not serious enough.
This is when companies typically start thinking about Employer Branding.
Employer Branding: where to start
Before you invest a dollar into Employer Branding, design a proper strategy taking into consideration:
Your hiring mid-term needs: typically employer branding efforts rarely bring immediate results.
Resources available: does your team have enough capacity to be actively involved in events or sharing knowledge on the blog? Can you provide a PR or copywriter person to support your communication?
The group you are targeting: when planning, take into consideration their preferences and behaviors. For example, if you are planning to hire senior developers, they might be less interested in spending all weekend on a hackathon.
Quality: poor ideas and/or execution will have a negative impact on your brand, so if you are not sure how to approach it – ask for help.
Internal Employer Branding
Focus on what your employees say about you. It matters, you can improve it and it costs $0.
1. Employee journey (the sum of hiring, onboarding, off-boarding and everyday-life experience).
2. Ensure great communication within the team (top to bottom and between the teams). Communication in your company constantly evolves and the bigger it is, the more interrupted it will appear. Make sure that early on you establish processes and tools (e.g. OKR) to support the flow of information.
3. Spoil your employees (at least a bit) by offering them salary and benefits that are wanted and deeply valued. Understand your employees’ needs and be creative about your offer. Lots of benefits cost nothing or very little such as flexible working hours, remote work capabilities, free meals (breakfast or lunch, depending if you care more about your employees coming in on time to the office or rather having them spend less time going out for lunch – not to mention it also supports people integration), employee discounts (many companies will be happy to offer them), and more.
External Employer Branding
Only when your current employees are happy, it makes sense to invest in external Employer Branding.
1. Social media communication is probably the best way to show your authentic, everyday life. Some things to consider before jumping in: what is your profile going to represent? Is it only people, or also product and business updates? Would you rather create a separate account for 100% employer communication? Which language is it going to be written in? What are the image and values you want to build your communication around?
2. Your blog is an excellent tool to share knowledge and insights from your company. It is one of the best tools to grasp interest from candidates who can better understand what are you working on and what kinds of people work there.
3. Your company website is usually the final step for a candidate before submitting an application. It has the great potential to tell candidates more about your culture, people, products, and excite them even more before the interview.
4. Employer profiles (Glassdoor, AngelList, etc.) is not only a decent tool to present your organization in a more structured way than on social media but also a great tool for establishing trust thanks to comments from your employees.
5. Speaking at events/conferences is once again, similar to your blog, a great way to share inside knowledge and communicate in a more open, honest way.
6. Public Relations: can build credibility and proves to candidates that you are a recognized company working on something interesting.
7. External partnerships create an ecosystem with partners aligned with your goals (universities, other companies, media, etc.) that will help you reach mutual goals such as visibility. It is similar to a sponsorship, but different since you work together towards one goal (e.g. organizing together a conference).
8. Other channels like university events, career fairs, and outdoor advertising should not be overlooked.