It takes more than a slick careers site and clever culture video to attract top talent. Companies that are taking an inward look at their employer brand are seeing dramatic increases in attraction, retention and an overall positive employee experience.
An employer brand, versus company brand, is about leveraging an employer’s story of having a great workplace culture, says Jennifer Johnston, senior director of global employer branding at Salesforce. “We’re all feeling this aggressive competition for talent,” Johnston says, “and there is this imperative to increase productivity, meaning we have to get more out of the people already on the ground in our company.”
Branding has a big impact on prospective talent, she says, noting that 62% of jobseekers visit social media channels to evaluate an employer’s reputation, according to HR software company CareerArc.
Nearly as many — 67% —say they would not take a job with a company that has a bad reputation, even if they were unemployed, according to job search site Glassdoor. And 84% of potential employees would consider leaving a current job if offered a role at a company with excellent reputation.
Where do employers begin when it comes to building a brand that will attract the best and brightest? Johnston, speaking Wednesday at the Great Place to Work conference in Chicago, said an employee value proposition (EVP) is the foundation to creating a brand strategy. “It’s the promise you can give to employees in exchange for the gift of their time and talent,” she said. “Very few people are using this weapon.”
Johnston listed three key components for a successful EVP.
- Show that your company provides meaningful work. Jobseekers want to know, “What are we going to do together if I take a job with you?”
- Show that you have good people. Explain your workplace culture, values and vibe.
- Show that you reward employees. How do you show appreciation, recognition and the path of progression?
For example, she said, many companies will lead their pitch to prospective workers with how great their culture is, but it is more effective to communicate exactly what it is employees are working for.
There are five questions, Johnston says, that employers can ask to craft — or improve — their EVP strategies.
- Think back to your core DNA. What is your purpose? Harken back to the vision of the founders.
- Authenticity. What is true of us today when it comes to this area of work?
- Aspirational. What do we want to be true of us tomorrow?
- Unique. What is true of us that is truly unique? There is something inside every company that is truly, uniquely them.
- Simple. Is our message simple to remember and align to?
The Salesforce strategy
In her presentation, Johnston explained that no matter how hard a company works on its EVP, reviews on sites like Glassdoor are a way for jobseekers to get the inside scoop directly from other employees.
“The hard truth we need to tell ourselves is nobody wants to hear a whitewashed culture story,” Johnston warned. “People want to hear the true story.
“You need to be highly aware of what they’re saying on these sites,” she continued. “If nobody is monitoring these, you have a huge blind spot.”
One way to utilize this data, she said, is to take the reviews — both negative and positive — and send the information to internal leaders.
“I like the constant barrage of the employee voice,” she said. An added bonus is the ability to see similar data on competition.
The most important thing to remember in creating an EVP, she said, is to be intentional. “Be intentional about your brand. Be intentional about your culture. Be intentional about creating a great place to work.”