6 Points to Consider for Your 2017 Employer Branding Strategy

6 Points to Consider for Your 2017 Employer Branding Strategy

Mike Roberts

In response to a disproportionate interest in our content on employer branding strategies and best practices, my team and I at Jibe launched our inaugural State of Employer Branding survey in Q3 2016. The survey inspected recruiters’ and marketers’ thoughts on employer branding as a business function and its interconnectedness with candidate experience. We also dug into challenges today’s companies are facing, what they’re prioritizing, and the benefits of investing in employer branding.

After analyzing the nearly 300 responses from a range of companies (20% of which had revenues of greater than $1 billion and a vast majority were from North America), we wanted to share some key findings. If you’re interested in the full report, you can get it here. And if you have any questions or comments, you can reach me on Twitter @mp_roberts.

1. No Surprise: Employee Happiness and Employer Branding Are Closely Connected

Having a place people actually want to work is a prerequisite for a strong employer brand. So it makes sense that almost 9 in 10 professionals felt employee happiness and employer branding are connected. This is an important point. Before pouring budget into improving your outward facing image as an employer, consider looking internally. The factors that comprise employee happiness (culture, benefits, work/life balance, career opportunities, etc.) all contribute to the health of your employer brand.

2. Employer Branding Continues to Rise as a Business Function

While many companies have had ad-hoc employer branding programs and strategies for years, 41% of those surveyed said they currently have a formal employer branding program (this number is considerably higher when we look at companies with more than 1,000 employees). 59% of companies think employer branding and corporate branding are different. And 2 in 3 said their employer branding budget increased or stayed the same compared to last year (only 6% said it got smaller).

These indictors combined point to the rise of employer branding as a professional discipline—or an area of specialization. Yet, a lower number, 17%, reported having any employees at their company with “employer branding” in their job title. With more formalization and budget going into this area, though, we expect to see a sharp rise in employer branding-specific job titles and openings in 2017.

3. Creating Employer Branding Content Is a Major Challenge

When asked about their top challenges, the most frequently marked option by recruiters and marketers was “creating employer branding content.” 50% chose this. This makes sense, because creating compelling, engaging, sharable content is no easy feat. It’s a challenge not exclusive to recruiting—even some marketing teams struggle to consistently generate blog posts, infographics, videos, podcasts, and such that people like.

Despite content being listed as a top challenge, a positive sign is that a majority of professionals (72%) noted marketing is involved in their employer branding efforts. Working in concert, recruiting and marketing have the know-how and resources to plan for and execute effective employer branding content.

4. Don’t Discount the Impact of Candidate Experience on Employer Branding

From sourcing through applying, interviewing, extending offers, and onboarding, there are certainly many aspects of candidate experience to control and optimize. One weak spot could easily have negative consequences for your employer brand. A job seeker, for example, who has a horrible interview can now go to sites like Glassdoor to rate the experience and explain—for everyone to see—exactly what happened.

That said, we found that 95% of professionals think the quality of their candidate experience impacts their employer brand. No other yes-or-no question we asked received such an overwhelming majority.

5. Social Media Is the Likely Entry Point Into Employer Branding

When asked which employer branding channels they are using, 88% of respondents listed social media. The next closest channel was employer review sites at 55%, followed by content marketing at 46%. This is perhaps a sign of the times, since social media is so deeply a part of our everyday lives. But it’s also worth noting that starting a social media account requires very little effort. Creating an engaging account, on the other hand, is both an art and a science and takes expertise to stand out from the rest.

6. Analytics Are Vital to Proving an ROI On Employer Branding

Only 35% of companies were able to prove an ROI on their employer branding efforts in 2015. Among them, there was one thing in common—91% reported using some form of employer branding analytics.

You’ve no doubt heard a variation of the saying “You can’t improve what you don’t measure.” And there’s a good reason for that. Data can guide decisions, and even accelerate performance when it’s effectively measured and analyzed. Without data, you’re playing a dangerous guessing game that can cost you budget and even your reputation in the workplace.

Whether you’ve been executing employer branding campaigns for years or you’re just starting out, analytics are crucial. At the very least, get a grip on your performance by using Google Analytics, Twitter Analytics, LinkedIn Analytics, and others that come at no cost.

Want more research? Get the new eBook, The 2016 State of Employer Branding. This eBook is key for companies both starting or well into their employer branding journey:

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