83% of new hires start with an online search of a company. Given the behaviour of candidates, the employer brand is indeed paramount. Properly designed, precise, authentic and engaging, its benefits are as virtuous as they are beneficial to the entire ecosystem.
But before embarking on a communication approach, it seems important to us to keep in mind the main challenges to which the employer brand answers:
- It reinforces the overall image of your company: while it is primarily at the service of the HR department, it serves the company's ambitions more broadly.
- It acts on the attractiveness and costs of recruitment by highlighting the employer's assets. According to a study carried out by Link Humans, companies with a strong employer brand reduce their recruitment costs by 43% and receive 50% more qualified applications.
- They position themselves as a competitive advantage on their market, in front of their competitors. It encourages companies to innovate and to remain an employer of reference.
- It reinforces pride of belonging and contributes to the retention of talent.
These are major challenges that must be based on detailed reflection and a structured methodology in order to become a reality.
1. Get to know yourself better with the employer brand audit
The starting point for any employer branding initiative is first and foremost to get to know each other. Because if the employer brand is based on existing professions and on practical and objective elements, a large part of its success will be the result of perceptions, experiences and subjective experiences. Before thinking about improving your employer brand, it is therefore necessary to first assess the foundations of the brand.
In this sense, an employer brand audit, also known as an EVP (for Employee Value Proposition), is an opportunity to ask yourself the right questions and to conduct a 360° reflection on the fundamentals of your brand.
Using a methodology combining questionnaires, interviews and focus groups with top-tier targets (employees, managers, executives, candidates, millennials, young graduates, etc.), several themes inherent to the employer brand are analysed in depth. This approach will enable us to identify a positioning that is relevant to the company's ambitions, its employer offering and the expectations of its candidates. Whether it concerns the quality of management, the balance between professional and personal life, the quality of life at work, skills development, or commitment and projection within the company, the employer offer and i its purpose will be closely examined.
In short, the EVP will bring out the overall promise, based on the meeting of perceptions and reality, and on which you can calmly rely to communicate internally and externally, to recruit, to support your talents.
Keep in mind, however, that an employer brand audit delivers a snapshot of the company at a given moment. Depending on how it evolves, it may be a good idea to repeat the process at a later stage.
2. After reflection, time for action
The audit and strategic reflection phase will be followed by the operational deployment of your employer identity. Define your communication media and your message according to:
- The company context: is this reflection on the employer brand part of a natural continuity? Does it follow an acquisition? A difficulty? A strategic shift? ...
- The internal context: can you rely on internal support? Is an ambassador programme already in place? Is the HR department involved and in control of the message?
Once these points have been clarified, the truthfulness of the speech and the consistency of what is said will be the two essential conditions for the success of an employer branding strategy. The truthfulness of the speech, because it is the central point of your trust and authenticity expected by your audiences. Consistency of your speeches will ensure the credibility and accuracy of your words.
It is by relying on your internal evidence, and not by a misleading promise, that you will succeed in attracting the right talent: those who are like you and who share your values.
3. What about HR processes?
An employer brand means that the HR department must be involved throughout the entire process. As the central point of contact with employees and candidates, the HR department plays a major role in a successful candidate experience and then employee experience.
a. Build on your employer brand from the very beginning of the sourcing process
When writing your job offers, be consistent with your employer brand. Do you define your company as a dynamic and innovative environment? This should be reflected in the tone you use and in the description of your company. Do you make it a point of honour to achieve perfection? Same comment. When reading your job offer, the candidate should get a glimpse of your values and corporate culture.
You can also use your employer brand to build awareness: programmatic advertising, an innovative HR solution, allows you to show relevant candidates targeted advertising across the web. A good way to increase the benefits of your employer brand.
b. Take care of the candidate experience
During the recruitment process, the different stages and the quality of the exchanges with the candidate will be key elements of your employer brand. From the transparency of the recruiter's communication to the reply time and the reply itself, whether positive or not, your image is impacted.
Our best advice for improving the candidate experience: automating recurring tasks. You can create standard emails for making appointments or rejecting applications, for example. This will make communication more efficient and avoid leaving a candidate without an answer - a permanent mark on your employer brand.
c. Preparing your new recruits for onboarding
French recruiters Christel de Foucault and Hélène Ly emphasise this point: onboarding is a critical step in the life of an employee in a company. A study conducted by Cadremploi reveals that one in three managers has already resigned due to poor integration. In order to ensure the continuity of the candidate's experience and maintain a quality link with the candidate who has become an employee, the integration stages will be crucial. This is when the employer's promise becomes a reality and the relationship with the new recruit comes into play.
As with the candidate experience, you can automate certain steps upstream (requesting documents, preparing for the first few days, organising meetings) so that you can give more time to your new employee on D-day.
d. Retain your employees
The success of the previous stages will mark the beginning of a relationship of trust between the employee and the company. But beware: this is not the time to let up on your efforts. It is essential to nurture this relationship. Stay tuned, be available for the employees. This is the key to maintaining a good quality of working life (QWL), which in turn can make your employees... ambassadors. A virtuous circle to increase tenfold the attractiveness of your company to potential candidates.
In short: optimise your processes to save time and rely on the quality of your exchanges to make your employer brand shine.
In a nutshell, the employer brand requires a clear and precise audit of your employer assets, but also the spread of your DNA throughout the HR processes.
If the audit and a deployment designed for your audiences are the requirements for a successful and relevant employer brand strategy, the monitoring of actions through KPIs will be valuable tools to continue this process. Once the target has been set and the actions launched, monitoring will allow you to assess the relevance of your employer brand - and to readjust the path to follow if necessary. A winning approach at the frontier between marketing and HR, which recruiters benefit from implementing.
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