Why an Employer Branding Strategy is Essential Right Now
by Samantha Gross

The culture around work is shifting. Despite rising economic uncertainty, the Great Resignation — and the pandemic that sparked it — are still reverberating through companies of every shape and size. 

Employees everywhere are reevaluating the place of work in their lives and the nature of the exchange they expect to make with an employer. More than ever before, they are demanding new kinds of flexibility, expecting employers to invest in their personal wellness and professional development, and seeking a greater sense of meaning and purpose through their work.

Meanwhile, employers are facing profound challenges. CHROs are more strapped for time and resources than ever. Competition for talent is fierce — and the approaches that worked before are not working now. From company leaders to entry-level employees, burnout is everywhere. At precisely the moment when organizations most need an agile, creative and engaged employee body, it has become incredibly challenging to foster one. 

How can organizations respond to this complex set of challenges?

1. Commit to a holistic employer brand strategy

Not that long ago, most companies considered employer branding synonymous with recruitment marketing. But in today’s era, with its tight labor marketplace, skyrocketing worker expectations for authenticity, and candidate reliance on online employee reviews, companies can no longer afford to separate recruitment messaging from the reality that employees experience once they take the job. At KVA, we have always seen employer branding as a foundational piece of strategy — and today more than ever before it is essential to employee engagement, the success of core business initiatives, and effective change management.

2. Take an honest look inward to build your foundation

A comprehensive employer brand strategy geared toward employee engagement, external recruitment, and unified internal messaging can alleviate staffing challenges while serving as a springboard for internal efforts to ignite employee passion and alignment around key business priorities and initiatives.

As a first building block toward such a complete strategy, companies must first do an honest evaluation of what they have to offer employees, how that fits with the needs and wishes of their ideal candidates, what sets them apart from the competition, and what elements of their desired employee experience are more aspiration than reality. The answers to these questions can be used to shape an organization’s employee value proposition — or EVP — the most foundational element of any employer brand strategy.

3. Shape your strategy to match your business needs

Once completed, the EVP can be used to power impactful recruitment marketing campaigns. Strategy can be brought into further focus for high-priority functional areas through persona creation and the development of functional value propositions (especially useful for roles in high-demand areas such as software engineering and data analytics). For organizations addressing challenges in the DE&I space, targeted persona creation and diversity value proposition work can be used to support more equitable and effective hiring practices. 

4. Create a virtuous cycle

Internally, the EVP can become a key tool for increased employee engagement and employee advocacy, especially when supplemented by engagement campaigns shaped to fit the specific challenges of an organization. When the EVP is shared effectively with leaders, it can help to power and define internal culture on a team-by-team basis. When communicated with employees at every level, it can help create a shared narrative that boosts morale, clarifies priorities, and establishes shared goals. This strengthens business outcomes and leads employees to become advocates and employer brand ambassadors — ultimately improving retention and boosting the recruitment efforts already underway — creating what we like to think of as the Employer Branding Virtuous Cycle.

Need an employer branding strategy that strengthens recruitment, boosts retention, crystalizes culture, engages employees and helps your organization reach its business goals? Let’s talk!

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