Employer branding has been the topic of discussion in recent years. It has gained great popularity especially within industries, where there is lot of competition over the best experts in the field. The changing values and norms of working life set the bar high and makes the employers wonder: On what grounds do our desired employees make the trade-off between their free time and work?

On the other hand, despite the great popularity of the topic, management teams are in many cases forgetting and neglecting the employer branding altogether and thus the stages of employer branding vary a lot between organizations. That’s why organizations that invest in employer branding are taking a hard lead when it comes to employer attractiveness among both students and experienced professionals.

The challenge of employer branding starts with justifying its importance – without the support of top management it is difficult to start a project this big and carry it out with quality. So, we have put together these 4 most important reasons to start employer branding now. You can take them with you to your next meeting, for example!

1. Competition for human capital

The competition for skilled workforce is getting tense. Recruiting students can already be a challenge, when competitors catch the young talents directly from school bench. Not to mention the passive job seekers. Skilled employees bring vital know-how with them and in knowledge-intensive industries the employees are the biggest selling point for the whole company. In this case, the only way to succeed is by finding the best experts.

With a strong employer brand you can attract both students and experienced professionals. Indeed, many can ask themselves: Why would you stay in your current job if competitor has better organizational culture, respected employer brand, and can offer more interesting assignments? Therefore, there are both opportunities and dangers related to employer brand: a low-quality employer brand weakens your position in the labor market, but a strong and unique brand attracts experts.

Many organizations face the challenge of widespread waves of retirement that brings along the threat of losing senior-level employees. Without a strong employer brand, we might not be able to fill those positions, which will drastically reduce the level of expertise and competitiveness. The right way of surviving wave of retirement is anticipation, which can be done through employer branding that in turn requires long-term investment over the years.

2. The employer brand as part of building sustainable competitive advantage

Employees are the redeemers of organization’s value propositions, and they build the brand regards to both recruitment’s and the whole company’s perspectives. Therefore, the competition for skilled personnel is not only about the internal resources of an organization, but also customers demand ever better and more expert service. The quality of service is also reflected in the revenue, but the development of service quality alone cannot be separated from employer branding. Expert staff also communicates the value of the company to other stakeholders, such as shareholders or distributors. Therefore, employer branding should be started now rather than later.

Every organization has employer brand, whether they invest in it or not. Some companies benefit from their employer brand as some suffer more negative effects because of it. Would you prefer to invest in a company that attracts the best experts or a company that has basically non-existent employer brand? The employer brand is thus part of the whole company brand, so it should be taken into consideration with the rightful amount of seriousness. The employer brand as a concept can also be used to bring together different processes of HR under one concept, which in turn promotes the strategic management of HR.

A unified an integrated brand requires collaboration between marketing and HR, so that the product, service, and employer brand all support each other. Customer paths and job seeker paths intersect in many ways: a strong brand among customers is beneficial for the HR department, and well-functioning HR functions are reflected in the overall brand image. Therefore, long-term strategic cooperation is required from marketing and HR departments.

HR department can be seen as an internal executor of employer brand in terms of e.g., organizational culture and values. When the employee identifies with the company values , they contribute to the realization of the values at the customer interface. Thus, the deepest essence of the brand is present in all customer encounters, which also shapes the overall image of the organization as an employer. These experiences build a distinctive brand image which in turn creates sustainable competitive advantage. All in all, HR and marketing together can create unique experiences for both job seekers and customers.

3. Cutting the costs of recruitment

It is cheaper to hold on to an existing customer than acquiring a new one. The same goes for employees, as recruitment is expensive for the company. Even more expensive is failed recruitment, which means that the whole process has to start over. There are many reasons for unsuccessful recruitment, but often the roots lead to an employer brand: things that don’t even exist in the organization have been promised, or the organization’s employer brand attracts the wrong kind of applicants.

With successful employer branding, an organization attracts the job seekers it needs, and eventually manages to build an extensive pool of expertise for itself. In this case, the costly recruitment process is not always even needed, because there are eager candidates in the existent pool of experts to fill the vacancy.

Interesting employers also avoid compensation for a “bad employer” brand, which could be thousands of euros at worst. This compensation is needed for the job seeker to even agree to trade their free time for work. Interesting employer does not only avoid this compensation, but they might even be able to achieve flexibility in the wages they pay.

Employer branding also aims to boost employee engagement and increase productivity, which provides protection against bad times. The low turnover rate of employees already says a lot about the organization as an employer and increases trust towards the company.

4. Stand out from the competition with a quality employer brand

A high-quality employer brand is a key success factor in many industries, making them stand out both in the job market and among customers. Such players are sought and retained, which is an absolute advantage, especially in a market with many similar job descriptions. In B2B market the need to stand out as an employer is further emphasized, because the company might not be familiar to people through their products and services.

The long-term strategy is to start creating a distinctive employer image in the minds of college students already – some even start with primary school students! Students’ perceptions of working life and employers are still taking shape, and they have the greatest potential for the future. For example, collaboration with educational institutions, recruitment fairs, and recruitment marketing in the channels used by students are included in practical employer branding actions that bear fruit over time.

Invest in your employer brand by participating in Tuudo’s digital recruitment fair in September 2022! You can reach students from 25 educational institutions at once. For more information, please contact us usingthis formor direclty by phone of email.

The article was first published 1.12.2020.