There are only a few weeks left until the end of the year, and while for employees, it’s a frantic race to the finish line to ensure that all work is neatly tied up like a Christmas parcel; for employers, and those looking after business HR – it’s a time for reflection. Looking back at the progress that has been made over the last 12 months, and setting out priorities for the year ahead.
If you plan to recruit new team members in 2017, keeping ahead of the competition by comparing your business to theirs and looking at the forthcoming trends is a proactive approach.
A recent Global Recruiting Trends survey by LinkedIn focused on talent acquisition in the UK, and what the priorities were for over 4,000 professionals and business owners. What came of the survey was a comprehensive picture of what recruitment currently looks like across the United Kingdom, and not only how businesses will be finding talent in 2017 – but how they will be competing for it.
It has become apparent that ‘employer brand’ has moved to the top of the agenda, with 80% of businesses saying that employer brand is the main priority. To put this into perspective – only 64% of businesses ranked it an important factor in 2016. 85% of business owners claimed that they thought employer brand will significantly impact their ability to recruit new talent next year.
But just what is employer brand? Caroline Griffiths from Bradfield HR explains, “Employer brand is the ability that a business has to both attract and retain great talent. It is the perception of the business held by prospective candidates and current employees. It refers to the way the company is viewed, how they conduct themselves in the professional and public domain. A positive employer brand will mean that you are perceived as a good company to work for and can vastly improve your ability to recruit and keep great employees.”
Although it is recognised that the significance of employer brand is increasing, there is still little cohesion between the recruitment and marketing strategies of both SME’s and large corporations when it comes to creating and promoting employer brand. 23% of businesses that took part in the LinkedIn survey say that those who look after recruitment have little involvement in branding elements of the business.
To create a brand that is perceived as one who is great to work for, HR and marketing efforts need to be aligned; in order to recruit team members that will drive them forward and create a business that stands out against the competition. Below, we collate some ideas that will help you to achieve this.
Communicate Company Values and Social Responsibility
Corporate Social Responsibility is no longer just a buzzword; more than 50% of professionals take company values into consideration before they accept a job offer. The talent pool is dominated by millennials, and studies show that they choose to work for employers that exemplify good CSR practices. In fact, 63% of millennials donate to charities and 43% also actively volunteer.
So, it’s important for you to actively promote what it is that you and your business stand for, and what your purpose is; this enables candidates to emotionally connect with your business.
Promoting these values is where HR and Marketing blend perfectly; HR provides the data when it comes to the values of current employees and marketing is able to put these messages in front of the right people; creating an effective, data led strategy from start to finish.
Avoid shameless self-promotion by involving current employees. While its ok to say that you are award winning, it can be perceived as superficial information and can make potential recruits wary of your true motives and purpose. Leverage what your current employees have to say about you – marketing can use this material effectively for the positive stories, while HR can learn and implement changes from the negative.
These changes will also speak volumes.
Involve the Whole Team
Gone are the days of draconian hierarchy. Many businesses have adopted a unified approach, and all team members show a united front; well, the forward-thinking ones anyway.
It’s important that all the stakeholders are involved in the process from the very beginning to ensure that this innovative and modern approach is communicated; with this in mind, it is of course that important both HR and Marketing are also involved from the off – otherwise you cannot expect equal investment and dedication from both teams.
It has been predicted that recruitment budgets will not increase in 2017, emphasising the importance of the two departments both sharing the cost of employer brand and ensuring that there is a dedicated budget available.
The end of the current year is a great start to re-visit your brand as an employer; looking at what has worked and planning in a brainstorm, inviting and utilising ideas from everyone in the business to kick start your employer brand strategy for 2017.
For a guide on how to develop a strong employer brand, see this document by the CIPD.
While involving everyone is important to creating a comprehensive employer brand, there must be someone who takes responsibility and champions the strategy, because it’s about internal communication as much as external – employer brand is as much about retention as it is about recruitment.
An ideal candidate who has knowledge of both the HR and marketing practices and can work within both areas; without one key person owning the project it becomes difficult to engage others in the business and issues arise when it comes to allocating work.
It also helps to have one person reporting on success and progress of the employer brand strategies.
Don’t Be Afraid to Reach Out
In order to create an employer brand that attracts the best talent – and retains them – you have to leverage relationships.
We have discussed both HR and marketing should take the reins on employer brand, but to build the message and the way the brand is consistently communicated why not call upon other experts and specialists? From web build teams, creative branding agencies, business analysts and market researchers, there’s so many that can make your campaigns super effective.
Branding is no longer about products or services, and it hasn’t been for some time; it’s important that you understand the necessity of building and nurturing a holistic brand identity – and this includes your employer brand as it will feed into the overall perception of your business. Your employer brand should be high on the agenda for 2017, and creating a cohesive relationship between HR and marketing should be the starting point. By concentrating on this strategy immediately, you will boost your opportunities of recruiting and retaining superstar talent.