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What is Employer Branding and Employee Advocacy?

Sheridan Gaenger
December 1 ․ 8 min read

employer branding and employee advocacyNavigating the Nervous System of Two Intricate Talent Trends

Today’s talent acquisition world is nothing less than complex.

Looking at the day-to-day, as talent leaders we are wearing and swapping out a variety of hats.

We are all consumers, and influenced and impacted by what we learn from others. As leaders we are consumers, and as consumers we are leaders. As employees we are consumers, and as employees we are advocates.

In today’s world, there’s no question that in order to achieve talent acquisition success, your employer brand and employee advocates must be mutually supportive, with the employer brand message carried and delivered by employee advocates.

Career Arc’s 2015 Employer Branding Study found that 75% of job seekers consider an employer brand before even applying for a job—telling us employer brand helps to color and shape the candidate experience.

As we continue to examine the understated but immense impact digital employer branding and talent advocacy trends have on our current state of talent acquisition, it becomes imperative to understand how to define and optimize your employer brand so you can attract and nurture the best talent.  

Last week we covered the first two recruitment marketing trends that are affecting the talent landscape including total talent lifecycle and the omni-channel. Today we’ll dive into the next two—employer brand and employee advocacy—and how they fit together.

Employer Brand Isn’t One Thing

Candidates today can afford to be choosy. More to the point, candidates hold the power in the current market. Companies will thrive in the current economy, but only if they hire the right talent who will prove productive and facilitate growth. Organizations must do more to attract this talent than just offer a paycheck—they must project an employer brand that resonates with, attracts, and motivates candidates. Today’s candidates, especially millennial employees, crave a connection, a purpose to their jobs other than money. Companies that don’t make that connection will struggle to find the high-quality candidates they need.

A company’s reputation as an employer is one of the most important considerations candidates take into account when deciding whether to explore a career opportunity. Just as your consumer brand has a value proposition for potential customers, your employer brand should have an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) for potential employees. One survey of job seekers and HR professionals discovered that 43 percent of respondents felt that “cultural fit” was the most important factor for hire. For candidates that cannot identify with your culture, or for candidates that cannot picture themselves being part of the reputation you embody and portray, attracting them will be a significant challenge.

That said, employer brand isn’t only about establishing your reputation, but also about bringing it to life throughout the entire candidate lifecycle, from point of first interaction to the career Website to nurturing campaigns to post-hire. In short, the employer brand needs to be infused across the entire spectrum of channels where your specific candidates are. Whether you are simply creating landing pages for prospects to provide more information or developing complex company career sites, your branding strategy will speak volumes with the quality of hires and the efficiency of the process, all of which can be measured. Settling for a weak brand experience, or one that is fragmented across channels, can lead to unimpressed or confused candidates who, in today’s job market, will turn their attention to companies that excel at marketing themselves.

Employee Advocacy Is Now Your Brand Lifeline

Let us assume for a moment that you love your job. As such, we can also safely assume that if another position at your company opened up, and that you knew someone who would be perfect for that position, you would not only inform them about the opening, but also enthusiastically encourage your friend to apply because it is such a great place to work. Multiply that scenario by dozens, even hundreds of employees, and you see why happy workers are the best asset for creating conversations and advocacy for your brand. They extend your reach beyond your ATS or talent community and into an enormous, untapped talent pool that reside in your employees networks.

Word of mouth has always been important, but with the emergence of social media, it has exploded into ways talent acquisition (and marketing) would not have thought possible a decade ago. Today, your advocates can spread their job satisfaction, and your employer brand story, to a wide audience with minimal effort. The right software solution will help facilitate this advocacy, making it easy for happy employees to become marketers for your brand, your recruiting efforts, and your company.

And that advocacy is what creates and perpetuates your employer brand.

Don’t stop there - read about the other four trends in our eBook, “Winning the Talent Game by Tapping Into Today’s Candidate Mindset.” Download the entire eBook »

Winning the Talent Game