Adi Janowitz
Adi Janowitz 5 April 2021

Five Tips to Strengthen Your Internal Employer Branding

Employer branding refers to a company’s reputation as an employer and the value it brings or what it offers to its employees. This is proof that then you develop a strong internal employer brand, you not only improve internal engagement, but you expand and improve your talent pools. If your company makes employees want to recommend their friends, it’s a sign of good employer branding.

“Branding” might not be the first word that comes to mind when you think about how to improve your hiring strategy. We typically reserve that meaning for marketing, product, and advertising. However, employer branding deserves just as much focus for the impact that it can have on your organization as a whole and the talent pool.

While it does have external effects, one could argue that a strong employer brand’s actual value is how it positively impacts current employees, who are then more likely to stay and develop their careers at the organization. This then translates to improved hiring pools since current employers provide social proof of the brand’s legitimacy.

McKinsey & Company coined the term ‘the war for talent’ back in 2000, and it's safe to say that things haven’t changed much over the last 20+ years. The competitive landscape for recruiting and retaining talented employees has only increased due to an aging population moving into retirement and an increased focus on whether a company’s values match its desired talent pool.

Millennial and Gen X employees are more likely to care about this alignment. Since they are quickly becoming the most dominant forces in the workforce, it means that a stronger focus on employer branding is necessary to stay relevant.

Developing your employer brand starts with how you treat and develop current employees. When formulating your employer branding strategy, start with these five suggestions below to engender trust, engagement, and transparency in your existing workforce.

You’ll find that this also leads to more robust talent pools as employees have more positive things to say about the company, leading to increasingly positive posts on LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and other areas where your preferred talent pool lies.

1. Embed Strong Values into the Company Culture

Brand values are the fundamental principles that guide your decisions, and a strong employer brand means that you need strong employer values. You need to communicate them broadly, and most importantly, follow up with them.

For example, suppose one of your employer values is to support a culture of openness and transparency. In that case, that needs to be modeled from the top down so that employees adopt those behaviors. By embedding and cultivating strong values into the company culture, you build credibility and gain respect from your teams. 

This also helps you develop better internal communications, where employees will directly see your values in play and see interact with your values.

2. Ask for Employee Feedback

When building your employer brand, you want to know how your employers are responding to your efforts. This is not a place to sit back and hope for the best - you need to be proactive in discovering if your efforts are working. Soliciting employee feedback through internal communications will help you understand where you’re doing well and continue improving.

Creating space for employees to share feedback through anonymous suggestions, surveys, or polls can help the team talk about sensitive subjects and streamline future efforts while creating an open and collaborative environment to solve existing issues.

3. Encourage Employee Development and Growth

One of the top ways to retain employees is to provide them with opportunities to grow and learn in their roles and beyond. Allowing workers to stagnate in their current positions is one of the top drivers of turnover, leading to increased recruitment, hiring, and training costs. Employees who don’t see a clear career path or growth opportunities will start to look for those opportunities elsewhere.

This is especially important for managers who lead team strategy and set the tone for growth on their teams. 58% of managers have not received any sort of manager training, which negatively impacts their own career development and trickles down to their teams. Prioritizing a culture of learning and development strengthens employee perception that this is a place that believes in and prioritizes them.

4. Highlight and Recognize Employees

Another essential part of strengthening your employer brand is how you recognize and celebrate employee achievements. Too many employees feel that their organization doesn’t acknowledge effort or excellence properly, which may lead to the thought, “What am I doing this for then?”

High morale teams report that their managers are excellent at recognizing top performance, inspiring improved performance across the team. A high level of morale directly impacts employee pride in the company, since they know that the company appreciates the work they are doing.

5. Keep Employees Updated

Lastly, communicate your employer branding efforts. Keeping the team updated on your efforts and future plans goes a long way towards building trust and transparency, leading to increased engagement. Utilize different channels, such as newsletters and Slack, to ensure that your message is being received across various channels.

This is also an opportunity to let your values shine through internal communications, trickling through other internal and external communication. 

Employer branding is a team effort across human resouces, your leadership team, marketing, and the employees themselves. By creating a strong internal employee brand, you’re increasing retention, engagement, and performance, thereby positioning the company as a great place to work.

Currently, only 54% of employees would recommend the company they work for to their friends. This is proof that then you develop a strong internal employer brand, you not only improve internal engagement, but you expand and improve your talent pools. If your company makes employees want to recommend their friends, it’s a sign of good employer branding.

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