Employer Branding: Attracting and Retaining Top Talent Through Branding

The image shows a door being opened as a metaphor and intro for a blog post about employer branding.

By Nine Blaess | 3:55 min

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    In a job market where top talent is in short supply, companies often underestimate the role of employer branding. But this can come at a cost, as even among the most satisfied employees, 58% remain open to new job opportunities.

    Let’s break down what employer branding means, why it matters, and how to develop a brand that resonates with the right candidates. We will also explore how to infuse branding into your company culture to create an exceptional employee experience.

    What Is Employer Branding?

    Your employer brand describes how people perceive your company as an employer.

    Employer branding involves actively shaping and strengthening this image. It’s not just about your products or visual identity but—more importantly—about culture, values and the overall working environment.

    In short, a strong employer brand communicates what makes your company a great place to work.

    Why Employer Branding Matters

    Employer branding directly affects your company’s financial performance. It reduces hiring costs and employee turnover and attracts top-tier candidates.

    While employer branding was once associated with tech companies, times have changed. Today, it’s not just tech firms struggling to attract top talent; industries such as healthcare, construction, and skilled trades face similar difficulties.

    I think employer branding can be particularly valuable for apprenticeships like nursing, plumbing or carpentry. As more and more people seek higher education and physically demanding professions are less well paid, I can understand why these companies struggle to attract talent.

    In addition, our attitudes and values continue to evolve. Consider Gen Z, for example. This generation faces new workplace challenges and often prefers independent work arrangements. A McKinsey report identifies five main issues that this generation faces:

    • A hostile work environment
    • Mental health issues
    • Access to transport to and from work
    • Physical problems
    • An inability to share their full self at work

    Regardless of their generation, 69% of employees consider it extremely important to work for a company with a brand they are proud to support. Why? Because skilled workers have options, especially with the flexibility of remote work in some professions.

    Whether you’re in the tech industry or any other field, a strong employer brand sets your company apart from the competition and makes it more attractive.

    However, there is one crucial point: employer branding goes beyond simply creating an image; it requires you to deliver on your promises.

    How to Build a Strong Employer Brand

    Now that we’ve clarified why employer branding is so crucial, let’s look into how to create a compelling employer brand that resonates with your audience:

    1. Identify Your Unique Employee Value Proposition (EVP)

    Your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is very similar to your brand strategy. But it focuses specifically on what employees gain from working for your business. Essentially, your EVP answers the question: “Why would anyone want to work for this company?”

    Your EVP goes beyond salary and benefits; it includes elements such as:

    • Company Culture and Values
      • Company/brand values
      • Workplace/brand culture
      • Leadership and management style
    • Growth and Development
      • Opportunities for personal and professional growth
      • Opportunities for career progression
      • Opportunities for self-expression
      • Cutting-edge technology and Tools
    • Wellness and Benefits
      • Work-life balance
      • Flexibility and remote work options
      • Health and wellness programs
      • Recognition and rewards
      • Retirement plans
      • Stock options
      • Additional employee benefits (childcare, transportation, …)
    • Community, Diversity and Inclusion
      • Commitment to fostering an inclusive workplace
      • Initiatives supporting diversity
      • Employee resource groups and affinity networks

    To see how this can look in the real world, check out Google’s or IBM’s Benefits pages. 

    2. Listen to Your Employees

    Feedback from your employees is invaluable in shaping your employer brand. Conduct surveys, focus groups or informal conversations to find out what employees like and don’t like about working at your company. Building on your employees’ experiences and continuously improving them will make your brand authentic and credible.

    3. Develop an Employer Brand Story

    Similar to consumer brand storytelling, storytelling can also help to shape the perception of your company as an employer more humanly and authentically. Tell stories about your employees’ experiences, values and what makes working for your company unique.

    For more info, check out this article.

    Step 4: Communicate Your Employer Brand

    Good communication is key to building and cultivating your employer brand. Just as consumer branding uses communication to connect with customers, your employer branding should generate interest among potential employees.

    This is how you can effectively communicate your employer brand:

    • Ensure that your company’s visual and verbal identity is seamlessly aligned with your employee value proposition and your consumer-facing brand.
    • Keep a consistent look and feel across all touchpoints—internally and externally. Whether on your website, social media, job postings or interactions with employees, consistency builds familiarity and trust.
    • Emphasise what makes your company an attractive and unique place to work. Your branding efforts should act as a magnet, attracting applicants who can identify with your brand and its values.
    • Use a variety of communication channels. Market your employer brand where your potential candidates are. This may include your website, social media, events, job postings, career fairs and more.

    5. Embed Your Brand into Your Hiring Process

    Integrate your employer brand into every stage of the hiring process. Highlight opportunities for career progression and personal growth in your brand narrative.

    6. Encourage Employee Advocacy

    Authentic employee advocacy is a powerful tool. Encourage your existing employees to share their success stories.

    7. Measure Your Employer Brand’s Success

    To measure the effectiveness of your employer brand, set and monitor key performance indicators (KPIs). Track metrics like applicant quality, employee retention, and candidate feedback to evaluate your brand’s impact.

    Conclusion

    Employer branding is a necessity in today’s job market. It’s about creating a workplace that stands out. Not just visually, but through its entire culture.

    To build a robust employer brand, focus on crafting a compelling Employee Value Proposition, listening to your employees, telling their authentic stories, and effectively communicating what makes your business a great workplace.

    Remember, your employer brand is a promise to your employees and an investment in your company’s future success.

    Title Image by Charlotte May

    Nine Blaess

    Nine Blaess

    Hello, I’m Nine. I blend strategy and design to craft engaging brand identities and websites that celebrate the uniqueness of each business.

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