Money doesn’t talk as loudly as it used to - employers need to sell themselves

A company’s reputation speaks volumes to potential candidates in a way that a salary offer can’t.

By Maria Cosgrove director of operations, M3S

MONEY DOESN’T TALK as loudly as it used to. What people look for in a potential employer continues to change and evolve as money is no longer the major motivator it once was.

Today, a strong employer brand is seen as a critical way to attract, engage and retain the best people. It can set an organisation apart from the competition, help to attract top talent, reduce hiring costs and improve overall retention.

It becomes even more important in highly competitive sectors where niche skill sets are in serious demand. Put simply, a strong employer brand is a huge asset to any company and can generate real results.

The way companies recruit candidates for jobs and retain employees has changed. This is in large part due to technological advancement, social media, and career review sites that make it easier for job applicants to find information.

Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Glassdoor among others are an access point for candidates to take a better look into a company.

In addition to this, when it comes to the next generation of talent, companies have to do things differently. Millennials and Generation Z are far more interested in jobs that best align with their needs and life goals.

First and foremost, organisations must understand their audience and tap into what motivates them to go above and beyond.

A good employer brand is one that makes its employees emotionally attached to a business rather than just seeing it as a job. Belonging to a community and working for a company that reflects their values are factors that increase employee motivation and job satisfaction.

To stand out, employers have to tap into what inspires loyalty:

  • Honesty – over 70% of job seekers value company honesty above all else. Companies should foster an open and transparent culture.
  • Shared Responsibility – In keeping with the open culture companies should try to foster co-operation among employees. This should help improve retention rates.
  • Agile people practices – Companies should try and offer more of what job seekers want, e.g. remote working opportunities, paternity leave for fathers etc.
  • Internal branding – Companies must follow through on what they promise as employees are their best brand ambassadors.

There’s no one secret formula to successful employer branding. To build a strong brand, you must craft a comprehensive, multi-channel content strategy to engage your target candidates.

Successful employer branding consists of seven essential elements:

Company culture – The personality of an organisation which includes the work environment, clearly defined company mission, values, goals and expectations.

Brand advocates and ambassadors – current employees who talk about their company online and offline. Many leading companies also recognise the importance of staying in touch with their former employees via a corporate alumni network.

Career website/page – While an average candidate checks around 18 different sources to learn more about a potential employer, a career page is the first and most frequently viewed source of information.

Job ads – These are a candidate’s first impression of your company so they need to reflect your brand in a way that encourages them to apply for a job with your company.

Social media and online presence – This is the most convenient and accessible place to showcase and promote your employer brand.

Awards – This is the most straight-forward way to show tangible ‘proof’ of your words and promises to your employees.

Candidate care – A poor candidate experience will negatively impact on your employer brand – both successful and unsuccessful applicants should have a positive experience during the recruitment process.

The world of work is changing dramatically and with it the shape of the workforce is too. Traditional methods of incentivisation – salary, bonuses, a standard health-insurance package or a cycle-to-work scheme – just don’t make the cut anymore for most employees. 

Changing employment trends mean that companies need to stay agile and more aware of the social environment than ever before. By not working on employer branding, a company can quickly sabotage its hiring efforts and make it more difficult to hire and retain the best talent.

Maria Cosgrove is the director of operations in M3S

Get our Daily Briefing with the morning’s most important headlines for innovative Irish businesses.