There are many routes by which a company’s brand reaches consumers, but one that is often ignored by Marketing Departments is the employer brand. The impression a company makes on prospective, current and former employees goes beyond influencing a person’s decision to join or stay with a company. It also impacts the bottom line.
The average person does not distinguish between the employer brand and the consumer brand. Employer brand experiences affect a person’s perception of the consumer brand, which influences buying decisions. Just like poor consumer experiences, many people are happy to share their disappointing candidate tales through word of mouth and social media.
A well-developed employer brand is also crucial to attracting A-hires. These are the top-tier workers that give start-ups and established businesses a competitive edge. Today, the company brand and the employer brand are indelibly linked in drawing loyal customers and A-hires. When Marketing engages in employer brand activities, they are helping the company win future business vis-à-vis hiring better employees.
Why Attracting A-hires Matters for Business
Would you work for Google? If you answered, “Yes,” what came into your mind when you thought about working there? Most likely you have a positive impression of Google as an employer because you’ve heard about the generous parental leave, free lunches, casual environment, opportunities for development and other unique perks offered by the company.
In 2017, Google was named the world’s most valuable brand according to the Brand Finance Global 500 report. When Google first started out, they were unknown little guys competing with big search engines like Yahoo! One difference, Google didn’t start worrying about employer branding after they became successful. From the beginning, they understood their success hinged on attracting the best talent, so they developed and communicated an enticing employer brand.
Top performers can be up to 400 percent more productive than their average counterparts. This higher productivity among star performers is consistent across industries and geographic regions.1 The difference is especially pronounced in innovative and creative positions such as research and development, and tech jobs. The top developer at Apple (another outstanding tech employer brand) is nine times as productive as the average developer at other technology companies, according to organizational practice experts at Bain & Company. The management consultant firm estimates a top sales associate at Nordstrom outsells average salespeople at other department stores by at least eight times. This A-player advantage extends beyond business—Bain also reported that the top transplant surgeons have a success rate six times as great as the average transplant surgeon.2
Research by leadership consulting firm Zenger/Folkman found those in the top 90th percentile of an organization’s performers are markedly more productive than those in the 40th to 70th percentile of performers. Their analysis of the evaluations of more than 4,000 individuals over five years found that average performers had a 46-percent productivity rating, while the top performers had an 89-percent productivity rating.3
The Importance of Employer Branding
Companies with a strong employer brand showcasing the benefits of working for them fill open positions faster. This limits the length of time roles are left empty, and vacant roles start costing companies from the moment they are unoccupied. The fallout of persistent open roles extends to lost morale and performance among employees taking on the extra workload.
The quality of candidates is also improved by an authentic employer brand that gives prospective employees a clear understanding of the company culture. This clarity attracts more candidates who are a true fit for the company culture, which is important to quality performance and longevity in a new position.
Appealing employer branding also reduces expensive employee turnover by keeping workers positively engaged with the company. When employees are aware and involved with an organization, through corporate social responsibility programs, training initiatives or simply celebrating achievements with co-workers, they feel better about the work they do and the company they work for, and are more likely to remain.
The Employer Brand Impacts the Consumer Brand
If a person has a bad experience as a candidate, how likely do you think that person is to return as a customer? Not likely. A poor candidate experience affects consumer brand perception.
Consumers are sharing the negative experiences they have with companies on social media. A 2013 survey by Zendesk found that 45-percent of respondents shared bad customer service experiences through social media, compared with 38-percent who shared positive experiences.4 Bad experiences from poor career sites to unpleasant interviews to confusing onboarding have lasting repercussions. These disgruntled former candidates or employees are not likely to return as a customer or as a strong candidate for another role. They are likely, however, to share their negative stories with friends, family and perhaps their social media following.
A strong employer brand can help create positive experiences and feelings for candidates and employees, and mitigate negative experiences and feelings.
The Marketers Role in Employer Branding
A positive and authentic employer brand can lead to increased hiring of A-players, happier employees at every level, and by extension, happier customers. Companies will benefit from broadening their Marketing Department’s focus to include candidates and employees along with consumers. By working in tandem with their Human Resources department, marketers can develop an understanding of the company’s employee value proposition, create the messaging of the employer brand, and ensure that message is being communicated. If the Marketing Department lacks people resources to develop and execute the employer brand program, they can outsource to an organization that specializes in employer branding, but it’s important that Marketing remain involved in the process. When Marketing is involved, it better ensures that the employer brand created is authentic and aligns with the consumer brand.
Important metrics such as time-to-fill, cost-to-hire and employee surveys that follow implementation of an employer brand can be measured to demonstrate the success of the employer branding and help steer the program going forward (and, by the way, further demonstrate Marketing’s value to the organization). Just like consumer brands, employer brands need constant attention and will evolve over time to reflect shifts in company and employee goals.
Learn the practices that distinguish top employer brands from the rest. Download report.
Need guidance on creating your employer brand? Contact Hudson.
1 Willyerd, Karie. “What High Performers Want at Work.” Harvard Business Review. Web. 18 Nov 2014.
2 Mankins, Michael, Bird, Alan and Root, James. “Making Star Teams Out of Star Players.” Harvard Business Review. January-February 2013 Issue. Web, accessed 18 April 2017.
3 Zenger, Jack and Folkman, Joseph. “The Behaviors that Define A-players.” Harvard Business Review. Web. 11 April 2015.
4 Stadd, Allison. “More People Share Bad Customer Service Experiences Than Good.” AdWeek. Web. 18 April 2013.