Employer Branding Strategy: what really makes an employer attractive? Every organization has an employer brand, whether consciously established, diligently nurtured or the product of benign neglect. With the transparency of social media offering a view beyond your window shades—with or without your okay—your employer brand serves as a billboard for your organization.

So, what exactly is employer branding? Many define this term as an organization’s reputation or image as a desired place to work in the minds of current employees, active and passive candidates, customers and other key stakeholders. It embodies your values, culture and workplace environment. Like any source of potential advertisement, however, the employer brand offers a promise, which if unfulfilled, can be a detriment to attracting the right candidates, leave your workforce un-engaged and contribute to turnover. It can drive competitive advantage, boosting your ability to attract, engage and retain a high-performance workforce.

Ultimately, if done well, it can also drive real bottom-line value in terms of enhanced productivity, innovation, operational excellence and market leadership. It is an asset that can offer high returns on your investment.

What makes for a strong employer brand? What is it that job candidates want? What motivates them to take a closer look at your firm? Why do they choose one employer over another? What keeps your current workforce working for you? Is it money? Diversity? Flexibility? Randstad recently took a closer look at what makes an employer attractive. While the findings offer strong proof that financial security remains an overwhelming motivator, potential employees are also looking for other things. Savvy employers can increase their attractiveness as a destination for skilled and talented individuals if they understand what levers to optimize in their employer value proposition.

What really makes an employer attractive? Some may envy those employees who enjoy the privileges of on-site daycare, gyms, dry-cleaning and nail salons, plus unlimited vacation, free happy hours or “bring your pet to work” policies. Who wouldn’t? But the companies that can afford to offer these amenities are more the exception than the rule. In the absence of extreme perks, what else can an employer do to attract great talent?

Randstad set out and posed the question to 7,000 people, ranging in age from 18 to 65. Hailing from all regions of the U.S., there were an almost equal number of male and female respondents. Educational credentials ranged from high school diplomas through graduate degrees. Those surveyed online over a recent two-month period included both active and passive job seekers, some employed, others unemployed. Industries across the board were represented, with professional backgrounds running the gamut from automotive, construction, consumer goods and manufacturing to financial services, technology, nonprofits and hospitality.

Questions asked included:


  • What are the most important factors when choosing an employer?
  • How do potential employees define a pleasant work atmosphere?
  • How do potential employees define interesting job content?
  • For what reasons would employees stay with their employer?
  • Why would employees change employers?
  • Which are the most attractive industry sectors?

Cash is king

Given the economic pressures of the past several years, many in the workforce experienced everything from salary freezes to temporary furloughs to layoffs and extended periods of unemployment. Likely contributing to a pervasive atmosphere of insecurity, nearly a quarter of those surveyed tagged salary and benefits as the most important factor in choosing an employer, followed by job security. In terms of their top five choices, salary and benefits were also selected (66 percent).

But, money isn’t everything. In addition to competitive salary, benefits and long-term job security, well over half of potential employees selected work atmosphere as a top-five criteria when choosing an employer. Another 43 percent selected work/life balance, and 40 percent said convenient location. Other choices included:


  • Career progression opportunities 39%
  • Financially healthy 32%
  • Flexible work schedule 32%
  • Interesting job content 27%
  • Strong image/strong values 21%
  • Good training 21%
  • Strong management 18%
  • Quality products/services 17%
  • Diverse management 12%
  • Uses latest technologies 11%
  • Concerned with environment and society 8%
  • International/global career opportunities 6%




*This article first appeared on randstad.com