Every CEO knows a great employer brand is critical to winning the war for talent, but not every company can create one. Does your company’s reputation as an employer inspire talent to flock to your career site or drive them away? If your brand is more a liability than an asset, then it’s time to make a change in 2020.

A strong employer brand is a necessity in today’s tight labor market. Not only can it help you attract and hire great permanent talent, but your contingent workforce will also benefit from greater access to talent, reduced costs and lower turnovers. Furthermore, because an employer brand may be closely aligned to your corporate and product brands, your status as a workplace of choice can have a positive halo effect on sales and customer loyalty. 

Many businesses, however, continue to struggle with building and leveraging their employer brand. Often times the challenge is associated with creating and communicating an effective employee value proposition (EVP). Or it could be a poor strategy around activating a company employer brand. It’s possible that some organizations lack centralized control of their brand-building efforts, resulting in inconsistent approaches and messaging. Whatever the problem, poor strategy and execution can lead to a failure to connect with great talent.

According to Francesca Campalani, director of employer branding, sourcing and recruitment marketing at Randstad Sourceright, companies need to understand what their brand should convey when attracting talent to their organizations. Genuine and forthright, the strategy must help prospective employees grasp how they fit within the company’s clearly stated mission and values.

"Employer branding is the essence of why an organization does what it does, and why people would want to belong to the ‘tribe.’ I work with companies to help them distill and convey that unifying and inspirational sense of purpose, belonging and pride,” Campalani says in the latest edition of Randstad’s “Standing Out” employer brand research report.

Campalani advises company leaders to leverage storytelling to convey their company’s sense of purpose and identity, be dynamic in brand-building efforts, and never lose sight of the fact that we are in a post-digital world, which requires a lot of attention to social media and technology to empower employer brands. “The most engaging employer branding stories communicate the joy of belonging to an organization you love,” Campalani adds. 

So how can you build a compelling employer brand in a way that’s demonstrated to work? Companies such as Volvo, Akzo Nobel and Nestle are well-known consumer brands, but their marketing success also extends to their relationship with talent. And all of these companies adhere to the principles of leveraging storytelling, their dynamic journey and business innovation as a way to excite talent. (Find out more about these and other global businesses building their employer brands in our Standing Out report.)

a colorful approach to EB

AkzoNobel, for instance, is one of the global leaders in paints and coatings, and their passion for advancing the technology is reflected in their employer brand strategy. Marcin Skarbon, the global head of talent and development, explains that the company wants to leverage its employees to help tell the story at AkzoNobel, its impact on people’s lives and how society is better through paint innovation and creativity. Through such an effort, it hopes to attract highly engaged and excited workers.

“Focusing on our passion for paint, and the moments that matter within the employee experience, is at the forefront of our employer branding strategy. We want our employees to be ambassadors for the experience – if we get it right for them, they can help us to attract great talent,” Skarbon says. 

To reach local communities and help build its reputation among the labor markets there, the company is helping towns in artistic and inspirational ways, creating competition to develop new solutions around waste reduction and sustainability, and using social media to share these stories.

a dynamic way forward at Nestlé

Doing away with traditional job descriptions might sound antithetical to building a strong employer brand, but Nestlé’s Michael Deane believes job applicants are more interested in how they fit into the culture of the one of the world’s most well-known food brands than what a job description might say. As corporate head of recruitment marketing, employer branding and talent vendor management, Deane is adopting a highly dynamic approach to attracting talent by using testimonials, a day-in-the-life employee videos and other media to engage with job seekers.

“If we want to target the right people, we need to make these career communications relevant and compelling. So, if we’re looking to hire software engineers, for example, we don’t want to put out a lot of uninspiring job descriptions…,” Deane explains. “In the long run, I think that putting out detailed job descriptions will fall by the wayside because the people coming into the workforce want communications that grab their attention and bring the job and the company to life; they want to be able to picture themselves within the organization.”

This is just part of the effort to streamline Nestlé’s talent acquisition strategy and process. Additional efforts include measures to build a better candidate experience through the use of technology and locally based support resources. 

prioritizing people over cars

Volvo’s reputation for safe automobiles is well-known around the world, but its passion for people is even more of a priority at the car maker. Volvo’s culture stresses the value of its workforce and how they can help change the world through one safe vehicle at a time. And so Volvo’s employee value proposition makes clear the importance of people, as well as its responsible and sustainable business practices. As Malin Perlander Molén, Volvo’s director of global employer branding, says: “ Volvo Cars is a company with a long history, and from the very start our clear focus has been on people.”
Adhering to the company’s core values is an important way for the company to build its employer brand. While the auto industry is undergoing tremendous change, Molén says the family atmosphere has always been part of its appeal, and it will remain that way during today’s dynamic times. “And as Volvo Cars is a business made by people for people, we believe that the most relevant and authentic way to convey who we are and what we stand for is through the words of our employees,” Molén points out.

To ensure its employer brand is effective in the 30-plus countries where Volvo has a presence, Molén says the company has a global employer brand DNA that binds the separate businesses together. Activation and initiatives, however, are developed and executed locally so that the company remains relevant in these varying markets. The company also takes care to create networks and dialogues among its over 40,000 workers to help create authentic stories to be shared.

Creating a strong employer brand should be a priority for every business in today’s competitive labor market. Brand-building requires constant nurturing and investments for you to become an employer of choice. By following the examples outlined in our Standing Out report, you can enjoy the many benefits that only a successful reputation can deliver.