Every interaction a potential or existing employee has with you is an opportunity to strengthen your brand—or weaken it. Which direction it takes is based on how your organization treats the relationship as a whole. The employer-employee relationship is based not only on touchpoints or milestones such as job offers, reviews, promotions, layoffs, and exit interviews, but also on all the moments in-between. Let’s take a look at how to build your employer branding strategy throughout the employee lifecycle.
Recruiting and Hiring
Imagine having a candidate you choose not to hire becoming an advocate of your brand. It can happen, and you can see the evidence on review sites such as Glassdoor. The converse is also true. Word can spread about a poor interview experience, lack of communication, or insulting rejection letters, which can affect not only future hiring by deterring quality candidates from applying, but also your customer base. Virgin Media lost about $5 million in revenue in a year due to its poor candidate experience, as a large percentage of its candidates were also customers—who then switched to other providers.
Implementing policies and procedures for nurturing candidates from the moment they apply through to the moment you either offer or decline them a job and beyond is an easy step that will more than return on its investment. Candidate experience tools are another way to help cultivate the employer-employee relationship with those you don’t hire, by providing resources for those candidates to improve their job seeker skills and continue their search. With this offering, your organization demonstrates that it cares about their future, is a high-caliber employer, and is a brand worth supporting—all of which build employer brand
Internal Mobility and Upskilling
Some companies think that their responsibility for nurturing employees is over once they’ve onboarded them. But caring for your employees goes beyond providing a salary and benefits. Providing opportunities for improving or acquiring new skills and to move about the organization both laterally and vertically creates an environment where employees feel inspired to grow their careers with you. Employees lacking opportunities to move and grow within the organization will likely move on to external opportunities within a few years. Those frequent departures increase the costs of hiring, onboarding and training as new employees are brought in from outside the organization.
You may be surprised by the many skills your employees have that are not necessarily applicable to their current roles. Having an internal mobility strategy helps an organization make the best use of the talent it already has by logging employees’ skills, experience and interests so that they can be found when the need arises. When a company uses its own talent, there are added benefits. In addition to reduced costs of hiring and onboarding, talent from within the organization will already have knowledge of the company that can bring helpful insight to a new role. A company using a career mobility system also has the opportunity to build its leadership from within as employees move up the ranks and across the organization, taking with them the culture and values that have been ingrained from the start. Plus, employees at all levels stay motivated and engaged, knowing that they can continue to contribute to the company’s success, while also advancing their skills and developing their careers. Happy employees can be your best brand ambassadors, so cultivating their careers is a win-win strategy, and a boost to your employer branding
Of course, some employees will leave your organization, either by choice, or through a reduction in force (RIF) or other event. How those departures are handled can strongly affect your employer brand. Consider these events at the end of the employee lifecycle when thinking about how to build your employer branding strategy. Communicating news of the departures internally must be done carefully and transparently, before negative messaging has an opportunity to spread throughout and outside the company. If you have a layoff event, preparation and an established process will help you retain the respect of your employees and your brand reputation. Supporting your impacted employees following a layoff is just as important as it is to nurture them throughout the hiring process and during their tenure with your company. Providing outplacement services, which includes one-on-one career coaching and job seeker resources and tools, demonstrates that you care about the welfare of your employees even after they depart. Providing outplacement services also gives them a faster path forward to meaningful new employment, and can help you maintain a positive relationship with them. Through effective communication and considerations for your departing and remaining employees, you can build your employer brand, even during offboarding.
How to Build Your Employer Branding Strategy: A Summary
Implementing new engagement programs for all stages of the employee lifecycle can build your employer brand with immeasurable payoff. Once these programs are in place, using them and making them a standard part of your hiring and management procedures is easy. Best of all, you’ll gain a motivated and engaged workforce and retain respect for your brand—both of which can only contribute to further success.