Building a powerful employer brand is imperative for an employer to attract the best talent to their organization, become an employer of choice and retain their employees. These  2019 Top Companies are competitive when it comes to building their employer brands that resonate emotionally with their candidates and inspire and engage their employees. While you embark on your journey to build your employer brand here are some basic essentials for you to become successful in your employer branding efforts.

Make Employer Branding an Executive Priority

In order for the employer branding to truly become the core of talent attraction strategy, you need to have a buy-in from the top. Have your executive team involved in your employee branding journey right from the beginning. It starts from building a clear and compelling EVP (Employee Value Proposition) and getting the help of your executive team to amplify the messaging internally and externally and get your employees to involve in your employee advocacy initiatives. “HRO Today” found that companies with strong brands are significantly more likely to have the CEO or president as the most senior sponsor of employer branding activity. 

Instead of looking at Employer branding as a project or a marketing push to boost the reach and reputation of the company, use it as your company’s DNA with a strong EVP to help attract the talent. Developing a strong employer brand reputation requires consistent, targeted, long-term effort. It goes a long way if you have an executive sponsor who can help get all the senior leaders involve in your efforts.

Strategic Communication is Key

Take a data-driven approach in strategically communicating to your target audience. When it comes to content and messaging, what content you think attracts the candidates can be entire differently from what content candidates value and or looking for.  While you work on your brand messaging, or the content that you want to highlight on your careers site or promote on your social media campaigns, look for what information that attracts candidates. Do a survey with your job applicants and take time to research and understand what information your target audience is looking for, so you can best communicate that information strategically. For example, if most of your target candidates are medical professionals and if they value Health Benefits the most, make sure you are highlighting your Health and wellness benefits on your career site to make it easier for them to see.

This applies to your recruiting efforts too.  Make sure your communication resonates with your target audience and their needs. Create candidate personas for your key positions, understand what they value the most and develop content that speaks specifically to them. Check out here to learn more about  how to use candidate personas to attract the right talent.

Activate Your Secret Weapon - Employee Ambassadors 

Your employees are the real difference makers in your employer branding journey where your audience wants to hear from them and their experience of working at your organization. So put your employees in the spotlight, train them on how to use social media, help them to tap into their network and encourage them to share their work-life with their friends and followers. Amplify your employer brand stories by turning your  employees into social media ambassadors

The more your employees share content on what it is really like to work at your organization, the more visibility for your employer brand that helps attract new talent who can resonate with your brand. When your employees become your social media ambassadors and when they comment, like or share any content online, that increases your company’s virtual presence with no cost and marketing at its best.

Build an  employee advocacy program to make it more strategic and structured. And keep in mind, if you want your employees to become social media ambassadors, and engage with content, lead by example. Start having your leadership team get more socially involved and you will see more employees wants to involve. 

Collaborate Cross Functionally

When it comes to communicating and strengthening your employer branding it is wise to involve and get the buy-in from your marketing and communications team. Collaborate with them in your employer branding strategy and get their help to cross promote your employer branding efforts. Using some of their content can help you kick off things pretty easily.  The marketing team knows more about understanding your audience and communications team are experts in creating a compelling branding message and together they can help you build an outstanding employer branding campaign.  Adam Sunman, Employer Branding and Social Media Lead at Vodafone says,  “Marketing’s vested interest in our employer brand refresh was invaluable to our success. We also found it vital to work with the communications teams, who ensured that the messaging was on point”.

While your consumer is the king in the corporate branding world, what if you have your candidates and potential employees in that consumer pool. And if they see an entirely different employer branding message that doesn’t align with your consumer brand then chances are they won’t believe in whatever message you are trying to project out there. You may have different product lines under one umbrella but when it comes to working at your organization the employee experience and employer branding message have to be inclusive and represent the whole company. Collaborating with your corporate branding team helps make sure your employer branding message aligns with your corporate brand values.

Build Engagement 

Studies show that  69% are likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand.  It can be responding to Glassdoor reviews, coming up with real and authentic behind-the-scene content about your workplace, sharing updates on what it’s like to work at your organization, letting your audience learn more about your corporate culture and consistently engaging your audience on social media platforms. It takes commitment and a real dedication to bring everything to life.  Keep in mind, this is an external-facing effort as much as you want to involve your employees. Any inconsistency or pitfalls can negatively impact but at the same time if you maintain your branding presence consistently the results can be tenfold. 

Keep it real and authentic when you share any content about your workplace and work environment. Get rid of all the istock pictures and rather use your employees' picture that shows the real, raw, and not polished truth about what it is like to work at your organization. 

Nisha Raghavan is the Talent Attraction and Employer Branding Specialist at the American Heart Association. Prior to this, she worked in the telecommunications and Media industry to help attract, engage and retain talent. She writes about her Global HR experiences at her blog Your HR Buddy!!  Connect with her on LinkedIn, Facebook & on twitter at @TheHrbuddy

Nisha will be joining Talent Acquisition Week, this January 28-30, 2020 in San Francisco as the Emcee for the Employer Branding Strategies Conference. Don't miss her!