Employer branding is a concept invented to help companies brand themselves as employers of choice for and by their employees in order to grow and expand. Therefore, an employer brand turns into the company’s reputation. A good one will attract top talent who are one profound driver of success for any company. A bad one, on the other hand, will not just draw great candidates away but will fail at retaining the company’s very own employees.
In our previous story on employer branding, we demonstrated six steps companies should take before they implement their employer branding campaigns. These steps are necessary to assess how employees perceive their company and whether or not this perception is enough for branding the company.
This special kind of company assessment occurs by conducting many surveys to test employee engagement in the company and the value they receive from it versus what they expect to get. It is also essential to check how much employees are aware of and aligned with the company culture and whether or not the company management itself complies with this culture.
Based on the results of these surveys, companies can then start making the necessary modifications and changes in order to increase employee engagement to the level that makes employees feel appreciated and motivated to work for them. That is when and only when companies are ready to undertake an employer branding strategy given that employees, by this time, will be willing to take responsibility for branding their companies to the outside world.
In this article, we are going to continue our journey by demonstrating a simple strategy for employer branding, that is, what exactly companies can and should do in order to brand themselves as employers of choice. So bring yourself a cup of coffee and read on.
Employer branding strategy
Employer branding is mainly done online, basically on social media websites where you, as a company owner, can get in touch with and communicate the awesomeness of your company to anyone in the world. That said, your primary focus must, indeed, be LinkedIn. If you are targeting top talent in your industry, then you have to go to where they are all concentrated!
After you have done all the work needed to boost employee engagement and optimise a value proposition that meets your employees’ expectations and matches the company vision, your company is currently ready to apply the employer branding strategy.
This strategy is developed and implemented by two teams, the professionals team and the brand ambassadors team.
The professional team is the group of people in your company who plan and execute everything in your employer branding campaign. For the most part, this team is made of HR but can also include members from other teams in the company. They were the people who ran the surveys we mentioned in our previous story, did the interviews and cooperated with the top management to modify or create the company culture and outline the new value proposition.
Those professionals usually take most of the online campaign responsibility. One part of this is teaching the brand ambassadors on how to best use LinkedIn to brand the company. But the professionals are also in charge of a whole bunch of other tasks to create a profound online existence for the company and use it as a channel to communicate with the world.
The brand ambassadors, on the other hand, are the employees for whom all of the changes were made. They are the ones who spread the word about your company by sharing insights into how outstanding it is to work there. When this is done honestly and genuinely, it can have a tremendous impact on attracting top talent to the company.
Now let’s look into what precisely the team of professionals do, which also incorporates what the brand ambassadors do, in order to execute the employer branding strategy.
1. Training the brand ambassadors
The team of professionals must first start by encouraging all employees to get on LinkedIn, their first and foremost channel to connect with the world, or to update their profiles if they are already on the platform.
For that, professionals can host tutorials in order to teach all employees, the old ones and the just-hired ones, how they can build strong LinkedIn profiles. These tutorials, whether they take place during lunch breaks, after working hours, or at weekends, must be comprehensive and closely show the necessary steps to achieve an all-star profile status.
An all-star profile, as LinkedIn itself defines it, is one that is, “complete, engaging, and professional.” In other words, it contains all the necessary useful information, added according to experts’ recommendations, that showcases the employee’s best skills.
All-star profiles are significant for both employees’ own personal brands and their employer’s brands. Such profiles are more discoverable, which translates to a bigger reach and broader audience. Looking professional already, all-star profiles make it easy for employees to network with and therefore communicate their value and pretty much whatever they want to experts, professionals and top talent in their industries.
In this context, all-star LinkedIn profiles, for instance, must have professional headshots of the employees where their faces take up 70-80% of the photos. Selfies, portraits or even black and white photos, on the other hand, kill the profile’s strength.
Other things that must be included in such a profile include a high-quality header picture, a catchy header, and a comprehensive summary of who the employee is and what makes them stand out. They must also add their detailed employment history and focus on their achievements in every job instead of their duties, their education, skills, recommendations, endorsements and contact information.
Interestingly, there is a profile-strength indicator on LinkedIn that shows how strong and professional the profile is getting the more work is done on it. This is something professionals can use to encourage employees to update and develop their profiles. In fact, they can turn the whole thing into a fun activity.
For instance, professionals can run a contest among employees and reward the first three to create all-star profiles. They may promise to throw the entire team a party if all members finish their profiles in a day or two. The bottom line is strong LinkedIn profiles are a must for employer branding, and every brand ambassador must have one.
Now that the employees’ LinkedIn profiles are rocking, the next step is to start networking with the outside professional world, and the first thing employees should do here is to grow their connections. This surely does not mean they connect with whoever they come across on the platform. Instead, they must connect with the right people working in the same industry and preferably those who have professional profiles and work for competitors.
Professionals must also encourage employees to follow influencers on LinkedIn and connect with them in the right way, join groups and engage with their colleagues and connections by liking, commenting on and sharing their posts.
One of the most essential and highly effective things employees can do to boost employer branding is to post content on their all-star profiles about their company. This may be in the form of pictures, high-quality ones for sure, from inside the company and short posts about what they appreciate about it.
Employees may also write long articles about the environment and culture of the company, how much they grew since they started working there or pretty much any positive things that show what it is like to work for this company.
The Internet is filled to the brim with tips on how to craft unique LinkedIn posts and how to make them engaging and more reachable. For instance, adding pictures to posts and articles makes them get twice as many comments. Videos were found to get posts 1.5 more shares. Professionals must be aware of these tricks, pass them on to employees and encourage them to research and use more ways to promote their content and, therefore, their employer brand.
Posting content about the company is the fastest way to spread the word about it, widens its online presence and helps it be reached by and attract the top talent this entire employer branding strategy is targeting.
That said, while professionals encourage employees to do all of these things, they should never force them and rather help this cooperation come naturally.
2. Involving the top management
Just because the employer branding strategy seems to be the work of the company’s professionals and brand ambassadors does not mean it is limited to them. The campaign, in fact, must also involve the top management, which can encourage employees even more to follow suit and leverage their LinkedIn usage.
Professionals should motivate top management to lead by example. Managers can get involved by updating their LinkedIn profiles as well, posting about the company’s progress, achievements, changes and celebrations on a regular basis.
3. Digitalising the company’s existence
No company can now have a physical existence and not go online, or what would the purpose of posting content about it be if no one can reach it? This, let me tell you, is going to kill the integrity of the employees’ efforts to promote the company.
That is why the professionals need to digitalise the company’s existence, that is, to create a company page on LinkedIn, which employees are then going to follow and connect with. This page, in and of itself, is going to be the company’s online interface, the window that connects it with its target audience, and that is why it must be built thoroughly.
Like employees’ profiles, there is a comprehensive guide on how to create a professional company page on LinkedIn. First and foremost, it must be updated with clear, genuine and precise information about every aspect of the company, which must be added to the correct sections or tabs on the company page.
For instance, there is the About page or the Overview page, which must be filled with a summary about the company, including information about its industry, mission, specialities, size, where the headquarters is located and whether or not it has locations elsewhere in the world. The company’s website, as well as contact information, must also be added to this page.
Next, there is the Posts page, where the professionals should post genuine content about the company. This may include any updates, big or small, made in the company, articles that show the projects the company is undertaking, the milestones it has achieved, or the goals it is moving toward.
Such content should, for sure, be professionally written, error-free and incorporating high-quality photos. Adding slides and videos is also highly recommended as they promote whatever content they are added to.
Then, there is the Jobs section, where the company should post its new jobs. The Life section, the next one, is home to everything related to the top management, the teams, and their interactions, as well as the company vision, mission and values. This section can then be a reflection of the company’s unique culture.
Professionals can also create the People page to add information about everyone working in the company. That is like building a simplified data sheet to give insights into the talent working in this company, their roles, skills, expertise, and so on.
Now that the company has gone live on LinkedIn, it is vital to embed a follow button on the company’s website to direct its visitors to the LinkedIn page.
4. Posting content regularly
What the professional team needs to do next is create and post original content on its LinkedIn page to increase the audience awareness of the company’s brand, improve visibility, and reach a broader audience.
So here are a few things the company’s professionals need to do in order to nail posting content:
- Brainstorm content ideas and types.
- Create an editorial calendar to organise content and stay on track.
- Post up to three times per day.
- Be responsive and always reply to comments and questions.
It is crucial to vary the types of content posted on a daily basis. Every piece should be authentic and valuable, communicate the company’s values, reflect its brand, and attract a new audience. It is also essential to encourage employees to engage with these posts by liking, commenting on and sharing them on their pages.
5. Boosting job interest
After some time, the company will have developed a notable online presence on LinkedIn, and that is when it can seek top talent by opening new job opportunities and posting them on its Jobs page.
So what does a compelling job description look like?
Well, as LinkedIn suggests, it is better to stick with standard job titles in order for the job posted to reach more candidates.
When writing the description, and besides adding job requirements, the professionals should showcase the company’s newly elevated and unique culture, which was already modified to attract top talent.
In other words, they have to demonstrate what working in this company is like, the company’s values, the value proposition the company’s current employees enjoy and what benefits the new employees will get.
6. Empowering new employees
Once the hiring process is completed and the onboarding journey starts, the professionals need to take good care of the new employees while familiarising them with what has officially become their new work environment as this is time to keep all the promises they made in the job description.
First off, they need to introduce the new employees to the company culture with all its components, from the mission and vision to the culture code and values. They must explain that these are the rules that run everything in the company and that everyone should comply with and respect them.
Then the professionals have to show the new employees what it is like to be part of this great culture. Besides demonstrating what is expected from them, they also have to list all the benefits they will get in return. They also need to introduce the actions the company takes to boost employee engagement, which will hopefully make them, too, engaged, feel cared for, and appreciated so they themselves can become brand ambassadors.
Employer branding is a potential game-changer for every company. It does not just help companies assess their operations and how things are usually done there so they can make the necessary improvements to become their employees’ employers of choice, but it also enables companies to grow, attract top talent and achieve more and more success.