Over the past few years, there has been a significant shift in the recruitment market that many have found hard to ignore. While the client might have once been the driving force during the hiring process, it seems that the roles have now reversed with today’s candidates now calling more of the shots.
With the current talent shortage playing a key role in this dramatic change, skilled and experienced candidates are now spoilt for choice when it comes to potential roles. So much choice in fact, that many are taking advantage of this opportunity to ask for higher and more competitive salaries, flexible working options and larger bonuses.
While this might be great news for candidates, it has led to increased competition between employers with many struggling to secure the top talent they require. If one company isn’t able to provide the attractive perks that a candidate is asking for, they could find that they lose out to a competitor who can. Another downside is that their existing teams might jump ship in search of bigger and better opportunities elsewhere, adding even more pressure onto the company.
The talent shortage is showing no signs of stopping any time soon, which has led many companies to start questioning how they can overcome the competition to attract talent whilst also keeping their existing teams intact. Thankfully, there is a potential solution: your employer brand.
In the simplest of terms, your employer brand is how you are perceived as an employer and is largely based on your company culture and the treatment of your current and former employees. It might not necessarily seem like the most obvious way of navigating a talent shortage, but your employer brand can be a powerful tool for you to utilise during these uncertain times.
Recent research by LinkedIn has found that a whopping 82% of candidates are investing more time into researching a company’s reputation and values before applying for roles. This is a number that has increased by 7% over the past five years and indicates that candidates are not just interested in working for the companies that offer them the highest salaries. Instead, they want to work for employers that share their values and take an interest in their company culture and employee satisfaction.
This is further proven in a study by Glassdoor, where 50% of the candidates they surveyed said they wouldn't work for a company with a “bad” reputation, even if they were offered a pay increase. In addition to this, 92% of candidates said they would consider changing jobs if they were offered a role at a company that had an excellent corporate reputation.
But that’s not all, there are also financial gains to be had. A strong employer brand can reduce a company’s cost per hire by as much as 50%, whereas having a negative reputation can cost them 10% more per hire, according to recent studies. With so much current economic uncertainty, it’s understandable that many companies would rather reduce costs than increase them.
To determine the current health of your employer brand, it’s wise to do an audit. Your first port of call should be metrics from your current team. High levels of employee engagement, referrals for roles and low turnover rates are some of the biggest indicators that an employer brand is thriving because they highlight existing brand loyalty and job satisfaction. If your metrics are showing the opposite, this is a strong sign that more work is needed on improving your employer brand.
Another way to monitor your employer brand is to look at your recruitment metrics. From low number of applications for your roles to decreasing acceptance rates and rising costs per hire, these metrics can all highlight that your reputation is having a detrimental impact on your company’s hiring process.
The quality of the candidates applying to your roles can also provide useful insights. If you’re regularly getting applications from high quality candidates, this shows that your employer brand is aligned with the talent you want to attract. Whereas if you’re only getting low-quality candidates, this could mean there’s confusion with what your company stands for and represents.
In addition to looking at your company metrics, you should also conduct internal and external research by asking for feedback from prospective candidates and your current employees and by learning more about your online and social media presence. This too can provide invaluable insights on where your strengths are and where you can improve your reputation.
Your current team are your secret weapon when it comes to making improvements to your employer brand. A study by Edelman found that employee insights are three times more likely to be trusted by candidates than a CEO when it comes to talking about a company’s working conditions and culture. So not including your employees in the process could actually be putting you at a disadvantage during the talent shortage.
Companies can utilise their employee’s positive experiences by sharing them on their social channels, whilst also encouraging them to interact with your company by reposting job ads, writing reviews or commenting on company updates. Glassdoor studies have found that 68% of Millennials, 54% of Gen-Xers, and 48% of Boomers will visit an employer's social channels, specifically to analyse the employer's brand. So having these genuine and authentic insights and interactions available for candidates to see online can be a simple way of showing that you’re a trusted employer.
Asking for feedback from your employees, whether during meeting or via anonymous feedback forms can also provide you with helpful insights on where your strengths and weaknesses are. Afterall, who better than to tell you what it’s like to work at your company than the people you employ. But just getting the feedback is not enough. You should be regularly following up on their ideas and comments and showing that you’re making improvements.
Doing this can improve your employer brand in several ways. It provides you with an opportunity to make changes that benefit everyone, but it also helps your team feel valued and appreciated which can help to increase employee engagement and satisfaction, as well as retention rates.
The talent shortage will undoubtedly be putting pressure on companies across all industries right now. But putting time and effort into enhancing your employer brand and how you’re perceived will ensure your company are increasing their chances of attracting the very best of the best during these uncertain times.