Gillian Horan: The Inside Story

by Gillian Horan, The Pudding Brand

The availability of talent is one of the biggest challenges facing businesses in Ireland and internationally. To attract the best, you need a strong employer brand. If they don’t know what it’s like to work for your company, you risk losing valuable candidates to other employers.

Companies such as Workday know this. It has featured on the Great Place to Work list for the past five years and this year was the second time it achieved the top spot. Last year’s winner, AbbVie, was ranked second, followed by Salesforce, Version 1 and HubSpot.

All of these organisations have strong employer brands. It is vital for businesses to invest in employer branding, particularly if they are growing globally or hiring from a younger demographic.

Professionals under the age of 40 are 61% more likely to consider employer brand when it comes to job opportunities. Research shows that half of candidates won’t consider working for a company with a bad employer brand, regardless of salary. With millennials due to make up 75% of the workforce by 2025, investment in employer branding is now more important than ever before.

So, what do brands need to do to attract the right talent? You must be relevant to your candidates before they even consider working for you. To do this, you will need an employer brand strategy and an employer value proposition (EVP) to take top talent off the market.

Simply put, your EVP should address the following:

• Why should someone come and work for your company?
• Why should they choose your company over any other?
• Apart from financial benefits, what can you offer?

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Look at ways to differentiate the employee experience you offer and get your current employees on board to establish if and why your business is such a great place to work. They can also validate your EVP to ensure it’s realistic. Your employer brand strategy must be implemented internally by:

• introducing career development initiatives;
• creating a training and coaching culture;
• communicating your employer brand internally and externally;
• introducing a careers website to tell everyone about why your company is the place to work.

The mistake companies sometimes make with regard to their employer brand is failing to define a clear value proposition that is genuinely attractive for talent. It needs to be authentic. You need to be able to live and breathe it, so it is not just about values written on a wall. And it needs to be on the agenda at board level. Attracting, recruiting and retaining talent is costly and if it is not centred around the EVP, the process can become even more costly.

If you have a strong, clear message, you will be more likely to attract the right audience quickly. Your recruitment costs will drop, because you are not sifting through hundreds of CVs or interviewing the wrong type of candidate. Best of all, your new hires will already have started to onboard long before they accept a new position.

It is critical to involve your executive team in defining your EVP and don’t be afraid to go companywide. Profile your team on the online career page; video them. Give potential candidates an insight into your employer brand, before they ever set foot in your office.