Elevating Employer Branding

Organizations are now looking to RPO to effectively communicate their corporate reputation—and it’s working.

By Gary Bragar

Employer branding has become an integral piece to an effective talent strategy since it’s synonymous with a company’s reputation as an employer. It portrays the image of what the company is like to work for. The purpose of properly conveying and clearly communicating an employer’s brand is essential to attract, engage, develop, and retain the best talent for your organization.

Why is improving an employer’s brand so important? By properly reflecting the company’s image and what it is like to work for, higher quality talent will be attracted to the organization—and will be likely to stay. Bad hiring decisions can be attributed in part to improper alignment of potential candidates and organizational values and culture. This often results in high employee turnover.

But, if an employer’s brand is in alignment with what a candidate is seeking, employee turnover can be reduced by nearly two-thirds. Lower turnover results in saving the company time and money from the cost of re-hiring, lost productivity, and potentially lost revenue.

NelsonHall began covering the recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) market in 2007 and at the time, 53 percent of RPO vendors provided employer branding as a service. In 2009, the market share jumped to 88 percent. Today all vendors offer employer branding to keep up with demand: In 2014, 56 percent of RPO contracts listed employer branding as service to be delivered and 60 percent of RPO contracts in 2015 are expected to include employer branding.

Employer branding enables recruiters to attract
talent since it makes it easier to approach candidates. Organizations with a best-in-class employer brand will experience better responsiveness to emails, application rates, confirmation of interviews, acceptance of offers, and employee referrals—all leading to increased retention of talent.

Organizations can take several steps to improve their employer brand. Surveys are a good start. Organizations can survey and host focus groups of recent graduates, candidates, and recent hires to find out why they are looking at certain companies. This could dive deep
into the recruitment process itself, and the onboarding process. Internal surveys are conducted to understand why top performers stay and what is key to keeping them. Customer surveys can help drive what consumers think about the brand versus competitors. Organizations can also analyze data to gain insight into website effectiveness and traffic: how candidates link to the career website, how many pages are viewed, and when candidates opt out.

RPO vendors help to convey employer branding through the marketing of recruitment campaigns, including campus recruiting and communicating the brand in advertising. Employer branding is an opportunity for organizations to identify and promote their employee value proposition through social media, search engines, networking sites, and the company’s own employment and career sections.

Vendors also help with high-touch responsiveness to candidates. Recruiters provide branded scripts of how the company wants to present itself when speaking with candidates. Plus, many companies do not do a good
job of responding to applicants in a timely fashion, if 
at all. It is important to remember that every candidate is a potential customer. RPO vendors can ensure all candidates are responded to within a certain timeframe.

In terms of the creative aspects of employer branding, some clients have their own small team of internal graphic designers. Partnerships are also used with advertising agencies that help with creative deliverables, and RPO providers will work with them on behalf of the client, including how to communicate employer branding.

The benefits of working with an RPO provider on employer branding strategy include improved client brand and image and increased ability to convey brand and employee value proposition. Prospective candidates are provided with the answers of why they would want to work at a certain organization due to its company values, culture, career path, compensation, and benefits.

Clients also experience an improved client website and candidate application process leading to consistency to market. This results in a better and more satisfied pipeline of candidates that really understand what the company is like to work for. This helps to ensure the right job match and better employee retention, further improving the company image while saving recruitment dollars.

Per NelsonHall’s latest RPO research published in the first quarter of 2015, employer branded career sites are the third top sourcing channel, behind employee referrals and LinkedIn. The ability to provide broader HR services, including talent management services and employer branding, is one of the top drivers of RPO. Developing a talent pool and improving a client’s employer brand are top critical success factors for a successful RPO engagement.

Demonstrated employer branding metrics include:

  • Reduced hiring manager interview-to-hire ratio;
  • Improved quality of hire;
  • Increased candidate engagement;
  • Increased candidate, new hire, and hiring manager satisfaction;
  • Improved new hire performance;
  • Reduced employee turnover;
  • Cost reductions;
  • Improved productivity; and
  • Increased profitability.

The bottom line: The impact of increased focus on employer branding will be the ability to attract the right talent who will then be engaged, leading to increased employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, productivity, sales, and reduced attrition. This all means the ever-important cost savings for the company.

Gary Bragar is HR outsourcing research director of NelsonHall. 

Posted March 20, 2015 in RPO & Staffing

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