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Is Your Brand Helping or Hurting Recruitment & Retention?

Most companies understand the value of having a well-built brand. Thoughtful and consistent brand strategy and brand management drive customer loyalty, boost profits, and create longevity in company recognition. But while most companies have at least some core brand values and messaging, a small percentage are actually leveraging that branding in all areas of their business. The ancillary operations of companies often go untouched by their branding and none more-so than employee recruitment and retention.

A survey of more than 52,000 workers carried out by PwC Global in March 2022 found that 1 in 5 workers globally is planning on quitting their job in 2022, and the term “The Great Resignation” was coined in April 2021 as a record 4 million Americans quit their jobs. As the landscape of work continues to drastically change, and workers increasingly expect more from their employers, evaluating your company's internal brand strategy is critical in order to attract and retain the right employees.

Hiring & Retention In 2022

Hiring new employees can be a Herculean effort, sucking up a lot of time, energy, and resources. You can spend months going through the process of developing job descriptions, creating job postings, sorting through resumes, and interviewing, only to lose your new hire soon after onboarding. Though there are many hiring tools that can help streamline the recruitment process, many employers are missing a key element to hiring – their brand.

In a 2022 survey of over 2,500 millennial and Gen Z jobseekers, 72% stated they “have felt a sense of surprise or regret that a new job or company was very different from what they were led to believe.” Many job seekers are attracted to specific companies based on brand messaging that aligns with their personal values and lifestyle, but feel the rug has been pulled out from under them when they get hired by a company who’s brand they trusted, only to find that that brand messaging does not extend to the work culture.

That’s why building your brand isn’t just about connecting with customers – it’s about connecting with your employees, and future employees, too. Building a brand that authentically reflects who you are as an employer is just as important as authentically showing who you are as a customer-facing business. And attracting the right employee talent for your company relies on it.

Employee Turnover Is Costing You

In 2017, the Society for Human Resource Management reported that “on average it costs a company 6 to 9 months of an employee’s salary” to replace them. If your average employee is making $60,000 per year that means you’re spending $30,000 to $45,000 to hire and train their replacement.

And the financial hit isn’t always the biggest cost of high employee turnover. High turnover also disrupts company workflow and team dynamics and degrades overall staff morale by putting extra strain on team members who pick up the slack when their co-workers quit. This often leads to burnout and a domino effect of resignations. When turnover becomes a problem at a company, employers often make the mistake of placing blame on the employee instead of introspecting to figure out what they can do to make their company a more desirable place to work.

The truth is, not every employee who leaves was a bad employee – it may just be that your company simply wasn’t the right fit for them. This is why employer branding is critical to a company’s continued success. According to a survey conducted by LinkedIn of more than 7,000 workers, a strong employer brand reduces a company's turnover rate by 28% and cost-per-hire by 50%.

Employer branding is vital to attracting quality candidates who line up with your company and who can easily identify with your brand messaging. And the bonus? Retaining employees who love your company improves your company’s public image as well, which in turn boosts marketing efforts and overall success.

Hiring the “New” Workforce

Millennials and Gen-Z already make up more than half of the global workforce and will shape the recruitment and work world for decades to come. These younger generations are pushing back against long-held Boomer and Gen-X expectations of the workplace and forcing companies to think beyond generic hiring messaging to attract their talent.

Millennials and Gen-Z also care about brand messaging and company authenticity more than any of the generations before them. Research shows that while salary is still the most important deciding factor for taking a job, both Gen-Z and millennials value salary less than every generation before them when it comes to selecting a job. In fact, if it’s a choice between a higher salary but boring job they aren’t passionate about, or a lower salary and more interesting work that aligns with who they are, 50% of Gen Z-ers will go with the lower paying job. 20% of millennial and Gen-Z jobseekers also say they would leave a job in a month or less if it did not align with how it was initially presented during the hiring process.

As a business owner, you should look at the hiring process as an opportunity to lay out your brand and show how it aligns with each aspect of your company culture. Of course, the hiring process is the time for you to thoroughly interview potential new employees, but you should also consider it a time for potential new employees to interview you. The initial stages of recruitment are the ideal time for your brand to shine, and if you have a comprehensive brand strategy in place, you should be able to present your company’s essence authentically and transparently to jobseekers.

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Here’s the part where most companies fail when it comes to creating a strong employer brand. Once you’ve done all the legwork of leveraging your brand in order to attract the best new hires from that big stack of resumes, you have to deliver. Employer branding cannot just be lip service. There is no faster way to lose an employee who might have been a major asset to your business for years to come if you do not follow through with the brand messaging they aligned with in the first place during their job search and recruitment.

Don’t waste your resources developing a strong employer brand just for the optics. Great visuals and smooth copy are part and parcel of the brand experience, but without a brand strategy and savvy brand management to help you execute the true guiding principles of your brand in every aspect of your employee’s work experience, you’ll continue to lose good team members – and time and money.

Essentially, you can’t just talk about your brand -you have to be it. And this means that your branding has to reach all levels of your company – from the mailroom to the CEO, reflected in every policy, system, and initiative. The employee experience of your brand is filtered through your management. Programs that coach management to effectively and authentically communicate and make good on the values and culture your brand promises are essential. If your managers aren’t fostering your employer brand and delivering those brand values to lower-level employees, then you will lose team members who initially may have been excited to contribute to your company in meaningful ways and be an innovator and campaigner for your brand mission.

Conclusion

Full integration of a strong employer brand is a critical part of company branding and company recruitment and retention. When you hire a new employee, they should be able to experience your brand culture in every aspect and interaction with your company.

Attention paid to your employer brand is just as valuable as attention paid to your customer-facing brand. The authenticity, transparency, and consistency of your brand plus adept brand management play a vital part in hiring and retaining the best talent. Remember, your employee’s success is your success, so your brand should work for them too.