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Market Bytes - February 26, 2024

The Importance of Finding The Truth in Your Employer Brand

“The candidate should want to work for us”…

This is a throwaway statement we sometimes hear in the talent acquisition sector, and its existence points to much wider issues with businesses that are struggling to hire.

In today’s job market, especially in niche sectors such as Technology and Digital, employers that aim to be truly successful in their objectives need to treat the candidate market much like a consumer audience they are seeking to entice. Central to this scenario is the significance of the difference between Employer Value Proposition and Employer Brand. The first of which consists of the deliberate steps an employer takes to build a perception and experience, and the second is essentially the impression the market has of you. The interesting thing is how different the two can be, yet they are often conflated. The critical part and where the work needs to happen is aligning them both, which is where employers can make significant headway in a number of ways.

There are a host of factors to consider in this respect:

  • The vast majority of candidates an employer is seeking to attract are not actively looking.
  • Employers need to engage and attract the interest of potential candidates as proactively as possible.
  • Employers need to have a defined, compelling narrative as to why someone would want to work for them, rather than the competition.
  • Employers need to back this up with positive candidate experience (CX) and onboarding experiences to ensure conversion.
  • Overall, candidates are far more picky of vision, values, company culture, and career visibility.

The process of hiring someone is a real change curve. Employers must accept the reality of the modern marketplace. To contextualize this, across a typical hiring process, a candidate will start as a stranger, move to a visitor, then prospect, applicant, candidate, and hire. This is the psychological process of any successful end-to-end hire as most strong candidates targeted are not active candidates. Approximately 80% of all candidates hired in niche areas like Digital and Technology are passive and in hot demand. A typical software engineer, for instance, may receive up to five opportunities per week.

To put some additional commercial context around this:

  • 87% say they see a rise in application based on a strong talent brand
  • Speeds up time to hire by x2%

The process of Employer brand management is the process of aligning the employer brand with the EVP (employer value proposition) through activities aimed at promoting, developing, or executing on the promise.

Building your EVP:

  • Be clear on your customer value proposition and corporate values
  • Understand the experience you actually provide to your Talent Acquisition team as an employer.
  • Understand what your core target talent is really looking for and what your competition offers
  • Establish your authentic, distinctive, and compelling message to market regarding your brand promises to be.

There are massive downstream benefits to investing in a strong EVP that will lead to a better employer brand that many employers appear to be blind to. One of these is operational fitness in that more engaged employees drive greater productivity, quality of service, and innovation. Also, optimizing your cost to hire and rehire through more effective methodology has a positive impact on operational margins.

In 2023 there will be winners and losers in the war on talent. While salaries and benefits need to be competitive, the winners will be those that don’t make assumptions, recognize they need to work at switching the loyalty of the talent they seek to attract and back this up with positive action. In a candidate-driven market where top talent is in high demand, employers need to focus on building a strong Employer Value Proposition (EVP) and aligning it with their Employer Brand and working on all the steps in between to get there as proactively as possible.