Employer branding as a hiring moat in competitive times

Mike and Gunjan, friends from college caught up after 7 years since graduation.

Scenario 1 :

Mike : Hey Gunjan, where are you working these days?

Gunjan : I’m working at LinkedIn

Mike : Wow, that’s really a cool place to work, will you refer me for a position there?

Employer branding discussion

Scenario 2:

Mike: Hey Gunjan, where are you working these days?

Gunjan: I’m working at CloudBits (A name that John is not aware of)

Mike: Oh okay! that’s nice (and immediately changed the topic)

The lack of interest in Scenario 2 is what we’ll call a lack of the company’s employer brand.

An employer brand consists of every touchpoint a company has with its candidates and employees, from the first messages they send to candidates, to their employees’ exit interviews and how people outside the company perceive it.

“Consumer brands where the prospective employee has been a customer often has the stronger employer branding.”

Employer branding is not about misleading people into thinking that a company is better than it actually is. It is about defining your Unique Employee Value Proposition

What unique set of benefits do you offer employees in return for the skills, capabilities, and experience they’ll bring to your company?

Let’s look at a few stats — good, bad, and moderate.

  1. 95% of candidates identify a company’s reputation as a key consideration when exploring new career opportunities.
  2. 66% of job seekers want to learn about your culture and values.
  3. 69% of candidates would reject an offer from a company with a bad employer brand, even if they were unemployed.
  4. Companies with not so highlighting employer brand must offer a minimum of a 10% pay increase to lure top talent.
  5. 40% of passive candidates would accept a new position without an increase in pay if the company had a good employer brand.
  6. As much as 23% of the 18–34 years old workforce would accept a pay cut for an opportunity to join a company with a good employer brand.

All these facts tell tales of the immense impact of employer brand could have.

In the era of rapid change in the job market, it is very important for a company to brand itself for talent attraction, talent satisfaction, and most importantly talent retention.

Employer Branding can have a huge impact on hiring, retention & eventually profitability.

Impact of Employer Brand on hiring and retention

Ref: Employer branding and its influence on employee retention: A literature review

The dream, of every HR department, is to reverse the struggle to find talent and instead, let them be the ones to seek out companies with an attractive employer brand and corporate culture. Having a strong employer brand that prospective candidates can access at any time, especially online, allows them to see their potential fit within your company.

Employer branding as career Springboard

The pinnacle of employer branding is when a candidate starts treating your company as a career springboard.

In the job market, candidates try to outshine each other by collecting pedigree badges as signals of competence. These badges could come from the college they went to, companies they worked for, a research publication, an open-source project, a personal brand, etc. These badges are also important in attracting the interests of recruiters.

"The job market rewards these badges as a condensed credibility signaling mechanism."

That’s the reason people are writing “ex-Amazon, ex-Google“ etc. in their LinkedIn Headlines.

Candidates sometimes will join a company with a strong employer brand with lesser pay against a competing offer just so that the next time they are going job hunting they have a better market value.

Employer branding as a hiring moat against competition

Your employer branding can also act as a competitive moat in the talent market.

Companies who have built up a strong employer brand over the years enjoy distinct advantages not only over accessibility to talent but often a discount in terms of compensation.

We at UpSkillie often find that branding is the biggest gap between making an offer and joining with startups. This is true even when you can pay competitively.

Startups must invest in Employer Branding early on to create an asset that keeps on giving. Startups can also create a strong Employer brand which becomes a pedigree badge any employee wants to wear.

If you are curious to read more on this, then you can follow us on LinkedIn.

We will be writing a series on how you can create a strong employer brand.

If you have any feedback/queries, please write to us at hello@upskillie.com

Stay tuned for more.