Employer Branding Strategy Principles & Development in 2021 

May 21, 20211:25 pm2124 views
Employer Branding Strategy Principles & Development in 2021 
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In the year of COVID-19, 2020 is an unprecedented period witnessed with a lot of change across all functions, with businesses scrambled to get all the pieces together. Companies also need to focus on getting immediate execution over the line to ensure important business processes are in place. Protecting and managing the business bottom line became the top priority – and with time, team management and culture became predominant issues, as productivity wavered and stabilised in turns. 

Amidst all the chaos, the overall vision of the company’s employer brand remains crucial because branding reflects an organisation’s strategy to create a specific perception of employment at the company. It is the projection of a certain image as an employer. Employer branding is important for companies that desire a competitive edge in recruitment and employee retention. 

According to Universum’s Employer Branding NOW 2021 study, despite the global challenges posed by the pandemic in 2021, a significant proportion of companies around the world are ramping up their recruiting efforts and rethinking how they can best compete for talent. Forty-five percent of surveyed companies expect their recruiting needs to be higher in 2021; and 70 percent of the leading global employers who expressed an opinion claimed they had re-evaluated their employment deal or were in the process of doing so. 

The survey was conducted during the first quarter of 2021. There were 1,261 total respondents from all walk-of-industries, including responses from small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and developed companies. The research investigated the practices of talent leaders in areas like employer branding, talent attraction, and employee engagement. The aim of the survey was to gather insights about current employer branding practices as well as to learn from the World’s Most Attractive Employers (WMAEs). 

Some of the noteworthy findings from Universum research are, as follows: 

  • Employers ramping up recruiting and positioning for an up-economy. Employers also expect the hiring environment to get more competitive even with higher unemployment levels. 
  • Many brands are revisiting their employer value proposition, testing whether it still resonates in a disrupted work world, with more than 2 in 3 among the WMAEs saying they have either updated their EVP or are considering a change. 
  • Top employer brands are no longer seriously threatened by startups luring high-value talents. With so much upheaval in 2020, many young people are looking for greater security and more defined career paths, something they are more likely to find at a larger employer compared to a startup. 
  • Hiring for diversity is a key priority for top brands. Nearly all respondents (98 percent) said that diversity and inclusion is a very important part of recruiting efforts, a priority now shared by 74 percent of major employers. 

The Universum report wrote that recruiting and employer branding must be ‘always on’ despite the business and economy globally being affected by unprecedented events. Learning from the WMAEs, employers should be quick to pivot to a virtual recruiting environment, and willing to invest in virtual internships. Companies that focus on recruiting and employer branding despite the challenges will not merely survive but thrive. 

See also: Employer Branding Strategy through Ex-Employees 

The big question is: What are the core competencies to build a company brand during chaos? 

Randstad’s Employer Branding Insights disclosed that about 2 in 10 global workers changed their employers during 2020. Meanwhile, about 1 out of 4 employees plan to do so in the coming year. Among the most obvious reasons to switch jobs are a higher salary, the mismatch between employee’s personal values and those of the organisation, and poor relationships with the manager and colleagues. 

Echoing the top drivers, the most attractive benefits worldwide have to do with flexibility, additional vacation benefits, health care insurance packages, and the reimbursement of mobility expenses. In addition, with so many disruptive forces affecting businesses around the globe, finding, training, and retaining talent becomes one of the most critical challenges companies face in these uncertain times. 

Keeping in mind Randstad’s findings above, employers should ensure they are best positioned to be an employer of choice. While attracting flexibility and mobility might work, acquiring the title ‘employer of choice’ needs more than that. The strategies will require some variation of the following steps:

  1. First, get a good grasp of the company’s vision, mission and objectives. This is necessary to synchronize the branding strategy with the company’s vision and mission. You must have a desired destination before you can know what steps to take toward it. You must know what race you are in before you set a pace.
  2. Next, conduct surveys. Survey current (and exiting) staff to discover or affirm the company’s real values. It is important to know what the real values are, so that if the company needs to work on amending its identity, it can do so effectively. Survey applicants who got the job as well as those who did not; to find out their impressions of the company as an employer and the employment process. Survey the executives to determine what the desired or intended image is as an employer.
  3. Then, conduct a gap analysis. Compare the real company based on the results of the surveys with what is desired. Clearly and succinctly define what reasonable steps need to be made to equalize the actual perception with the desired perception.
  4. Compare the company brand with employer branding. Make sure they are in harmony. If one detracts from the other, reconsider the desired perception of the employer brand.
  5. When you’re satisfied with what the employer brand should be, look specifically at training and development efforts to train, coach, counsel, mentor, teach and even discipline employees to fit the program.  In other words, training and development can be used to mould employees.
  6. Consider incentive pay plans also, in an effort to help further adjust behaviours to fit the brand.
  7. Do not neglect to look at your working environment, physical building and atmosphere, and company policies in place. The work environment is a significant contributor to employer branding, but it can easily be overlooked.
  8. Be sure to reward the good. Positively reinforce behaviours that advance the brand. Take proper measures to mitigate and eliminate those behaviours that are inconsistent with the company’s goals, mission, objectives, vision and desired culture. Constantly remind employees of the brand and who they are in light of it.
  9. Finally, execute the strategy and follow up. Use metrics to determine the effectiveness of the strategy and take occasional surveys to measure the pulse of the employees that create and perpetuate your brand.

Employer branding requires learning from the past, developing the present, and predicting the future. While the past has been already shared, much cannot be predicted about the future. Every brand evolves over time. Keeping your messaging fresh and new should be of the employer’s focus; whereas for the HR team, they should plan and carry out the message throughout the entire team in the company in a fun, exciting way. 

Read also: 11 Employer Branding Practices to Focus On in 2021