No employer brand strategy? You’re losing out on top talent

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Think you know what matters to job seekers? Randstad’s latest survey says it’s all about job security, competitive salary and benefits and a pleasant work environment.

The company’s survey, which also finds the winner of Canada’s Most Attractive Employer, asked respondents to rate the most important factors for jobs, then rate the country’s 150 biggest employers on those criteria.

Job security  came out on top with 65% of respondents naming it the most important factor, followed by competitive salary and benefits (61%) and a pleasant work environment (54%).

The award winner this year was WestJet, followed by runners up ArcelorMittal, Bombardier, IBM Canada, Molson Coors Canada and Pratt & Whitney International.

See also: HRM Online TV Building an Employer Branding

What set these companies apart was the consistent and strong messages that appealed to men and women, and a range of ages, Randstad executive vice president Stacy Parker says. All the companies were also ahead of other organizations in their use of websites and social media to communicate their message.

“Employee branding is not a fad, it’s not a marketing initiative. It’s really clearly defining and articulating what the culture of your company is,” Parker says. As the “war for talent” gets tougher companies need to set themselves apart by telling potential employees what it’s like to work for them, she says.

Another sign that sets apart the top companies is taking advantage of the benefit of living in Canada, which itself is “a really attractive brand as a country”, Parker says. For 18 to 35 year olds international job opportunities came out as one of the top factors, and the trend was being reflected in European results as well.

“It’s important that organizations don’t overlook the fact that in the next few years you may be seeking talent from other countries,” Parker said. “Don’t just look at the pond next door, but also this huge ocean of talent and ask whether your message translates to them,” she added.

Don’t know what your employer brand is or where to start?

Start with your employees
Survey your employees to find out what they think. They’re already talking to friends and family about what it’s like to work for you so find out what they’re saying.
“What do they see as your strengths and what do they see as perceived weaknesses? That’s the foundation of the truth of who you are,” Parker says.

Connect to your external brand message
Does what you’ve learned about how employees see you tie in with your external brand? If they’re completely different you’re going to have challenges communicating it to staff and potential candidates, Parker says. Take details from studies like Randstad’s about what Canadians see as most important and what employees see as your value and how they overlap.

Internalize it
“It has to be delivered by everyone in the executive team. It’s not an HR initiative, not a marketing initiative,” Parker said. “Once the entire executive team is on side, have internal launch. Your current employees are your brand ambassadors. You want every one of them to use buy in and use the same message.”

Integrate your employer brand message to your website, your PR strategy and press releases, and your social media. The message should be consistent, and should appeal to a wide audience. Studies show that while company finances and management are important to men, women tend to place more importance on flexible work schedules and accessibility.


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