Over the last five years, the term “employer brand” has steadily increased in Google searches, with the highest number of searches occurring in March 2021 and April 2022. When searching about employer brand, you’ll find a variety of topics related to brand, jobs, employers, companies, recruiting, HR, and marketing. There’s a lot of noise around employer brand. It’s hard to know where to turn for advice or what to ask when reaching out for help.
Our exaqueo team has decades of experience in employer brand, some of us beginning our careers in the field even before the term “employer brand” was truly popular or understood. We’ve been in your shoes when a senior executive is asking, “What is our EVP?” or “How can we become the employer of choice?” And we want to help you answer these frequently asked questions, and help you educate your leadership to go beyond EVP.
What is employer brand?
Employer brand is the strategy that articulates the authentic strengths and realities of your organization’s full employment experience — from the moment a candidate is even aware that an organization exists and that there are available jobs to the moment an employee considers transitioning out of a role and/or the organization. Your employer brand is what differentiates you from other organizations with whom you compete for talent.
What is the difference between employer brand and an employer value proposition (EVP)?
Value propositions are focused on positive attributes and the transaction for benefits or goods. Value propositions work great for branding and marketing to consumers but they fail organizations when it comes to recruiting and hiring people. That’s because people are not products. Neither is your job.
When you take a job, you're not just joining a company. You’re starting a relationship that becomes a significant part of your life.
At exaqueo, we believe employer brand is much more than a value proposition — employer brand is the branding and marketing of the true employment relationship. EVP only focuses on selling the tangible benefits and offerings. Employer brand focuses on the relationship between the employee and their work, their leadership and manager, their co-workers, and the organization.
Why does employer brand matter?
There are over 11 million jobs open in the United States right now and chances are pretty high that your organization is hiring. Your employer brand is important because it’s how you differentiate your organization from what your talent competitors offer. Employer brand matters because it helps you recruit people who will be committed to your organization. It’s how you demonstrate on the commitments you make as an organization to your employees — the experience you’ve promised to deliver.
Employer branding requires an authentic view of the employment experience at your organization. To go beyond EVP, your employer brand can’t just advertise sign-on bonuses, career growth, or competitive benefits. It might bring someone in the door but our research shows that people don’t stay at a company just because of the sign-on bonus or the maternity leave benefits.
You have to be clear and realistic about each dimension of the employment relationship. How is trust built with the organization? Is there respect between leaders and employees? Do people value their coworkers’ contributions? Do people care about the impact of their work?
Where does employer brand belong in an organization?
We believe that employer brand belongs in human resources, not marketing. Success of employer brand requires alignment with the master brand and buy-in from the marketing team, but to be truly impactful employer brand must be led by human resources.
Human resources has the data to inform the employer brand, understands the employment lifecycle, and can better define the type of person who will thrive in the employment relationship. Marketing is an important partner, but their focus on products, services, and the customer experience places a significantly different view on employer branding, and can end up diluting the message of what it’s like to work at your organization.
It’s important to remember that employer brand is not just recruiting or recruitment marketing either. It encompasses the full employment lifecycle — candidate and employee experiences — and relies on understanding people for who they are inside and outside of work. When you understand the Whole Self and have a deeper knowledge of what employees care about, value, and find meaning in, you can take those insights to build an employer brand strategy that’s rooted in authenticity.
How do you build an employer brand?
To create a successful employer brand, it has to be authentic and rooted in research. If it’s not, then you’ll find your recruiting team bringing people in the door who experience a relationship vastly different from what was advertised to them.
At exaqueo, we build employer brands by conducting research with employees — from the workers on the production lines to the leaders in the executive offices. We don’t base the strategy on assumptions, leadership perspectives, or rely only on the positive parts of the experiences. Employer brands have to include the realities of working at an organization from the perspective of employees themselves. The most successful employer brands are rooted in the truth about the employment relationship.
What other questions do you want answered? We will continue to add to this list of employer brand FAQs. Or let us help you make the case for building an authentic employer brand for your organization.