LinkedIn has released a highly informative white paper on employer branding. Strategy Recruitment Marketing analyses the information and discusses this in the South African context.
The Company Brand comprises of the Consumer Brand (product/service) and Employer Brand (candidates/people). There is a strong association between the two. They feed off each other; whilst simultaneously complementing each other. This in turn translates into a more robust overall Company Brand. It is becoming imperative for companies to pay an equal amount of attention to both their Consumer Brand and Employer Brand in order to promote their holistic Company Brand in the market place.

A bad consumer experience with the product/service can damage the Consumer Brand, likewise a bad experience a candidate might have with the employer can be detrimental to your Employer Brand. This is interrelated and compromises your overall Company Brand.

For instance, should a potential candidate be confronted with a disgruntled employee there can be an immediate fragmentation of not only the Employer Brand but the holistic Company Brand; especially when this is not an isolated incident and insufficient information is available about the Employer Brand.

The question is what has made more of an impression and impact, the product or the engagement with the employee/s and to what degree negatively or positively?

Keep in mind that historically the candidate has experienced a company through the eyes of a consumer and not a job seeker. They usually therefore gauge part of their knowledge and experience through their direct association with the product or service as a consumer. Should the facts and figures surrounding the employee value proposition not be readily available; candidates will resort to gathering their market intelligence on a potential employer via their consumer experience.

Companies therefore cannot rely on the reputation behind their holistic Company Brand alone if insufficient attention has been given to the Employer Brand aspect. It is an all too common phenomenon that the Employer Brand gets diluted in the broad spectrum of the holistic Company Brand. Nowadays, a one paged career site landing page is not sufficient to position the company’s entire Employer Brand proposition.

In LinkedIn’s recent whitepaper on “Why your Employer Brand matters?”, it was found that there is a strong correlation between the Company and Employer Brand but that perceptions have predominantly been built through the overall promotion of the holistic Company Brand and what candidates had been exposed to.

The “purchase intent” of a candidate might not necessarily be strong if presented with the overall package of a Company Brand versus the isolated and focused knowledge of an Employer Brand value proposition, thus strong attention needs to be given to the Employer Brand and its value proposition.

The paper denotes that the younger generation associate their job considerations more with the Employer Brand than the Company Brand at this stage. This is evidence that more work needs to be done in the areas of employer brand building in this area of the candidate market.

Within the South African context, we have found that this has become evident through those proactive companies who are making a concerted effort to create talent pipelines with a view to grooming future successors. Close attention is been given to bursaries, learnerships, graduate and future executive programmes in order to create some form of succession planning within their companies. Proper Employer Brand management gives you great leverage on which to position and engage with schools, universities and colleges. You don’t want to merely rely on your holistic Company Brand if insufficient attention has been given to your employer brand; perceptions may be skewed.

When considering talent attraction in your scarce skills arena and at Management and Director level, the White Paper confirms that “Individual Contributors and Managers are 186 percent more likely than those at the Director Level or higher to have their job consideration levels associated with the Employer Brand”, it is essential that on-going consideration be given to spending more time, focus and investment on building the Employer Brand and employee value proposition.

The White Paper states that companies who are investing more in their Employer Brand, have a remarkable 28% lower staff turnover rate to that of a company which is not investing in their Employer Brand. This is definitely something to consider.
Spending time and effort on defining and developing the Employer Brand is a good investment as it can promote all future recruitment drives when you “go out to market”. In addition, promotion of your Employer Brand internally with your brand ambassadors helps with gaining momentum. Your various social media channels i.e. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn are a great resource for you to yet further promote your Employer Brand. LinkedIn’s white paper indicated that 61% of LinkedIn activity was through company brand ambassadors following their organisation and sharing the Employer Brand proposition with their networks.

Ultimately, a Company Brand without dedicated focus on the Employer Brand is not going to position you strong enough in the candidate market place. Dedicated attention, focus and investment needs to be put behind positioning your company’s values, competitive features and benefits, training, leadership and development programmes, differentiators, working environment, etc. Your compelling, cutting-edge job value proposition can become too diluted in the fuller context of the Company Brand.