WHY EMPLOYER BRAND MANAGEMENT IS BUSINESS-CRITICAL
Employer brand management is an endurance race, not a sprint. Progress is made by paying attention to all the moving parts, not just one or two high-profile elements. Because of this, it can be difficult to point to one aspect of employer brand management and say, “If we do this, we will win.” You need to look at the bigger picture. It’s still relatively rare for companies to define a formal business case for employer branding. Too often, employer branding investments are made on the basis of general aspirations to boost reputation instead of formal calculations relating to costs saved or improvements in performance. However, it is possible - and we'd even argue business critical – to make a quantifiable case for employer brand management. While the value drivers will vary from company to company, there are several key areas of investigation.
A STRONG EMPLOYER BRAND WILL SAVE YOUR ORGANIZATION MONEY
In 2011, a LinkedIn survey of 2,250 corporate recruiters in the U.S. revealed that the average cost per hire in organizations with strong employer brands was two times lower than those with employer brands ranked moderate to poor. In addition, companies with a strong employer brand had 28 percent lower employee turnover rates than companies with weaker employer brands. Given the high cost of turnover replacement – which ranges from 90 percent to 200 percent of an employee’s annual salary when including training and loss of productivity – the cost savings involved are significant.
COST SAVINGS DERIVE FROM A NUMBER OF FACTORS
Targeting the right candidates:
When you’re clear about who you’re targeting, you’re less likely to waste time and money on misplaced research, media, and activities that build awareness among the wrong candidates.
By focusing investments on a single creative framework rather than taking a more localized and ad hoc approach, companies can make significant savings.
Building brand awareness:
Decades of research have demonstrated that clear and consistent brand messaging builds greater awareness and more differentiated reputation over time. Once this brand image has been established, following activities benefit significantly from what is called the brand halo effect(2). The brand halo refers to the beneficial effects that a positive brand reputation brings to marketing activity. For example, for the same level of marketing investment, communication carrying a familiar brand name is far more likely to attract attention than an unknown brand.
Enhancing your pulling power:
A strong employer brand reputation will pull a much higher proportion of unsolicited applications.
Hiring good people for less:
Convincing mid-career candidates to leave one organization and join another typically requires a salary increase, or conversion premium. CEB research indicates that the average conversion premium required to attract a mid-career candidate to an organization with a strong employer brand reputation was close to half of that from an organization considered to have a weak employer brand reputation.
Reducing unwanted attrition (and rehires):
If you’re clear about the kind of people who will fit in and thrive within your organization, you’re likely to enjoy a significantly lower level of unwanted employee turnover.
ORGANIZATIONS WITH STRONG EMPLOYER BRANDS PERFORM BETTER
Companies that invest in effective employer branding (including both brand-led recruitment on-boarding and retention practices) have been found to deliver significantly above average levels of business performance in terms of revenue growth and profitability. There are several potential factors that contribute to this.
Hiring more high performers:
Companies are shifting from cost per hire to quality of hire for a reason - because hiring the right people delivers more value for the organization. Netflix calculated that the best performers are two times better than average, and in creative/ inventive work they are ten times better than average.
Onboarding employees effectively:
A strategic and systematic approach to onboarding is a necessary feature of most effective employer brand management programs, increasing efficiency and retention.
Improving employee engagement:
After more than two decades of rigorous and persuasive research, there can be few doubts that higher levels of employee engagement are associated with a wide range of positive business effects, including higher levels of customer satisfaction, sales and profitability.
LET’S GET TO WORK
The business value for investing in employer brands is enormous. Regardless of business unit or department, everyone in an organization has the responsibility of taking ownership of the employer brand. However, in order to be successful, employer brand management needs to start at the top. Cost savings and increased business performance are just some of the ways a strong brand management strategy can make a positive impact on an organization.
Whether you’re just starting to take control of your employer brand or you’re looking to advance your maturity level, Universum can provide your organization with the tools you need to build an employer brand investment and strategy. Investigating these metrics will help you start your sprint, but understanding the nuances of when and how to use these metrics will help your organization gain an edge over the competition in the long-term race for talent.