This week on Human Capital Connection, The Muse stopped by to share four key steps to building a data-driven employer brand – delving into how you can strategically measure and align intangible employer brand qualities with the greater business.
A reported 75 percent of job seekers consider your employer brand before deciding whether to apply for an open role. Further, candidates'No. 1obstacle when searching for a job is not knowing what it’s like to work at an organization. Clearly, employer brand is something your business needs to think strategically about.
And yet, as your employer brand is tasked with capturing intangible qualities that make your company a great place to work, it can often feel like business strategy and brand authenticity are at odds with one another. Rest assured, this is not the case; strategy and authenticity are measurable and can work hand in hand.
So, how can you strategically measure and align intangible employer brand qualities with the greater business? The following features four key steps to building a data-driven employer brand – one that’s genuine, impactful, and shares authentic insight into your company to the talent you most want to attract.
1. Know Your Target Audience Building an employer brand that resonates starts with knowing exactly who you’re speaking to and where to reach them. After all, your employer brand does you no good if there’s nobody interacting and engaging with it. When it comes to collecting insights and data points, your audience should be the first place you gather from. You need to have a solid grasp on pieces that include:
Where your most pressing hiring needs are
What qualities you should be looking for in those specific candidates
Where this targeted talent is already spending time
Speaking to department leaders and your existing employees (more on this below!) is a great way to get the insights you need. With this information, you can optimize your recruitment efforts to reach candidates where they already are – with the content they most want to see.
2. Analyze Your Top-Performing Content Once you've gained insight into who you should be targeting, you need insight into what you should be targeting them with. What content are people engaging with the most? Start by turning your attention to the analytics for your various social media accounts. Which of your posts have the highest level of engagement?
Maybe people love behind-the-scenes peeks at your office traditions (like an annual chili cook-off). Or, perhaps anytime you post about your company’s volunteer efforts, you receive all sorts of “likes” and comments. Though it sounds simple, this is valuable intel you can use to uncover what facets of your company and culture that candidates find most relevant and appealing.
You should also look to the analytics for your careers site. What information can you gather here? For example, if you notice that most of the clicks through to your application page happen after viewing your company overview video, that’s a solid indicator you should be leveraging more video content.
3. Lean on Your Employees Some of the most valuable employer brand information won’t come from dashboards and spreadsheets – it’ll come directly from your employees. They’re the ones who will clue you in on the values you should be highlighting. They’re also who prospective talent trusts the most, which is significant given that nearly 53 percent of 15,000 surveyed employees who planned to leave their job in recent years say it was because they "do not trust" those in charge.
Further, research from LinkedIn shows that candidates “trust a company’s employees 3X more than corporate messaging to provide credible information on what it’s like to work there.” So, not only should you be amplifying your employees’ voices and sharing their stories through your content, you should also rely on them to help build employer brand authenticity. One of the best ways to do this? Crowd-source employees to get their unique stories and to reveal your employer brand attributes; basically, how would they describe your company to other people?
At The Muse, we use BrandBuilder (full disclosure, it’s our own tool) to source these employee stories, uncover our unique brand attributes, and identify passionate advocates for our brand. Regardless of how you pull these insights from your employees – whether it’s a formal survey or even a casual sit-down – make sure you pick their brains and involve them in the process of crafting your brand.
4. Measure the Impact As with any other initiative or strategy, you want (and your business needs) to know what success looks like. When it comes to employer brand, measuring its impact can feel hard to wrap your head around. But, in reality, there are plenty of places you can look to see if your employer branding efforts are working!
First, there are the more traditional metrics. For example, has your application rate increased? Do you have more visitors to your careers site? Are these visitors converting into applicants? Are you getting more engagement on your social media accounts? These are all great indicators that your employer brand is resonating.
However, as noted above, it’s not all about the numbers. Your existing employees are also a great gauge to uncover whether your efforts are paying off. How? Ask yourself the following:
Are people opting in to share their stories when asked?
Do they want to join an employee advocacy group?
In what other ways are are your employees willing to advocate? Through blog posts, campus recruiting, or speaking on panels?
Will employees recruit their co-workers to help in your storytelling and advocacy initiatives?
While these aren’t necessarily data points you’ll see logged within a spreadsheet, getting the sense that employees are invested in what you’re doing and enthusiastic about sharing that message with other people speaks volumes; more than any chart or fancy dashboard ever could.
Take Your Employer Brand to the Next Level You understand that your employer brand is important, but it often feels like there’s so much involved that it can be challenging to figure out how to craft brand messaging that’s both authentic and strategic to the greater business.
Fortunately, it’s more than possible. Put these four tips into action, and you’ll begin to reap the rewards of a data-driven employer brand that captures your company’s values and gets you out in front of the talent that you most want to attract.
Kat is a Midwest-based staff writer for The Muse, covering topics related to careers, self-development, and the freelance life. She's also the Career Editor for The Everygirl, a columnist for Inc., and a contributor all over the web. When she manages to escape from behind her computer screen, she's usually babying her rescued terrier mutt or continuing her search for the perfect taco.