10 Questions To Better Understand Your Company’s Employer Brand
Attracting and landing high-performing job candidates is a top concern for all of us who are trying to grow our teams, with very good reason. If the recruiting and hiring process in your company isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do, the new employees you hire and put through all of that onboarding might end up not meeting your performance expectations… which causes the whole company to suffer.
Since employer branding impacts the job search so significantly today, its vital for HR teams and those in charge of talent acquisition to think about their employer brand early on and consistently. Whether you already have an employer brand in place and want to find ways to make it better OR if you’re not sure what your employer brand is and want to do a bit of self-assessment – answering these 10 questions honestly is a valuable learning exercise to do to better understand your current employer brand:
1. Who is in control of your employer brand?
If marketing thinks that employer branding is fully and totally in HR’s domain, and HR believes that marketing is handling it, your employer brand could be suffering from neglect. Review each part of your company’s branding and figure out who takes ownership of it right now. Then, going forward, make sure the people who should have a say about your company’s employer brand – those who are in charge of finding new talent for your company – are actually able to drive it forward in the way they need to to attract great talent.
2. What does your social media presence look like?
Is your company present on several social media platforms? Are the profiles up-to-date and positively presented? Is there a process to answer comments directed at your company through social media? Job seekers are undoubtedly checking out your web presence and a sloppy social media presence and ignored comments, especially negative ones, don’t exactly paint the picture of an attractive employer. Because if your organization routinely ignores real people’s input about your brand publicly, how good are you with listening internally?
3. Have you had recent negative press that would make people question your integrity or internal culture?
Most companies – unless they’re perfect, really lucky or just not noteworthy enough – receive complaints and even rants on forums, social media, and the news. Embarrassing snafus with clients and customers aren’t uncommon, either. It’s how your company handles these negative public-facing situations that is key in developing and protecting a strong employer brand.
4. Where internally do you see evidence of your brand?
Watch day-to-day interactions with employees, managers, and clients … do you see your perceived employer brand (and the mission, core values, and spirit you want associated with it) being upheld or are the representatives of you organization behaving in a way that dilutes it? It matters to look internally because your internal company culture reflects outwardly and impacts your employer brand, whether you like it or not.
5. If job applicants are looking for evidence of your brand, where can they find it?
In addition to social channels, is your branding alive in every interaction? From trade shows, phone calls, emails, and in-person meetings, to every online touchpoint – including but not limited to your website, career page and online employee reviews – should also be showcasing your brand. If it’s not, your employer brand might not be as strong as you thought.
6. How in touch are managers with employees?
Managers who offer two-way communications channels have a clearer picture of their teams. How often do your managers connect? Do they understand their team’s responsibilities and stresses? Do they openly take and act on feedback? It’s important to think seriously about the manager-employer setup in your organization, because thoughtlessly glossing over these relationships will leave a trail of bad employee experiences that’ll come back and bite your employer brand in the you-know-what.
7. How difficult is it to fill open positions?
If you’re finding that, despite hiring managers’ best efforts, top candidates are repeatedly declining positions at your company OR are falling out of your recruiting funnel early than you want them to, your employer brand might be hurting your recruiting efforts. If, on the other hand, applicants are raving about information they saw online about working at your company, a positive brand is alive and well.
8. Can you recall any instances where an exiting employee shared feedback about you as an employer? Were they positive or negative?
Ask “why” when people leave the company and try to pay special attention to any common threads or repeated reasons. This exchange, which usually happens in an exit interview, matters to your employer brand because whatever impression they’re leaving your company with becomes a piece of your employee brand out in the world (and can even manifest in online employee reviews). Personal reasons probably don’t relate negatively to your employer brand, so that’s one thing to keep in mind. But if they communicate they were treated unfairly, you should be looking especially closely!
9. If someone were to look for online reviews about working at your company, would they be overall positive or overall negative?
You might think you know your employer brand, but do you? If you aren’t monitoring review sites, you might not have your finger on the pulse as much as you think. Hop on some of the top sites that gather employee comments and check your company out. Keep in mind most of the applicants you interview will have read them, too.
10. Does your brand compare favorably or negatively to your competitors?
Check out your top three competitors online and see what you find. Are they managing their social media presence better or not compared to your company? Do you see any negative comments? And if so, are they addressing them in any way? Also look at review sites and see what former employees are saying. Compare what you uncover with your own company to see how you stack up.
So how did you do? Did any of these questions make you rethink your employer brand strategy? An honest, in-depth assessment of your employer brand is priceless in understanding how your company appears to your job candidates, so take what you learned with these questions and keep a sharp eye on the strength of your brand. In turn, your company will be more likely to recruit high performers to your team.