An Employer Branding Action Plan That Any Business Can Use (with free PDF)
The term employer brand encompasses many aspects of a business and if you haven’t really dealt with employer branding much before it can feel like an overwhelming concept. But it doesn’t have to be.
First, understand that your employer brand is a culmination of multiple elements about your company including your company culture, online presence, company values and mission, application process, and employee experience. It’s what the outside world (and particularly job candidates) perceives about working at your company.
That said, knowing what employer branding is isn’t enough anymore. What’s now the new standard for growing companies is having an employer branding action plan that’ll help your company look great to potential candidates and present your company in the best light possible as an employer.
For those who have yet to create their own employer branding action plan (or need help refining it), we’ve created this quick employer branding action plan as an easy-to-follow guide. You can also find an employer branding strategy chart at the end of this post, which you can download as a PDF for free:
1. Assess your current employer brand
Assessing your employer brand is as easy as asking yourself a few honest questions:
-Are you on social media?
-Have you activated your employer accounts on employer review sites? —What is your word-of-mouth reputation?
-What is your current employee engagement score?
-How long on average does it take you to fill open positions?
-What is your employee referral rate?
-What is your offer acceptance rate?
-Does your recruitment department maintain separate social media accounts and web pages?
Answering these questions can help you determine what’s going well and which areas need your undivided focus over the next 12 months when it comes to setting an employer branding action plan.
2. Set goals (and make them measurable)
What business needs do you have that employer branding can help? Take those needs and translate them into your employer branding goals. Some example business needs that many companies use employer branding to help with are:
-More job applicants
-Less budget spent on recruiting qualified candidates
-More visibility as a great place to work
-Better chance of closing in-demand talent, among others.
Think about your current business needs and these common improvement areas to determine where you’d like to see your organization in 12 months in terms of measurable metrics. Then, formalize them as your employer branding action plan goals.
3. Outline the steps you plan to take (your “project management plan”)
Your project management plan should include objectives, key performance indicators, specific action items, timelines, and responsible parties. Here’s an example:
Improve employer brand by developing a clear, consistent brand identity separate from our company’s brand; increasing our online presence as an employer; and driving positive company culture to improve referrals and word-of-mouth reputation.
Reduction in time-to-fill from 30 days to 20 days
Increase in employee referrals from 5% to 25%
Increase in employer review response rate from 0% to 75%
Action Items, Timelines, and Responsible Parties:
Develop and rollout employer brand message by June 30th: Human Resources
Create Careers page with online and mobile application process by September 30th: Marketing
Create a social media calendar to ensure social media posts are made daily and blog posts are made weekly and start developing employer brand related content by September 30th: Human Resources
Claim employer accounts on employer review platforms and begin responding to reviews by September 30th: President
Optimize marketing efforts for search engines by December 31st: Marketing
Create an engagement workgroup comprised of employees at all levels to drive culture and engagement by December 31st: Human Resources
4. Measure progress
Putting effort into setting goals and outlining your employer branding action plan (in the previous two steps) would end up being a total waste of time if you didn’t also consistently measure your progress over time.
Do this by creating a centralized document to help you track your key performance indicators in real time, designating a person (or several people) to own the tracking of these KPIs, and incorporating the discussion of these metrics into your regular workgroups and standup meetings.
5. Focus on continuous improvement
It’s easy to measure and report metrics but forget why it matters. Every discussion of KPIs should be focused on answering this question: “Is what we’re doing working?”
For example, if it’s December 31st and you’ve deployed every action item in your plan but your time-to-fill has gotten longer instead of shorter, something’s not working. You might want to consider conducting a root cause analysis to get to the bottom of it. In this case, you’d have to track how long each stage is taking: perhaps you’re getting applicants much faster than before but the increase in applicants has bogged down the recruiter department or the hiring manager to increase total time to fill.
Your employer branding action plan isn’t a “set it and forget it” thing; make sure to revisit and reassess all of the decisions you’ve made to make sure they still make sense as time goes by. Aim for continuous improvement and redirect the ship when your efforts aren’t working the way you planned.