employer branding employer engagement

How Employee Engagement Impacts Your Employer Brand (And Vice Versa)

February 27, 2019

Building your employer brand involves a lot of different elements, but the root of employer branding is actually really simple: it’s all about generating energy and enthusiasm among candidates when they think about you as an employer.

And when it comes to energy, your employer brand gets most of its energy and fuel from current employees.

It makes a lot of sense if you think about it: if you can’t get the employees inside your company engaged with and in support of your employer brand, you won’t have much success connecting with those outside of your company.

This leads to the connection between your employee engagement and your employer brand – two things that you would think operate separately, inside and outside of your company (respectively). The relationship between employee engagement and your employer brand is actually very symbiotic: one can’t exist without the other.

Learn how exactly each affects each other, and how you as a company leader can impact both…by encouraging employee brand advocacy and ensuring your employer brand meets the needs of your employees:

How Employee Engagement Impacts Your Employer Brand

Engaged employees are brand advocates

Nearly 70% of the “world’s best employers” have explicit employer branding strategies, with many of these focused on how to build better brand advocates. Authenticity is the secret sauce in any effective employer brand, and there is no better way to increase honest engagement with your employer brand than to increase brand advocacy among your employees.

One smart strategy is to use a social media campaign to develop your existing brand advocates. These are people who already engage with your employer brand materials and are highly enthusiastic about working for your organization. Cultivating these engaged employees and giving them tasks to channel their enthusiasm — such as appearing in promotional materials, going to community events, or engaging their friends on social media — can pay off in building your brand authenticity.

Engaged employees provide better online reviews

When it comes to anonymous online reviews, your employees typically will be honest about your strengths and weaknesses as an employer. And if they’re happy and engaged, they won’t be able to help but talk about their positive experiences…so go ahead and ask them to write a review! Encouraging employees to review your employer profile online is a smart decision (and a best practice for managing your online reputation these days!), but only if you have built goodwill and cultivated employee engagement.

Engaged employees refer their qualified friends and connections

Good employees can be a goldmine for organizations looking to expand their workforce and attract high-quality applicants. The more engaged your employees, the more likely they will be to refer their friends and people from their network to you when you’re hiring. Investing in employee engagement efforts now can pay big dividends when it’s time to make new hires and actively building your candidate pool.

Disengaged employees drive turnover

On the flip side, disengaged employees negatively affect your employer brand. Only 37% of engaged employees are looking for new opportunities, compared to 56% of not engaged employees and 73% of employees who are actively unengaged. Disengaged employees drive up your turnover rates, which impacts your internal company culture, has a ripple effect on your reputation externally, and undermines your employer narrative about workplace satisfaction.

How Your Employer Brand Affects Employee Engagement

Recognizing employees’ hard work

When asked what organizations could do to improve employee engagement, 58% of employees ask for more recognition. Organizations with a strong employer brand often have systems in place to recognize employees for their hard work. This, in turn, energizes employees to become more engaged and vocal about their support for you as an employer. The key is to ensure that a recognition policy is evenly applied across your organization by training all of your managers to give frequent, consistent feedback for employee performance where it’s due. Also consider setting a company- or department-wide recognition system for going above and beyond.

Offering benefits and incentives they’ll use

Think about the companies with the strongest employer brands and you’ll probably notice some similarities: nearly all of these organizations are known for their stellar incentives or benefits packages.

Google offers never-ending food and snacks, Patagonia offers their employees generous parental leave and access to on-site child care centers,(100% of the women who have had children at Patagonia over the past five years have returned to work), and Zappos provides a massage chair and nap room for tired employees. While some of these perks seem over-the-top, they generate buzz and cement the organization’s status as an employer that cares about worker well-being.

Glamorous perks are rarely in the budget for smaller organizations, but there is no reason you can’t enact a new incentive structure one step at a time. Begin by polling employees about the incentives or perks they would enjoy the most. Flexible work schedules, dedicated time to work on personal projects, a free chair massage day, or an office party are all great ways to build employee engagement and generate authentic enthusiasm for your employer brand.

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Linda Le Phan
Senior Content Marketing Manager at kununu.

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