CEOs Reveal The 10 Most Significant Ways Employer Branding Impacts Business Success
In today’s recruiting market, what you might find is that employer branding may play one role in one company’s strategy and a drastically different role in another’s – it all depends on who you ask.
And while you could typically owe company differences like this to the fact that each company will have their own unique goals, that reasoning doesn’t apply very well here because all recruiting goals actually boil down to pretty much the same thing – to attract and hire the right candidates!
No, the real reason employer branding isn’t consistently prioritized in companies’ recruiting strategies is because company leaders are either not aware of or are unconvinced of how much employer branding impacts business success.
That’s what brings us to this expert list. To get to the bottom of how employer branding really impacts business, we asked 20 CEOs their real life perspective on employer branding. More specifically, we asked them:
What are the most significant way(s) employer branding impacts business success?
Their answers fell into 10 common things, which happen to apply to most companies (including yours). Read on for the 10 most significant ways employer branding impacts business success, along with the reasoning each expert gave for offering that answer:
1. It offers crucial information – for candidates and customers
“Employer branding is an extremely important part of our company’s outreach because we want to make sure our potential clients, current clients, and future employees know what we are truly about. If you aren’t branding your company, no one will know the real you/company and won’t look twice when thinking about doing business with you. People want information these days, and if they can’t find it they will move on to the next company who does have a brand that they can research.”
Benjamin K. Walker, Founder & CEO of Transcription Outsourcing, LLC
“Successful employer branding includes saying what you mean and aligning with your brand.
My company is very fun, friendly and creative— and we exude this message wherever we go, whether it be with a client or at a conference. We also stay engaged with others and put an emphasis on this when branding ourselves. By communicating with those who have an interest in your brand, you’re serving as a connector in the community and are likely to be more influential this way. People want to work and learn from those who are not only experienced, but communicative. Additionally, those that see you speaking at conferences or presenting pitch points at a meeting will see you as a subject matter expert, which makes you more reputable as both an individual and as a brand. Be knowledgeable and share your insights in a non-condescending way. Your brand will gain major respect in this aspect.”
Candice Simons, Founder and CEO of Brooklyn Outdoor
2. It helps your recruitment by attracting the right talent (and more of it)
“From my past 18 years experience in the software industry, employer branding can influence the success of your company in various ways, but to me the most company the important factor: it will attract new talent and that is super important in these days. It is so hard to find good talent and the employer brand of your company is a key factor why great people will choose you over others.”
Philipp Wolf, Founder & CEO of Custify
“Employer branding is important in many ways, from customer acquisition to organic traffic. For me, the biggest benefit of employer branding is talent acquisition.
Simply put, people want to go work for companies that they know or with whom they are comfortable. When we were featured in our regional paper (the Sun Sentinel) as one of the top places to work last year, we received a 400% spike in applications, which led to a much more competitive applicant pool and selection process. The commensurate rise in productivity and improved production times of just under 30% was no coincidence — we had stronger, more motivated employees.
Even better, employee retention has increased significantly as our brand has grown! People are beginning to see ShipMonk as a place that they can build a career as opposed to a job, and this has in turn led to an even stronger work environment.
I believe that CEO branding can help as well. Ever since my inclusion in this year’s Forbes 30 Under 30, we’ve had a number of high profile investors and applicants looking to work with us. CEOs have their own kind of brand, and when this brand aligns with the company’s brand, the results can be rather magical.”
Jan Bednar, CEO of ShipMonk
“Employer branding impacts business by attracting the right types of people.
If you’re known as a very rigid and robotic place to work, you will attract rigid and robotic people. A lot of startups that I encounter try to brand themselves as places that are fun instead of places to make a profit. There has to be a fine balance. I think that the best way for an employer to brand his or her company is as a hard-working, yet relaxed, goal-oriented company. You don’t want your people to be stressed or burned out at work, yet you are in business to make a profit.”
James Pollard, CEO of The Advisor Coach
“Employer branding is vital to the success of all businesses, as your team are your most valuable assets as a company – a notion particularly true for smaller businesses. Attracting the right people isn’t only time consuming, but it’s incredibly difficult so we know that how the company represents itself outwardly has huge influence in attracting those right candidates.
If your current employees genuinely love their roles, and feel like they’re progressing on an individual and company level, then your external employer brand perception will definitely benefit as well. It’ll be an easier sell when recruiting talent as you won’t have to lie about the workplace, and if you invite prospective employees into your office, it’ll be harder for them not to be drawn in by the feel of it – should they be the right kind of fit for your company. It may sound obvious, but your external employer branding is going to be in a far more positive light should your employees be pleased to work for you, enhancing your reputation within the industry as a brand and workspace.”
Lana Elie, CEO of Floom
3. It specifically helps you attract millennial talent
“Talent is one of the biggest assets for any company. We are seeing an increasing trend that talent, especially Millennials, are not simply looking for a big paycheck. They want to work for a company with a mission, work on tasks that are purposeful, and design their own career paths.
Employer branding becomes *extremely important* as companies now have to show top talent that they are more than just a paycheck. They need to show them that they have an ecosystem of a great product tied with the right values and camaraderie, in an amazing work-space. When a business is able to attract the right talent, they will be able to propel their business to new heights. Part of branding comes with real testimonials and examples.
To truly create a strong brand for your company, you must work out some internal kinks.
– Do you have a system in place to support your employees’ growth?
– Do they understand their role in your company?
– Can you work with them to design an appropriate career path for them in your organization?
– Are you, as a C-level executive, vested in talent management?
– Are your people your greatest priority?
If you can say yes to all of the above, then creating a well-branded company to future employees will be a piece of cake.”
Crystal Huang, CEO of ProSky
“The employer brand has the power to differentiate itself by the talent it attracts and the consumers it captures, especially among young employees. Investing in building a culture of trust is crucial to recruiting millennials, so that they are both their collaborators and their consumers.
The requirements of the new applicants have evolved to such a point that they no longer look for companies, but companies seek them out. Building a good employer brand allows the external and internal public to consider that working within your organization is a privilege and great opportunity.
One of the reasons why young professionals feel fear or disinterest in joining some corporations is because sometimes they may have misperceptions about some companies and the work environment. However, the employer branding allows putting an end to these false ideas, helps companies to expose and enhance their attractions and attract a greater number of candidates, especially the new generations.”
Sophie Miles, CEO of QuotesAdvisor.com
4. It helps you retain employees
“[More specifically]…motivated and committed employees.
Making employees feel part of the company and that they can work in a good environment, in which everyone enjoys what they do and their contributions are recognized, generates motivation and helps them feel really committed to their work.
When employees are happy and satisfied with the company, they will surely transmit it to their colleagues as well as externally. They themselves can spread the advantages of being part of the organization and inform potential candidates about available vacancies.
Employees who perform their duties in a company with a good reputation, where they feel proud to work, surely want to stay for a longer time and develop a career plan and development within it, which translate into a lower turnover rate of personnel.”
Sophie Miles, CEO of QuotesAdvisor.com
“Employer brand plays a key role in team retention because it affects both internal and external perception. Internally, team members want to work at a company that is consistent with their brand. At Fig, this means that we’re challenging the team to find the most creative solutions to maximize the savings for our customers. Externally, the momentum of our employer brand helps team members feel comfortable about the future of the company, which is especially crucial for a small company.”
Jeff Zhou, CEO of Fig Loans
5. It can both determine and influence your company culture
“On a psychological level, employees take cues from the overall employer branding to determine their professional behaviors. For example, the language employees use to describe the product/service/business to customers, colleagues, and trainees will often mimic the style and tone found in marketing materials. If it’s already been put a certain way, it’s likely to be repeated. This is what I refer to as the drip process of creating corporate culture. Branding plays a large role in determining that culture.”
Arlissa Vaughn, CEO and Co-Owner of Aegis Power Systems, Inc.
“In addition, when hiring new employees, it is crucial to set a precedent in the beginning of what the company culture will be like. The talent acquisition team should make sure to listen to what each candidate has to say during the hiring process and about the company as a whole. This way, direct and honest communication can be established before the candidate is even hired, which can have a big impact on the business. When being more transparent and open about the workspace, the people, and the environment, it lets the employee know what they can expect if they choose to work there. If a candidate feels like they belong from the beginning, it will likely aid in retaining them down the line.”
Antonella Pisani, CEO of FACT Goods
“Personally, I tend to view branding as intrinsically linked with company culture. Building and maintaining great company culture isn’t about bean bags, in-house baristas or fruit baskets – it’s about living a strong set of values, from C-suite to frontline staff, and branding ties in to that.
We live in the digital age. Your company’s image and visibility levels online are just as important as they are offline, so the way you present your organisation to your employees and the rest of the world through your branding is absolutely crucial. The most important assets a company has are the people within it; having a robust employer brand makes the job of attracting the best talent easier because they will have already heard of you. They know what you’re all about. It’s not just about your logo or colours; it’s everything you represent and what’s truly important to the talent that we’re trying to recruit. At Frank Recruitment Group, for instance, without our pipeline of consultants we certainly wouldn’t be as successful as we are today, and that’s down to the strength of our employer brand. We’re always on the lookout for ways to make our employer value proposition as strong as possible.
One of the best things a CEO can do is listen. We invite our people to tell us what they think via our satisfaction surveys, which provide us with a wealth of information. Their input allows us to reflect on what we’re doing right and what we could do even better; for example, we’ve recently made big cultural changes like relaxing company dress policy and launching improved CSR, wellbeing, and socialising initiatives in all our offices across the globe.”
James Lloyd-Townshend, CEO of Frank Recruitment Group
“Branding is not just an image [to] present to clients, but a reflection of [your] corporate values. Branding and corporate culture go hand-in-hand and you need your Human Resources to be as on-board with branding as your sales team. Have your HR team look at your brand and understand what corporate values are required to make the promises of your brand achievable – then screen candidates using that as your guiding light.
It’s worth noting that for businesses…that want to attract specialized professionals (in our case, environmental scientists with advanced degrees) your brand needs to be attractive to both potential clients and potential hires. If you want in-demand talent, or hire from a smaller talent pool, it’s your job to match their expectations rather than try and fit them into a cookie-cutter mold. Why would a desirable candidate choose your business if your brand doesn’t align with their values? They’ll have other options that do, so make yourself the attractive opportunity.
To sum it up, businesses need to remember that a brand isn’t about making you feel good – it’s about attracting the right talent and right clients by broadcasting and living your corporate values.”
Sarah Sajedi, CEO and Cofounder of ERA Environmental Management Solutions
6. It helps with customer acquisition
“Employer branding impacts business because customers will start to associate a brand with a certain level of quality. This makes the purchasing decision quicker and easier due to the perceived value of the brand.”
Heather Eason CEO of Select Power Systems, LLC
“Consumers want to support companies that treat their employees well. To this end, employer brand even affects the marketing funnel and customer retention. I believe small companies have an advantage here as we are able to personally know all of our employees and markets. This allows Fig to avoid unintended consequences for our employer
brand. However, we are very careful with growth as it is easy to imagine a scenario where a policy that works well in one location may be a disaster in others.”
Jeff Zhou, CEO of Fig Loans
7. It can impact profitability – by either decreasing talent acquisition costs or increasing revenue
“Employer branding can directly impact the bottom line of a business, as it can be rather costly when attracting top talent to your company. In tandem with other quantitative measures, focusing on cost per hire can help with decreasing the amount of money spent on hiring new employees. A great way to do this is by putting a large emphasis on referrals, which will stimulate interest in current employees to recommend individuals that they know and will be more likely to fit in with the culture. It also will act as a free marketing tool for the company. Another way to do this is through social media, such as LinkedIn and Instagram, that can tell the background and story of the business and generate interest through those platforms.”
Antonella Pisani, CEO of FACT Goods
“Employer branding impacts business success by increasing revenue. Any company/customer would like to do business with a company that has a strong employer brand. If a company is known to be fair and just to their employees it would directly result in a greater likelihood of customers willing to purchase from you. It would also result in a better chance of finding people who really want to give their best efforts to your company – which also translates to more revenue.”
Srajan Mishra, CEO of TSI Apparel
“Employer branding makes people proud to do business with you.
Our most loyal customers keep coming back because of their relationship with one of our employees. Our customers want to know that the employer respects and rewards the employee’s hard work and commitment.”
Matthew J. Brosious, CEO of FreightCenter
8. It creates brand ambassadors out of your employees
“Branding typically connotes external marketing and advertising. Internal branding is even more important, especially for service businesses.
Conventional wisdom said the customer is king, but nowadays, it is the employees who are most important – because they are the true brand ambassadors serving the customers.
Beyond parties and perks, employees desire companies and executives with who are authentic and caring. Open-door policies are popular to say, but do employees find a warm atmosphere and listening ear inside that door?
We have many Millennials who started at an entry-level position out of college, and they can look around and see a career path.”
Mike May, President and Owner of Brightspot Incentives & Events
“Employer branding turns every employee into a sales promoter. When employees are proud of where they work, they share their story with everyone they know. Referrals are by far the most efficient way of acquiring new business.”
Matthew J. Brosious, CEO of FreightCenter
9. It increases employee pride, confidence and trust
“I’ve worked for several companies who had abysmal branding that was developed back in the pre-digital age. They refused to step into the modern world, and employees were embarrassed and constantly apologizing for their company’s hideous public image. This created doubt in the eyes of employees, as they didn’t fully trust that higher ups were truly committed to change, growth and being the best they could be. On the flip side, I’ve worked for companies who worked hard at ensuring their branding was always current, relevant and aligned with the current state of the business. This meant maintaining beautiful websites and/or mobile apps, giving employees fancy business cards to hand out at meetings, and even supplying branded coffee mugs, t shirts and other items that employees could own and be proud of.”
Allen Greer, Co-Founder & CEO of FUZE Digital Inc.
“Trustworthiness of an employer has a huge impact on a business’ success, especially in today’s time of social media and fast news. All it takes is one piece of information to undo consistent branding efforts. That’s why it’s so important to maintain a level of transparency when thinking of your brand as an employer. In so many cases, we think of a person changing the reputation of a company, but it’s imperative for us to realize a company can also change the reputation of an employee, for better or worse, and we must hold ourselves accountable to ensure current and future employees are proud to work with us.”
Ricky Joshi, Co-founder and CEO of Loom & Leaf
10. It creates a stronger employee referral network
“A strong employer brand means your employees will refer more qualified candidates to your company. They will tell their friends and peers about their job and how much they love coming to work each day. As a result, more people will want to join your team, which means you will have a talented pool of applicants to choose from. Employer branding ignites word-of-mouth marketing that promotes your company culture and job openings.”
Dana Scott, Founder & CEO of Dogs Naturally
For more best practices on employer branding, scientific proof that you should use storytelling for employer branding, and more tips on how to attract talent into your organization, check out our free resources that we’ve made specifically for company leaders, HR and talent acquisition teams.