6 Reasons Your Employer Brand Is Struggling

6 Reasons Your Employer Brand Is Struggling

A strong employer brand is viewed as a necessity for attracting, recruiting, and retaining good people in a competitive market. It’s basically the reputation of a company as seen from the point of view of the employees already working there. Employer branding encompasses the formal efforts of human resource and recruitment marketers as well as more informal elements such as employee word-of-mouth, online reviews on sites like Glassdoor, and of course social media conversations happening online. All those factors boil down to how a brand is perceived in terms of a potential place of employment to candidates. It stands to reason, then, that you want this brand to be as positive as possible in order to attract top talent to you without having to spend as much time sourcing. But a strong employer brand can also work against you if the image it’s reflecting isn’t a positive one. So if your employer brand is slipping, it could be because of one of these six common mistakes. 

Why is employer branding important?

75% of professionals research a company online before considering a job opportunity, according to the LinkedIn Employer Brand Statistics report. They are looking for information ranging from the interview process and salary rates to how employees are treated once in a position. If the employer brand is genuine, that becomes apparent as soon as a new hire has been on the job for a few weeks. If the brand isn’t a genuine representation of life at the company, you can imagine what happens next, especially given how high new hire turnover rates can be. Because branding can be a double-edged sword, 96% of companies believe it has the power to positively or negatively impact revenue. Think about that for a moment. Employer branding is not just about hiring and turnover but can have a far further reaching impact on the trajectory of a company. And when it fails, revenue, employee engagement, company culture, and morale can all decline as a result.

What are some reasons the employer brand may fail? 

With so much is riding on the line if things go wrong it pays to be prepared. So what are some of the most common pitfalls when it comes to employer branding and what can you do to avoid them?


Problem #1 – It’s not the corporate brand

Organizations often get the employer brand wrong when they create one that is too much like the corporate brand. The problem with this is that the corporate brand is designed for consumers, not candidates. The language and tone are different. The message needs to come from another place. You are not selling services or products – you are selling the idea of devoting time and hard work to a company that matches the values of candidates.

What’s the solution? 

Take the time to create a unique employer brand that’s based on real experiences of your current employees and the perks of working for your company. Surveys of current staff can be a great tool for this, as can doing an online audit of how your employer brand is perceived. The idea is to have two brands running simultaneously, but speaking to two different audiences with two separate messages.

Read More: Does marketing or HR own recruitment marketing?

Problem #2 – HR may not have strong marketing support 

In most cases, human resources professionals understand some aspects of marketing, but this is not their primary areas so they attempt to turn to the marketing team. The marketing team, on the other hand, is busy selling things and they don’t often have the time to train HR on the best way to create an employer brand. 

What’s the solution? 

Create a bridge between marketing and recruitment to sync up messaging and develop a focused employer brand. Rebecca Longman who contributes to TalentCulture advises HR to, “develop recruitment practices that embody your organization’s brand.” Setting up quarterly meetings between the departments or tapping a few employees to be “liaisons” between teams can help increase alignment and create a stronger message. 


Problem #3 – Weak Employer Value Proposition

One of the main reasons that the employer brand fails is that the company has not established a strong enough employer value proposition (EVP) for candidates. This must be authentic, relevant to what candidates are seeking, and successful in terms of producing positive results. The worst thing you can do is to call your culture your EVP. Instead, the EVP includes all the layers of the company that makes it a positive and productive place to work. It’s all the little things that give employees a good experience. 

What’s the solution? 

Determine what your company can offer that no other business in your industry can and figure out how to articulate that as an EVP. Then use aspects of your EVP in your job descriptions, career pages, candidate blogs and any other candidate-facing activity your recruiting team uses. 

Pro-tip: Account for these 5 factors to make your EVP a success 

Problem #4 – Forgetting to monitor departing employees

If employees choose to leave the organization, they may have some strong emotions about their experience. This can end up being voiced on multiple platforms and can be damaging to the employer brand. For example, look at what happened when some Uber employees were let go. Employers need to be mindful of the experience of employees when they depart the organization because it can have long-ranging consequences. 

What’s the solution? 

Treat departing employees with respect and take their feedback seriously. Make changes as needed. It also pays to keep an eye on review sites like Glassdoor so that if a negative review gets posted, HR can respond. Remember, savvy candidates pay attention to how a company responds to negative reviews. Don’t blame the departing employee or try to hide from the truth. If the review is valid, put some thought into forming an authentic response. 


Problem #5 – Management doesn’t demonstrate the brand

It’s one thing to take the time to develop a great employer brand; and another for management to embrace it and learn to walk the talk. If you have managers or a senior team who don’t uphold the ideals of the brand, new hires are going to notice quickly. And if the misalignment is bad enough, it might send those new recruits running for the exit, sending you back to square one to try hiring again. 

What’s the solution? 

Get management to commit to the employer brand and show it in their daily interactions with employees and when interviewing candidates. If this is a struggle, it’s likely a sign that your employer brand is not genuine or that your leadership isn’t onboard with the message. 


Problem #6 – Not inviting candidates into the community

Recruitment is about relationship building. With much of the workforce already employed and just shopping around, it is important to create a sense of community when a candidate gets interested in your company. Think of it as inviting candidates to gain some insight into the employer brand so they can make the right decision about their career. 

What’s the solution? 

Create a growing community of candidates, employees, and alumni who share a common interest. Bonus points if there’s some sort of forum they can all interact in, either virtually such as a LinkedIn chat group or physically, like a prospective employee meet and greet once a year. Remember, these folks ultimately become your brand so the faster you can get them talking, the better all round. 

Employer branding makes hiring easier

It’s not easy creating a great employer brand strategy but it’s well worth the time and effort to do so. Job seekers are paying attention to the message your company sends so ensuring it’s a positive one should be a key element of your talent acquisition process. If you think your brand might be struggling, spend some time figuring out if it’s merely a communication issue or if it’s a problem that goes deeper. A misalignment between what’s truly happening at work and the image you’re trying to project might require a deeper dive into the company culture and employee satisfaction levels to learn more about what’s really going on. But once your culture, EVP, and employer brand are all aligned, you should find that great talent comes to you, rather than the other way around.


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