10 ways to supercharge your employer brand

Employer brand – and therefore candidate attraction and retention – is at the top of every CEO’s priority list. It’s the number one 21st century challenge, as big businesses battle each other to find, retain, and motivate the best talent. So, how can you get it right?

Shelley Hoppe, Spoon London’s Agency Director, investigates.


Today’s job market seems more like dating than ever before; there’s an air of both sides putting their best foot forward during a prolonged courting stage.

Candidates want to know what’s in it for them. They’re demanding more flexible benefits that are tailored to their individual needs, forcing employers to work harder and show why they should be chosen over other options.

Putting effort into your employer brand means showing off how a career at your company serves potential new recruits’ ambitions. This, in turn, means new hires can actively seek you out if what you offer matches their aspirations, plus they have a good understanding of your brand’s purpose and culture before they’ve even joined.

This is mutually beneficial. It means, essentially, to use dating vernacular: if you’re ‘right’ for each other, your relationship is more likely to go the distance. And isn’t that what we all want, in romance as well as in our career decisions?

So, how can you make sure that your employer brand content is catching the eyes of the right talent for you? This 10-point plan will give you the tools you need to get started.

01. Invest in strategy

As with anything business-related, thinking strategically about how you’re going to achieve your goals is crucial. What’s your overarching objective? Is it simply to reduce employee churn or to increase your diversity? Are you trying to shift your organisation’s culture to meet new world challenges?

If so, you may need to attract some different sorts of qualities and skills to what you’ve looked for in the past – not to mention think about how to make sure these differences are welcomed and nurtured when they arrive. Map your plan to your goals and work out how specific content formats and themes will help you get there.

02. Think about audience personas

It’s likely that you’re looking to recruit for a certain cultural fit, role type, or location. Have you spoken to current employees about what they were looking for during their job search when they found you? Draw up detailed personas in order to help keep your desired audience front of mind at all times.

03. Answer the questions your audience is asking

Whether potential candidates are interested in company culture, perks, employee success stories, or your approach to CSR, make sure it’s covered in your content. EY does a killer job of this with its UK careers site. Equally, if you want to learn more about EY’s approach to inclusivity, it’s there. Access all areas for the next generation of EY talent.

04. Be authentic

When it comes to employer brand content, there’s a tendency for brands to favour slick and stylised over authentic. But take a leaf out of KPMG’s book and give your audience something genuine and honest to mull over. Their ‘The Real Deal’ video series shows employees from across the business talking about the pros and cons of working at KPMG. Nothing sounds rehearsed (because it isn’t) and specific challenges are confronted and discussed rather than glossed over. Excellent work from one of the Big Four.

05. Don’t be afraid to show your funny side

Your brand purpose will obviously dictate your tone of voice – and for some organisations, dry humour and slapstick gags just won’t fly – but it’s always worth considering audience preferences. If you’re looking to appeal to graduates, avoiding funny content is perhaps a mistake. For hilarious employer brand inspiration from brands like Dropbox and Intel, check out this Spoon blog.

06. Think about (and invest in) distribution

You’ve worked out what content you’re producing and why, but where is this content being distributed? Presumably it’ll be hosted on your company’s website, but how will it be signposted and shared? Organically on social channels, or are you considering paid distribution?

Creating content is one step: the next is ensuring it’s seen by the right people at the right time. On this point, don’t forget to encourage your existing employees to share content on their own channels. Research shows that content shared by employees receives eight times more engagement than content shared by brands.

07. Don’t underestimate the power of the people

(aka user-generated content)

There are no better qualified advocates than your most fulfilled employees. People buy into other people rather than brands, plus your happiest employees will give you some insight into what sort of folk thrive in your culture and environment. Do any of your team have a talent for the written word or a love of being in front of the camera? Work out how to involve them in your content immediately: it’ll reap big rewards in the long term.

08. Be less predictable with your formats

Video content is popular for a reason, so make sure you’re using it to shine the spotlight on current talent and company culture. But don’t be afraid to mix things up: photos with compelling stats or inspirational quotes can work well on social, while interactive infographics can be a great way of telling your brand’s story.

Think outside the box, too. Handing a camera to one of your newest recruits could be a great way of generating user-generated content that flies on channels like Instagram and Facebook. Don’t forget to ask your top talent what sort of content would attract them.

09. Identify and celebrate your biggest brand champions

We’ve talked about how your people should play a big part in your employer brand content. After all, your people literally are your brand: their voices combine to make you who you are. Identify a group of your strongest brand champions and encourage them to play an active and leading role in telling your collective stories. This will help your pride in what you’re working on shine through and show prospects what an exciting brand story they too could be a part of.

10. Measure, reflect and iterate

It’s not rocket science: content performance should be measured and analysed in order to determine what’s working and what’s not. This will help you paint a more accurate picture of your audience and their consumption habits and improve your content as a result. Test and see what sort of content really resonates and truly helps to attract those quality, ‘right’ people for your culture and needs.

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