Employer branding and employee engagement
As competition for top talent is growing increasingly fierce, companies are putting more and more resources toward employer branding. This is very understandable, considering that the ability to hire the right people is critical to the success of any business.
So, what can you do to build strong employer brands to attract the talent you need?
The truth is you can't build an employer brand without first focusing on your existing employees. You need to build a healthy company culture of engagement, inclusion, diversity, and trust first.
If you focus on this and do it well, you may not even have to put so much effort into building your employer brand — simply because your employees will do it for you.
Employee engagement is the key to a strong employer branding strategy
Today, word of mouth travels faster than you can say "tweet." And if your organization is not walking its talk, potential candidates will find out. So instead of focusing on polishing the outside of your company vehicle, building a solid employer brand is done by looking under that hood to see how things are actually working.
Are people happy and fulfilled? Do they get recognition for their hard work? Do they feel a sense of belonging? A sense of purpose and alignment with your company values?
If they do, congratulations! Then you really won't have to do all that much, except provide your people with the tools and channels to tell the world – because they will happily do so.
But if not, it's time to take action. Strong employer brands are built on authenticity and transparency. So, how will you know what's under that hood? The best way is to ask your employees — regularly and in a structured way. Not just once a year, but continuously. That way, you will know what is working and where there's room for improvement. And you can be proactive, iterate and build a thriving workplace — together.
Related reading: Employee engagement surveys and benchmark data
3 steps to building a strong employer brand
1. Use employee surveys and eNPS scores to monitor progress
Use engagement surveys to monitor the employee experience and track your eNPS (employee net promoter score). This way, you can ensure things are moving in the right direction. Make sure your surveys cover all important drivers behind employee engagement — such as workload, autonomy, communication and feedback, and employees' relationships with their managers — and make sure you have a structure for follow-up questions.
2. Involve and empower everyone to help drive positive change
It's crucial to involve the whole organization and empower all your employees to take part in driving change. By making individual survey results available to each employee, you enable self-leadership and accountability. Managers can use the survey results to create action plans together with their teams. By fostering an inclusive and collaborative approach, you take some pressure off HR and managers and create a dynamic where everyone cooperates to build a better workplace.
3. Track progress, stay agile, and iterate along the way
Employee engagement and your employer brand are living, breathing things that will change and evolve. They're not something you can set and forget; they should always be on the agenda. That's why agile pulse surveys are a better tool for improving engagement than annual surveys. It's essential to be agile and work proactively. This means different things in different organizations, but some things apply everywhere. The need for regular feedback, one-to-ones, and clear communication around goals and expectations is universal and an essential part of increasing engagement.
Build a culture where people thrive
Strong employer brands facilitate both recruitment and retention. And a strong employer brand equals a workplace where people love to work. The better you understand your employees — what they like, what they need, and what brings out their best — the easier it will be to create that workplace.
By building a culture of safe communication and feedback, you're paving the way for people's success. And when your people succeed, so will your organization.
A version of this article was originally published on Forbes.com