Why Employer Branding is Important

You’ve undoubtedly heard about the importance of having a strong employer brand.  In this blog post, we’re going to review some interesting cases where companies have focused on employer branding efforts and seen immediate and impactful results.

What is Employer Branding?

Employer branding is how companies promote themselves as an employer of choice to help attract and retain the right talent.  This includes sharing details on company culture, the company’s vision and mission, and the work environment. In basic terms, employer branding gives an insiders’ view on what it’s like to work at your company.  For good or bad, your employer brand should be honest and make it clear why someone would want to be part of your business.

An Honest Look at Amazon

There is no doubt that you or someone you know has shopped on Amazon.com. In February 2017, it was reported that Amazon had over 300 million customers worldwide, with 80% of them shopping on the site at least once a month.  The convenience of finding exactly what you’re looking for, day or night, and having it shipped directly to your house (often within two days) is an experience people have come to depend on.  As far as consumer brands go, Amazon ranks among the best.

But what comes to mind when I ask, “What is it like to work at Amazon?” Is it a respectful, caring employer with a great culture?  Or, is it a tough, cutthroat environment with unreasonably high standards? Back in 2015, the New York Times wrote an expose titled, “Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace” and it was less than flattering. In it, were stories of how executives were caught crying at their desks and how ulcers were a company-wide concern.

Did this stop people from wanting to work at Amazon? Hardly. Job seekers are interested in Amazon more than ever. In 2016, applications for Amazon jobs increased 25% over the previous year, and just last month they announced plans to hire 100,000 workers by mid-2018. So, what is going on?

Despite the negative press and the abounding criticism of the work environment, Amazon’s employer brand is accurate.  It is a tough place to work – it’s demanding, fast-paced and competitive. And for some people, this is exactly the kind of workplace they are looking for.  By being transparent about the culture, Amazon has turned what many consider a negative employer brand, into one that is strong and focused on attracting the kind of people who will thrive in that type of environment.

GE Evolves and GoDaddy Changes Perceptions

Amazon is just one case of why employer branding is so important, but there are many more examples. General Electric is slated to become one of the world’s largest software companies by 2020.  To meet their hiring needs, GE has evolved their employer brand from a traditional manufacturing company to that of an exciting tech company. After deploying an ad campaign showcasing their commitment to innovation, visits to GE’s career site have increased 66% month over month.

In another case, the world’s largest domain name register, GoDaddy, earned a questionable reputation thanks to some popular Super Bowl commercials. Critics alleged the ads objectified women, which was a huge turnoff to many job seekers, especially women.  Even though GoDaddy’s culture was not the one reflected in its commercials, the opportunity to establish an accurate employer brand was clear.  In recent years, the company has promoted workplace diversity, created a professional network for women, and was named as one of the Top Companies for Women Technologists in 2015.

Your Employer Brand

Every company has an employer brand, whether it’s well-known or not.  If you’re part of a small start-up or a large, established organization, there is no better time than now to focus on creating a strong employer brand.

Gather honest feedback from your employees and review external perceptions.  Craft your employer brand story truthfully, and be sure it reflects your company’s culture and values.  With a clear message in hand, start spreading the word. Focus on attracting talent that have the skills and the personality needed to succeed and help your business grow.  Your employer brand can develop and evolve over time, or even change completely.  The key is to be honest about what it’s like to work at your company. The more transparent your employer brand is, the more likely you are to have a happy and loyal employee base.