Employer Brand – attracting the best talent

Employer branding is essentially, your business reputation. When managed and communicated effectively, it will reap huge rewards for talent acquisition which will in turn, lead to an increase in the success of your business by reducing hiring costs and increasing productivity. With the average tenure in Australia being around three years and four months (source: McCrindle), it is vital to ensure you not only recruit the right people for your business, but you retain them as well.

Given that a business is the sum of many individuals, how can you build and then maintain your employer brand effectively? We spoke to Sally Mlikota, Director CBC Staff Selection to find out more.

’’Attracting the right people for your company goes beyond simply presenting a great job description – people these days want to work for businesses who have overarching morals that align with their personal beliefs.

Your organisation’s vision and mission help to clearly and succinctly define the long-term objectives, the reason your company exists and how it goes about its business. These statements ensure customers and employees have a clear understanding of what to expect when engaging with your business, helping potential candidates evaluate if your opportunity is right for them.

It is important to note at this point that just because you have a highly regarded consumer brand, it doesn’t necessarily mean people want to work for you. Uber for example, has grown exponentially of late and remains a popular choice of transport compared to traditional taxi services however, the various lawsuits which allege gender bias and racial discrimination (source: Ars Technica), are well reported. This demonstrates that no matter the size of your business, if your vision and mission aren’t reflective of reality, you will more than likely be found out.’’

This all makes perfect sense but before you start tearing around the office to interview your staff about whether they are happy in their jobs, Sally has prepared her top tips for employer branding success to ensure you attract and retain the right talent from the outset.

1. Company culture – positive or negative?

Workplace bullying is well documented as being high on the list of reasons people leave seemingly ‘good’ jobs. When you spend nearly 40 hours a week in one place, it’s important that you are respected by your colleagues and of course, by your boss. By conducting regular staff reviews and keeping in touch with the general sentiment of the people who work for you through informal morning teas or other social activities, you’ll be more likely to identify and then hopefully fix, any toxicity which may have crept in.

Digital word of mouth through company review websites such as Glassdoor and Seek which operate in a similar fashion to Trip Advisor, mean that it is quicker and easier than ever before, for bad news to travel fast and let’s face it, we all like to conduct research before we make important decisions like whether to apply for a job.

 2. Work/life balance

Most of us lead busy lives so it’s important to be flexible (within reason of course) if a staff member needs to finish early sometimes for personal reasons or has been unwell yet feels ‘guilty’ about taking time off and comes back to the workplace before they should. Those employers or managers who encourage staff to continue to rest whilst they recover, demonstrate a level of professionalism and compassion that employees will undoubtably remember and value, whilst at the same time avoids staff burn out or the spread of the illness throughout the team.

Be mindful that sometimes, events occur, and situations arise which are beyond anyone’s control, but by taking the stress away from your staff member and supporting them, you will find they will thank you for it and go that extra mile when needed. This doesn’t mean you have to say yes to every request, but it is important that each one is heard and that solid reasons are presented kindly should it not be possible to grant them, rather than simply saying ‘no’.

 3. Salary, perks and career development

Investing in the best staff means remaining competitive when it comes to salary and other benefits such as more than a typical number of annual days leave, or greater superannuation contributions. Whilst it’s true that not everyone is motivated by money, it’s hard not to respect a company who pays above the industry standard, instead of trying to reduce the budget spend through shaving dollars from the salaries of staff.

It is also important to ensure that there are opportunities for growth within the workplace. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a promotion, but there could be new skills that staff wish to learn and courses available which they can attend to achieve their goals.

 4. Location, facilities and convenience

There are several variables here and business owners must be practical as to what they can realistically achieve, particularly with location, but keep in mind if you’re looking to move to new premises, that you understand what’s important to your staff.

Carparking is one that comes up regularly, as is having chairs that aren’t propped up by a phonebook in an organisation which promotes the importance of ergonomics (true story!).

Are there places nearby where people can get some lunch? Is it a safe area to walk to? All these things are important.

 5. Be excellent communicators

Whilst we spend so much time communicating to customers or potential customers, organisations sometimes forget that effective internal communication is just as important. A strong employer brand communicates clearly and regularly to their team, whether that’s through newsletters, team meetings or conferences. Ensuring your team knows what’s going on in the organisation, successes that have been achieved and acknowledging those who have put in a sterling effort, will help bind your team together towards a common goal.

This plays an important role in the recruitment and induction process too, as high-quality candidates evaluate an organisation’s treatment of staff, through the communication they may or may not receive. A well thought out, structured induction and onboarding process will also help cement a good first impression, helping to efficiently embed a new employee into their role.

By Sally Mlikota, Director, CBC Staff Selection