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6 Insights from Building Top Employer Brands

What we’ve learned from helping global leaders recruit top talent

These days, it’s a job seeker’s market. And that means in order to win (and retain) the best talent your industry has to offer, you’re going to need a standout employer brand. We’ve been around the block a time or two here, partnering with everyone from a Big 4 accounting firm to a Fortune 100 financial institution and the manufacturer of your inner child’s favorite cereal. By extending their brand values to their employee experience, we help them become their most competitive in the eyes of today’s talent. Here are six insights we’ve learned along the way:

1. Retention is a recruitment strategy.

Investing in the values and needs of your current team builds the advocacy, loyalty, and morale needed to attract future talent into the workplace experience you’ve curated. Ask yourself what adjustments might be made to raise the bar on your current experience of your team before getting creative in recruitment tactics. When our partner, The Courage Collective, teamed up with a leading CPG brand to zero in on a plan to attract diverse top talent, they led with an insight that the success of a company’s DE&I commitments are more apparent in their ability to retain than in their ability to recruit.

Plus, taking an inside-out approach to building an attractive employee experience by focusing first on what aspects of your workplace have retained your team since they’ve gone through the hiring process will give you valuable insights about which areas your brand has successfully been “walking the walk” that it pitches to new candidates (and which areas you could stand to improve).

2. Immersion yields impact.

One of the strategic pillars our partner implemented as part of that same CPG brand’s recruitment strategy was immersion into the daily lives of the company’s leadership teams. Joining leaders in the trenches of their day-to-day schedules and challenges helped The Courage Collective ideate solutions on how change could be implemented most authentically.

When authenticity and empathy lie at the center of your employee experience, your brand’s intentions will be clear to your team and future candidates—ultimately boosting your brand as an employer.

When authenticity and empathy lie at the center of your employee experience, your brand’s intentions will be clear to your team and future candidates.

3. Tech investment is brand investment.

Giving your employees the technology resources to thrive serves your brand in three ways: it pushes the work, boosts employee morale, and positions the company as a tech forward employer (even if they’re not necessarily a tech company) to help attract candidates to tech roles.

When we worked with a Big 4 accounting firm to help them implement robotic process automation to increase efficiencies, we found that investing in technology can be a successful strategy for improving happiness in the workplace—the happier and more heard your team feels, the better environment you’re creating for new recruits to see the value in the space you’ve created. Dive deeper into our insights from that work here.

4. Messaging to one resonates with many.

When creating on-campus strategies to attract early talent to post-grad roles, it’s no secret that factoring in the values of your audience is essential (and in today’s early talent job market, that audience includes Gen Z). For example, one of Gen Z’s values is inclusion within a close community. That means they’ll want to hear messaging that feels personally directed at and meaningful to them.

In our work helping the same Big 4 firm craft a campus recruitment campaign, we found that there’s opportunity in leveraging this 1:1 messaging to show the talent pool as a whole where the company’s values lie. Tailoring messaging to promote inclusion and belonging not only helps diversify the pool of top talent, but it also shows all candidates how your brand’s values align with their own.

5. Paint an honest picture.

Similarly, authenticity is key when it comes to resonating with Gen Z. When interviewing new candidates, they’re going to ask about your company’s culture, DE&I initiatives, and work/life balance. The best policy you can adhere to here is being honest—about both the current realities inside company walls and the measures you have in place to achieve an ideal future state. Any smoke and mirrors will set you up for high turnover and a damaged employer brand.

We took this approach when we worked with a Fortune 100 financial institution. We understood that Gen Z sees change as a commitment to a long process that doesn’t have a quick fix. So we made sure the company maintained transparency about a future state they’ve envisioned and are proactive in creating for themselves, which will help Gen Z feel that they are joining a community that champions their shared values.

Any smoke and mirrors will set you up for high turnover and a damaged employer brand.

6. Champion agency—Gen Z is looking for it.

Today’s candidates want a path. They’re entrepreneurial-minded and want to feel in control of their goals, professional journeys, and accomplishments. Show that your brand champions agency in growth in ways like incorporating it into your messaging, providing employee testimonies, and investing in programs that help employees grow in their strengths and passions. 

We carried this insight into our partnership with the same leading financial institution, helping them execute on a messaging solution that encourages individual development that is supported by a robust community of teammates. In doing so, we helped them connect with Gen Z by making the company feel like a place that employees can make their own as they carve their paths for long-term career success. 

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