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What is an employer brand, and how can we develop an employment branding strategy?

An employer brand is an important part of the employee value proposition and is essentially what the organization communicates as its identity to both potential and current employees. It encompasses an organization’s mission, values, culture and personality. A positive employer brand communicates that the organization is a good employer and a great place to work. Employer brand affects recruitment of new employees, retention and engagement of current employees, and the overall perception of the organization in the market.

To develop an employment branding strategy, organizations may want to consider the following:

  • Know the organization’s business, vision, mission, values and culture. Understand the organization’s business objectives and what talent is needed to accomplish those objectives. Define the company’s unique attributes.
  • Conduct internal research to understand how the organization is perceived by its current employees, as well as by its target candidate group, and what these employees or potential employees want from the organization. Identify top talent, and ask what those employees like about working for the company. Determine the attributes of these star employees that the organization would want to attract.
  • Conduct external research to learn how the organization is positioned in relation to the competition. Research may be conducted through applicant surveys, as well as via Internet searches, social media or firms that conduct reputation monitoring.
  • Define an employee value proposition that clearly communicates the value of the brand the organization is developing. The employee brand should truly reflect what is special about the organization and must be aligned with its customer brand.
  • Develop an employee marketing strategy. The strategy should have a two-pronged approach. First, the recruitment strategy should focus on reaching the targeted applicant base. Attention should be directed to the career page, recruiting sites, social media and other external recruitment sources. The second prong centers on consistently communicating the employee value proposition to current employees to retain and engage them. Use employee testimonials to affirm the brand.
  • Align the employer brand with the overall company brand. Work with the marketing and communications groups to ensure a holistic branding approach.
  • Ensure that the people and management practices support the organization’s employer brand. Training, coaching, compensation and other HR-related practices can be used to support the brand.
  • Develop and use metrics to assess and track the success of the employer brand. Metrics may include quality of hire, brand awareness, employee satisfaction, employee referrals or other metrics.


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