Want to Improve Your Employer Brand? Listen to Your Employees

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer October 24, 2022
LIKE SAVE
team meeting

​New research from Glassdoor shows how generating honest, two-way communication with your employees is critical to creating an effective employer brand.

The key to successful employer branding starts before the crafting of an external narrative—it begins with transparent communication with your workforce, said Taylor Meadows, head strategist, employer brand and voice, at Glassdoor, speaking at Indeed FutureWorks, a conference held recently in New York City. Glassdoor and Indeed are sister companies, owned by Tokyo-based Recruit Holdings.

In May, Glassdoor surveyed 475 employment brand and talent acquisition professionals and 850 workers. "The good news is that 80 percent of employees said they were happy at work most of the time and 37 percent are very satisfied at work," Meadows said. "But of that same group of most satisfied employees, over half [58 percent] said they are still looking for a new job and would leave if the right opportunity came along. So, meeting employees' basic needs or simply making them 'happy' no longer translates to high levels of loyalty."

The research showed how important employee experience and workplace transparency are to succeed in this new employer/employee dynamic, Meadows said. "We discovered that companies with the strongest employer branding practices are also the ones that prioritize transparency."

Transparency has become something of a buzzword. To clarify, it means being authentic, following through on promises, being open about successes and failures, and proactively sharing why decisions were made that affect everyone at the organization, Meadows said.

When asked, respondents specifically said they want more transparency around employee communications; diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) goals; and salary information.

"When you think about communication, it would be meaningful for an employee to know why certain decisions were made," Meadows said. "Let them know why a hiring freeze is being implemented, or the reasons behind a new policy. When it comes to DE&I, perfection is not expected, but employees want to know where we are today, where we've come from and where we are going. Salary is a touchy subject, but no one should have to guess how much money they are going to make. Give people the information they need to make an informed decision about applying for a new role."

Create Your Brand from the Employee Experience

The best employer brands are using employee experience at the forefront of their strategy, Meadows said. "They recognize that without investment in and maintenance of a valuable employee experience, their employer brand is at risk. If the public face of a company doesn't match the experience employees actually have, their employer brand is less credible. Companies with authentic employer brands are sharing the real deal with potential new hires, fostering a two-way dialogue with employees, taking feedback they receive to heart, and making changes."

He explained that branding is often seen as an outward-in exercise, "creating content we think people want to see, putting it out into the world and hoping we interest the right people."

But, he said, inverting that concept—branding as an inward-out exercise—could yield interesting results.

"If you create exceptional employee experiences first and lean into that, that will allow the employee voice to sing and influence successful recruiting," he said. "Great talent will come into the organization, probably stay longer, and when they leave—if the brand is strong enough—they become a referral engine. In the best-case scenario, they boomerang back."

Meadows recommended asking workers why they are proud to work at the company. Those responses can then be turned into the employer brand goal.

"That should be the repository of inspiration you use when updating job postings, writing company profiles, and sharing stories with candidates and job seekers," he said.

Another way to influence the narrative is responding to employee feedback, including employee reviews. "Even if you cannot take concrete steps to address concerns right now, let employees know that as well," he said. "If you receive negative or critical feedback, respond constructively. Try to never leave employee comments unacknowledged, as this damages employee experience and therefore your brand."

LIKE SAVE

SHRM HR JOBS

Hire the best HR talent or advance your own career.

Member Benefit: Ask-An-Advisor Service

SHRM's HR Knowledge Advisors offer guidance and resources to assist members with their HR inquiries.

SHRM's HR Knowledge Advisors offer guidance and resources to assist members with their HR inquiries.

REACH OUT NOW

SPONSOR OFFERS

HR Daily Newsletter

News, trends and analysis, as well as breaking news alerts, to help HR professionals do their jobs better each business day.