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How to create an authentic employer brand: 6 tips

Employment branding

Candidates have many job options today, and they put a lot of effort into making the right choice. To appeal to them, an authentic employer brand is key. Still, many HR teams struggle to deliver a sincere and complete image of their organisation. These guidelines point you in the right direction.

If you’d like to stand out, simply being different doesn’t cut it. You want people to really feel your brand.
Remember, you’re not selling jobs but inviting people to become part of your family. That means less marketing and more communication. As the saying goes, you can’t expect loyalty if you can’t provide honesty. Here are some clear-cut tips to get started.

#1 Give the mic to your employees

Who better to tell what it’s like to work for you than the people that actually do? Interview staff who are willing to transparently articulate their candidate and employee journey. Use that info to define your key assets for job-seekers. And don’t keep it to yourself. Share compelling (but honest) employee stories on your website and via social media for everyone to see. Recruitment starts by turning your own employees into brand ambassadors.

#2 Own your mistakes and shortcomings

If you’re consistently receiving negative employee feedback, don’t be dismissive. Instead, take a proactive approach to managing your reputation. Be open about your mistakes or points of improvement. And more importantly, communicate your plans to address those concerns. The same for the outside world: people are more attracted by a company that’s working on a better version of itself than by a company that’s supposedly perfect. 

#3 Include a mission, vision and purpose

In other words, tell candidates (but also your employees) more about why you do business. You don’t attract the best talent with a company car or free sushi lunches alone. A clear mission with social impact does. One that is concrete enough and is translated into ambitious objectives. Where are you heading, how and within which time frame? People want to know how they contribute to the project they sign up for.

#4 Show, don’t tell

Talk is cheap. For people to get a clear picture of what their life will be like working for you, you’ll need to show them. Share photos, make a company video or get creative with virtual reality. The ‘showing options’ for authentic employer branding are endless. This type of content helps people set realistic expectations about their future colleagues, your company culture and the physical (or hybrid) environment.

#5 Put yourself in the shoes of your applicants

You can take this tip quite literally. It might be a good idea to apply for a position and evaluate the process. Is it easy to find the information you’d like to get? How long does it take to get a response? Should you automate less or more? It’s always easier to optimise the candidate experience if you’ve actually experienced it. And if you find yourself stuck, know that there are HR partners out there who can help visualise your employer brand.

#6 Only promise what you can deliver

A non-negotiable for an authentic employer brand. Depicting a top brand that turns out to be an empty shell can quickly cause immeasurable damage to your reputation. You don’t want people tearing your promises apart on review platforms like Glassdoor. Employer branding is not about offering the best perks and benefits but about connecting with people in a human, transparent way – which doesn’t mean you have to underpromise.

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