Employer Branding: Is It Really Worth It?

The race for companies to attract and hire the world’s top talent is real, and it’s a race that’s more competitive than ever. Everything indicates that good employer branding is the key to winning this race, but is it really worth investing in or is it just another hype?

First up, what happens when you don’t invest in employer branding?

A Google search indicates there’s not much out there about the cons when it comes to employer branding. Back in 2013, Mark Ritson wrote a slamming article about why employer branding can do real harm to a company, but it didn’t pick up much traction. The thing is, it’s not really about “not” doing employer branding, it’s what happens when you “don’t care” about employer branding, and ultimately end up with a bad one.  

Bad employer branding can cost a company with 10,000 employees an extra $7.6 million in additional wages. How is this so?

It was reported by CareerBuilder that on average, for every position that remains vacant for over three months, businesses lose more than $14,000.  One-sixth of these businesses agreed that this figure can be more than $25,000. Add in some negative Glassdoor reviews about your company, no one will apply for your jobs advertised on job boards, and you’ve got yourself one very expensive hiring problem.

When making a decision on where to apply for a job, 84% of job seekers say the reputation of a company as an employer is important. (Glassdoor, Harris Poll, April 2017)

However, money aside, what other value is there in it?

You need a better team to beat your competition

One of the biggest reasons to invest in employer branding is because it attracts better talent. When you attract better talent, it means you build a better team. When you build a better team than your competitor (you are, after all, bidding for the same candidates), your product or service gets better and ultimately you end up on top. Therefore, if the success of your company lies directly on your team’s shoulders, why shouldn’t you want the best talent? As Tiffany Wilson from Smashfly put it: “Talent acquisition isn’t selling jobs; it’s selling employer brand and purpose.

That reason alone should be enough to make you start taking employer branding seriously. But there’s more.  

You’re going to need Millennials (and Generation Z) at some point

Whether or not you agree with the Millenials approach of “always looking for something better, more promising and more exciting”, the fact is they do take up over a third of the US job market.

In fact, Millenials are well-known for sizing up companies before they even apply for job. They research company backgrounds online and read reviews from former employees. In fact, the average candidate uses 18 different resources to research a company before applying for a job.

Millenials do brilliant things for companies, but they also care about employer branding far more than any other generation. With Generation Z (the true digital natives) on their way, there is no escaping the huge impact employer branding will have on candidates in the years to come.

So, how much do you need to spend to get it right?

With the chance that bad employer branding will cost you a significant amount of money, how much do you need to spend to get it right? The answer is not much.

Chances are, if you already care about your employer branding enough to be reading this, you probably already have a good company culture, and your employees like working for you. The problem is the only people that know this information are on the inside of your company. If you want to attract great talent, you’re going to need to communicate this to the outside world (and your potential candidates). Your current employees are your best asset; they are brand ambassadors and can greatly influence your external reputation when it comes to your employer branding: you just need to encourage them to do so.

“There are no better ambassadors for your organization than your employees. In fact, Millennials we’ve surveyed who say they have a great workplace were 8x more likely to tell others they’re proud to be part of their companies.” (Great Place to Work, 2017)

There are various means of leveraging this, whether it be through an employee referral program or putting the word out there on social media, but the key here is to be transparent and appreciate that your employees are giving great word-of-mouth advertising for your company to the outside world.

Long gone are the days of fuzzy company values and visions being kept behind closed doors. If you want to attract top talent, you’re going to need to have a great employer brand. Good news is though, if you’ve already got one, all you need to do is get the word out there.

Majella Grawatsch

Majella is committed to developing Firstbird's referral platform and pushing the boundaries of HR. Part of the team since 2015, she spends lots of time crafting and writing content across a variety of areas.

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