How To Attract Talent With An Effective Employer Brand

Part of the challenge is managing a brand across the multiple platforms job seekers turn to when researching employment opportunities. Between social media, job boards, company career sites and word of mouth, it's a lot to handle -- but it's worth it.
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In the fight for talent, there seems to be one key factor organizations continually struggle with: their employer brand.

A 2015 CareerArc survey of more than 200 HR professionals and 1,300 workers found that while 75 percent of job seekers consider an employer brand before applying for a job, only 57 percent of organizations have an employer brand strategy. And what's worse, 49 percent of employers feel they do not have the tools to effectively build their employer brand.

Part of the challenge is managing a brand across the multiple platforms job seekers turn to when researching employment opportunities. Between social media, job boards, company career sites and word of mouth, it's a lot to handle -- but it's worth it.

At Grand Rounds, we've found a consistent, clear employer brand brings benefits to recruiting, employee retention, and the overall success of our organization.

Here are four steps to creating and maintaining an effective employer brand that will attract the talent your organization wants and needs:

1. Define, then feed your culture.

Establishing the culture and core values that give rise to an engaged team and, in turn, a successful company is critical. Embedding culture into the hiring process is especially important at outset. A bad hire early on has a ripple effect on subsequent hires and on the company's culture. Even the most skilled employees will underperform if they don't mesh well with the organization and its team. Being clear about culture in your employer branding helps potential employees discern if the company is one where they can be their most successful and fulfilled.

This is not about hiring stars of a certain ilk and finding a small army of their clones. As we've grown and matured we've evolved from focusing on cultural fit, to considering how a candidate might support and amplify our culture. Asking ourselves: How can the new team member enhance the culture instead of merely meshing with it? Is the candidate someone we'd be psyched to have on board in both supporting, challenging and expanding our efforts and our perspective? So, it's not about hiring people like us, but people who can make us better.

This process, which requires constant vigilance, starts with a potential candidate's first contact with the company. For employer branding to be successful, there needs to be distinct alignment among recruiting, hiring, onboarding, and the ongoing employee relationship. Each interaction should reinforce what we want the candidate to think and feel about Grand Rounds and their potential role within the company.

Not having this consistency is dangerous. A 2014 BambooHR survey found that of the respondents who had quit a new job within the first six months, 26 percent left because the job was different than they expected.

And while we are keen on talent and culture diversification, there are also non-negotiables. Folks who are curious, smart, kind and undaunted by the monumental task of transforming health care delivery. Patient empathy is a huge part of our culture. From the first conversation, we make it clear that although the business model is aimed at employers, the patient is our ultimate customer. When evaluating potential employees, we look for signs that they truly understand this, and are inspired by this purpose.

Such attention and care prolongs the hiring process, but it also means that all employees are poised to help nurture the living, breathing thing that is our culture.

2. Live your values.

It's not enough to hang colorful posters around the office. Employees and potential employees need to know how the company's values serve the organization, and vice versa. When values are wired into the office conversation, particularly as it relates to feedback, it underscores their meaning and importance. .

At Grand Rounds, when an employee and their contributions are celebrated, we give concrete examples of how they live our values. Tying everything that we do back to our values reinforces that how the work is achieved is as important, if not more so, than the achievement itself.

And when it comes to attracting talent, a solid culture built on values can be the deciding factor on a job offer. There's a lot of talk about the power of culture and work environment when recruiting Millennials. But, in our experience, seasoned professionals are also paying more and more attention to these factors when looking for a new job.

Employees who have worked at three or four startups where reality has fallen short of expectations are looking for culture-driven companies that value them and their work. They want assurance that what they see is what they'll get. Translating values into tangible behaviors is the best way for companies to show that.

3. Know your biggest selling point.

When developing a product brand, companies highlight what sets their offering apart. The same goes for building an employer brand. This may seem obvious, but it can be difficult for employers to identify what their employees actually love about the workplace.

Good hires attract good hires. Check in with high performers and find out what convinced them to join, as well as what keeps them dedicated long-term. Then find ways to promote those factors and benefits as part of your employer brand.

Best yet, give employees the power to share their stories and perspectives through social media and other platforms. There's no better channel for offering an accurate and credible picture of the company and its culture.

4. Welcome feedback and engage in the conversation.

Inevitably, any employer brand message that comes from the organization is going to be met with some skepticism. In the referral economy, consumers want unbiased sources to help them determine who to purchase from or partner with. It's no different when it comes to career decisions. That's why external platforms like Glassdoor are important when it comes to employer branding.

At Grand Rounds, we address the information asymmetry that exists between a patient and the traditional health care system. Not unlike what Glassdoor has achieved for job seekers by providing candidates the transparency they need to find a company and job they love.

Glassdoor allows employees -- current, former and prospective -- to anonymously post reviews, salaries, and interact with and contribute to employer brands. Companies can respond to reviews and validate benefits and salaries.

The result is a true insider view of the company for job seekers. While it's unnerving to give up control over what others are saying about the company, it makes for a more effective and efficient recruiting process.

The candidates that come to us from Glassdoor know what it's like to work at Grand Rounds.
The open forum discussion also provides organic, real-time employee feedback to our management team. To create a complete view of employee sentiment, not to mention a truly authentic employer brand, there needs to be a conversation occurring beyond the company's direct moderation.

And don't stop there. If you encourage the feedback, be prepared to listen and respond. Thank reviewers for their candid feedback, and enlist their help in problem-solving by offering a 1:1 meeting. Show yours is a culture where feedback is not only encouraged but also acted on.

What other steps are important when building an effective employer brand? Share in the comments below!

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