Blog: Myths About Employer Branding that Prevent Companies from Attracting and Retaining Top Workers


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Jack Van Tiem

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A thriving economy and low unemployment is often viewed as positive. A case-in-point: the 4.3 percent unemployment rate for March for the Detroit-Warren-Dearborn MSA, which dropped by three-tenths percent compared to February. Dig deeper, however, and you will find a lot of angst among various companies as they scramble to attract qualified job seekers and retain current workers in ways they’ve never had to do before. 

How can employers lessen the anxiety and increase their success of hiring and retaining employees? They can start by examining their employer brand. While there are several myths related to employer branding, there are three that frequently get in the way of creating a workplace environment that attracts quality candidates and keeps valued workers on-board.

Myth: Our corporate brand communicates why we’re a great place to work.

A clearly defined corporate brand tells a great story to your customers, but it doesn’t tell potential employees what they want to know most: what it’s like to work at your company. That’s where an employer brand comes in. An employer brand is a viral-based perception that provides a window into what it’s like to work with and for an organization. A good employer brand gets people excited about the possibility of working for a company by communicating how they treat people, pay employees, engage with local communities, and more. According to a recent article from Monster.com, “understanding your employees as customers” is critically important. It’s at the heart of a strong employer brand, which motivates potential employees to apply for positions at your organization and reinforces why current employees should want to stay.

Myth: Recruiting is an HR function.
The role of human resources in hiring is important, but employee referrals, not HR, remain the best source for hiring. In fact, a 2017 study from SilkRoad found that employee referrals account for about a third (30 percent) of all hires and nearly half (45 percent) of internal hires — an increase of 5 percent year-over-year. Building an employer brand that looks at your organization from a candidate and employee point-of-view goes a long way in making employees your “salespeople” for recruiting job seekers. Their enthusiasm can become infectious and rise to epidemic proportions if properly cultivated by communicating the attributes that make your company stand out from the competition.

Myth: Tried-and-True methods are the best way to find qualified candidates.
The major problem with this statement is the word “best.” Certainly, what an organization has done successfully in the past shouldn’t be cast aside, but given today’s competitive labor market, leveraging your employer brand should be an essential part of any corporate recruiting efforts. According to a recent study reported by the Huffington Post, “while 75 percent of job seekers consider an employer brand before applying for a job, only 57 percent of organizations have an employer brand.” Worse, only 49 percent feel they have the tools to build one.

Building a strong and effective employer brand takes time. With 2018 continuing to progress with the scales tipped toward job seekers when it comes to deciding where to start or continue their careers, there’s no time to lose. Internally, live your organizational values, give your employees interesting work, and demonstrate that you value their contributions. Externally, publicize your perks, get involved in your community, and master social media so potential employees can easily discover just how rewarding working for you can be.  

Jack Van Tiem is the Detroit territory vice president for Kelly Services, a global leader in providing workforce solutions. He oversees the staffing and business solutions operations for Kelly throughout metro Detroit, with a focus on staffing for automotive, manufacturing, retail, financial services, and technology. 

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