It may be obvious to say that employer branding plays an important role in any recruitment strategy, but it’s fast becoming the most critical asset in an employer's retention strategy too.

In the age of the great resignation, and with niche employers across highly specialist fields struggling to shore up staff numbers against difficult hiring headwinds, it’s risky business to offer a staff attrition silver bullet cure - but employer brand strategies do work effectively to mitigate turnover.

Most employers have, rightly so, found there is no one-size-fits-all approach to holding onto employees. Leaving a job, for any reason, is still a highly personal decision. But employer branding is personal. It's what I like to call a mast - it’s a tangible asset your team ties their personal “flag” to.

That’s because employer branding is more than savvy employer marketing or a well-remunerated referral scheme (however those things do help!). A well-crafted, well-communicated employer brand anchors and binds your company's purpose and your people together, providing guidance and leadership amid one of the toughest recruitment environments in a generation.

It also provides your staff with both career and behavioural direction. It helps focus employees’ time and effort into meaningful graft and gives them context to their work.

In essence, an employer brand provides meaning to your existing teams’ hard work. That is worth investing in. I think it’s absolutely essential that modern employers invest in employer branding curation on a continually evolving basis.

Here is why.

The employer brand promise.

I never tire of asking clients how they feel their employer branding strategy is working out, because good employers know employer brand messaging has to be constantly added to, augmented and allowed to evolve as workforces change, and as the working environment changes.

New marketing innovations and the dominance of social media, for example, have expanded the ways employers can get their brand seen - these platforms are providing a rich vein of creative outlet for many employers and I’m proud to be a part of it.

But let's pull it back a moment and focus on retention as a key strategic focus. How does the basic definition of employer branding affect retention of people? Well, as the CIPD puts it:

● Employer branding is “a set of attributes and qualities, often intangible, that makes an organisation distinctive, promises a particular kind of employment experience, and appeals to those people who will thrive and perform best in its culture”.

My abiding piece of advice for any employer building a retention strategy is never to forget the basics of employer branding.

Never forget the mast - the employment experience you offer - that your teams tie their flags to.

Does that experience end the second your staff sign a contract? Clearly not. Employer branding is something your staff need to feel part of, and need to witness, to feel an attachment to.

For any doubtful employers reading this who forget this cardinal rule of good employment practice, consider the costs of poor employer branding.

The cost of poor employer branding. Even though most employers in this day and age understand the value of a well-crafted employer brand, it’s still worthwhile highlighting the cost of a poorly defined one:

● “Employers who fail to invest in their reputation could be paying up to an additional $4,723 per employee hired” - LinkedIn

● “86% of job seekers say they would not consider working for a company with bad social standing” - Forbes.

● “Companies with a bad reputation or simply who are not attractive are expected to spend at least 10% more per hire” - Subsign.co.

When employees exiting a company complain about a culture clash, toxic work environments, or poor management go back again to the CIPD definition of employer branding. Consider the “employment experience” your current team work within.

  • Does it meet their expectations?
  • Are they happy?
  • Are they fulfilled?
  • Are they growing?
  • Are they appreciated?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions on a staff member-by-staff member basis, you don’t have the data to improve not only their lot at work but your entire cultural direction and internal employee management strategy.

The secret power of employer branding within referral networks.

● “Potential applicants trust employees three times more than the company itself to provide candid insights into what it’s truly like to work there” - Reputation.com.

This quote perfectly encapsulates why I think well-curated employer branding is so important to current staff management and retention strategy building.

I could list off a thousand ways to improve the nuts and bolts of employer brand building (and in another blog, I’ll discuss this at length!), but beyond the technical management, brand storytelling, and marketing panache needed, the success of your employer brand hinges on the ability of your staff to advocate for it in your referral networks!

Your employees are your first, and most trusted vector of employer brand communication - they need to embody your employer brand in word and deed and after all, people want to work for companies who share their goals, their passions, their purpose and their mission. This cultural connection between staff and potential new staff is hiring magnetism. It’s also staff retention fuel.

Evolve is a talent lifecycle specialist consultancy within the MedTech, Pharmaceutical, Life Sciences and Healthcare industries.

To read more about our employer branding service, and how it can help your company develop a market-leading employer value proposition to attract, hire and retain the best talent for your business, visit our employer branding page.