With the tightest talent market we’ve seen in years, brands have been turning to marketing experts to play a larger role in the ability to recruit and attract top talent through employer branding initiatives. Some organizations have even created entire departments or added marketers on their Human Resource teams to stay ahead of the competition with their employer branding efforts.
With an evolving and challenging talent acquisition landscape in 2022, we reached out to expert marketers to get their perspectives and tips on how organizations can attract top talent through increased employer branding efforts.
Everything from social media optimization, authentically representing your teams and culture in a hybrid or remote work environment, storytelling, analytics and more are on the minds of employer branding experts.
We reached out to 12 marketing leaders to provide their #1 employer branding tip to help companies attract top talent in 2022.
Spencer Callaghan, Senior Manager, Brand & Communcations at Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA)
Live your values
The last two years have led to a massive shift in how people think about their careers; they want to know that what they do matters. This shift was already a significant trend amongst younger generations before the pandemic—bringing their whole selves to their work—but the last couple of years has accelerated it. People want to work somewhere where values are not just words; they are actions. An organization that wants to attract the best, most driven, most passionate employees does not just say the right things but also backs their values up with action. Don’t be shy to shout those actions from the rooftops; there’s nothing wrong with talking the talk if you’re also walking the walk.
Marissa Homere, VP Marketing at Irwin
The world is a much different place than it was even just last year. Attracting, and more importantly retaining top-quality talent now has to be an active effort instead of a passive one. People don’t have to work for employers that don’t align with their values and their view on work – there’s more choice than ever. In-office perks are a thing of the past, so you have to make working at your company an enjoyable experience including everything from flexible work, diversity and inclusion, and transparent compensation policies – and especially the working environment your company and leadership team create. It’s also hard to control this narrative with nice paragraphs in job descriptions, your existing employees have to feel and share these things. I think referral programs will increase in importance for employer branding in the coming years, with the most trust within the job market coming from current and past employees.
Brad Weir, Director of Engagement at Canadian Bank Note
Listening and Learning.
“If your business is built on relationships, make building them your business.” – Scott Stratton, Unmarketing
At CBN, we employ a customer intimacy strategy and have applied it to all areas of our business, including recruitment and retention. Building relationships by asking questions and listening to what customers, staff, and prospects are looking for helps us stand out from the crowd. Current employees choose our organization for a reason and stay for many others. Whether it’s the excitement of the work, opportunities for growth, culture, etc., their motives will be relatable to potential candidates. Having conversations and learning more about what they value in an employer allows us to become a better organization and connect with our audience in an honest and authentic way.
Sarah Ormon, Director of Marketing at Stratford Group
Show up in the right places!
When we’re talking about attracting talent, we’re talking about inviting, welcoming, and encouraging people to be a part of our community – to join us in our purpose and help us create and shape the future of our organization. We’re seeking to attract candidates with the proper skill set but, we’re also looking for those who can add the diversity of thought, experience, and expertise capable of contributing, nurturing, and growing our organization’s effectiveness. Ensuring your brand shows up in channels that reach and engage with a diverse candidate base is crucial. A few ideas to consider would be having brand presence and engagement with communities of underrepresented groups (BIPOC, LGBTQ+, Immigrants, Persons with disabilities), varied age groups (colleges, universities), or those beyond your office’s geographic location. Be intentional with where you’re sharing your brand’s story and value, and you’ll not only attract top-notch talent, you’ll also enrich your organization’s culture and value!
Andrew McWiggan, Chief Innovation Officer at Acart Communications
Vision, Connectivity and Centricity
People crave connection! Not in the way you might be thinking… Potential employees now more so than ever want to feel connected to your organization’s vision. So you better have one! It needs to be clear, easy to articulate and inspirational! How will they (the employee) fit into this vision, and how will they be able to make an impact? While some roles may have more impact than others, it’s been my experience that defining that sense of impact will lead to greater retention and employee satisfaction.
Connectivity extends past phone/email/teams/zoom and other systems, having a comprehensive HR process and onboarding approach is important for attracting talent. Monitoring employee sentiment, employee wellness and sharing regular vision updates create an attractive environment for candidates as they feel a stronger sense of connection to the business. And it doesn’t stop there, having the information is only part of the journey – it’s what you will do with that insight that really matters. The more deeply you can connect and understand employees, the better you will be able to drive growth, impact, and holistic success.
Lastly centricity – the pandemic has and will continue to have lasting impacts on recruiting efforts across North America (and the globe for that matter). Building a strategy that creates a strong connectivity between remote/hybrid and fixed environments is key. Creating a competitive strategy so that you don’t lose out on talent is critical. Challenging yourself to think differently and build systems that will be attractive to the type of candidates in all these varying systems is going to be the baseline expectation moving forward. How do you make your physical space inspirational? How do you make remote work enjoyable? How do you balance culture? Understanding that each of these environments operate very differently will allow you to compete for talent and ensure long-term success for employees and your business alike. The fact remains that this is the most competitive job market in recent history. Be fluid, be open, and be willing to adapt.
Kathleen McGuire, Director of Marketing at Gifford Carr Insurance Group
The competition to attract and retain talent amid what is being tagged as “the great resignation” is fierce. Beyond showcasing authentic company culture and values across channels, you must clearly deliver on your value proposition as an employer. Talent needs to connect and resonate with the energy of your brand. The last 18+ months have been a sea of uncertainty, after a long period of remote work people want to feel connected again and that includes connected to a work culture with a clear purpose and direction. Ultimately, top talent wants to find a role in an organization that aligns with who they are and with which they are excited to contribute to where the brand is going.
Hayden Cashion, Founder at Cashion Marketing
Create a content pillar on the company’s social media pages that showcases employees. This could be employee’s answering specific questions, employee’s showing off non-work related talents, employee’s storytelling moments that happen at work (projects, events, funny instances) or anything else. I believe putting the spotlight on employees (who want to be featured) will not only create a healthy brand to attract talent but it will also create more emotionally connected consumers.
Blair Burchill, Strategy Director at Xactly Design & Advertising Inc.
The #1 tip is to deliver the promise you offer. If you say you have a great work culture you must have that. If you say progressive and dynamic you must be that. Your employer brand truth is as important as your product brand truth in that it must deliver its promise. That said, bring your employer brand to life and make it engaging with a creative format that stands out, is different from the competition, and is memorable. It is the same as you should be doing for your product brand. Ensure your website describes what you offer with professional photos of events, the office, the team etc. Feature staff testimonials and customer testimonials about what it like working at or with your company. Keep your social media pages fresh and up-to-date with new content about your organization and its people. Maintain up-to-date profiles on job sites. Remember that potential staff, like potential customers, will do a lot of research into your company and your competition when making a decision, so you need to engage and inspire at all touch-points. Finally, think about running targeted ad campaigns for the people you’re looking for. With digital channels such as Facebook and LinkedIn, it is relatively inexpensive to target employees through lifestyle attributes, location, job title and more. Make the ad engaging and direct prospects back to your careers page, then they can find your other content as they do their research. If it all fits together you’re in a good place to get them in for an interview. Then making the sale is up to you.
Connie Hollett, Director of Marketing & Communications at Welch LLP
Focus on what is important to employees today.
These past two years have led to a dramatic shift in how we work and live. Demonstrating how your organization has adapted to meet the needs of employees today is crucial: flexibility of working location, investment in mental wellness, corporate values, and EDI, to name a few. To attract top talent, communicate how your company is meeting the needs of your employees across all of your marketing channels.
Brock Murray, Co-Founder at seoplus+
My top tip to help employers attract top notch talent in 2022 is to implement and promote employee referral programs. Since launching our employee referral program ($500 to a successful hire beyond 3 months) we have had 3 successful placements by existing employees. So far it has been a fantastic source of candidates for our firm, as like minded people typically network with each other and have similar interests in terms of work culture. I highly recommend this strategy!
Stef Reid, Director of Marketing at L-Spark
The power of social media is something that must not be overlooked when it comes to recruitment. Now more than ever, potential candidates are headed to social media to catch an inside look at company culture and the key activities a company is engaged in. Social media is a fantastic medium for you to showcase how awesome it is to work where you do.
A great place to start is by reviewing all of your social media accounts to ensure they 1) are active and not stale, and 2) truly reflect the nature of what it’s like to work inside your organization.
A key piece for us at L-SPARK is to have our employees active on social as well, not only to regularly engage with the content we post, but to also add their own perspectives to the overall narrative. This can be done by sharing personal success stories and fun initiatives they are engaged with as part of the organization.
Glenn Schmelzle, Founder at Marketing What’s New
The acquisition game, whether it be for customers or talent, is about more than attracting just any prospect.
Companies that do their homework are able to attract the best ones. Doing this in recruiting means knowing how to reach talent that’s as high quality as the people already on your team. A free tool for knowing this is Google Search Console. It yields insights on which terms people searched on to find your postings. Another way to do this is by looking at analytics for your ‘careers’ section. Tools like Google Analytics 4 (GA4) can not only tell what pages candidates read, but also how far they scrolled, whether they watched a video or if they came back again on the same or a different device.
Take it farther by gathering ‘what led you to us’ questions in your application intake. This closes the loop from creating content to knowing who it attracted. Twin this with hiring manager surveys for patterns between content themes and high productivity/retention. Use what you know about how you successfully landed your all-stars to build a lookalike audience that can attract more people like them.