Employer Branding in 2021: Tips to Attract Top Talent from Expert Marketers
Marketing plays a critical role for organizations to be able to attract top talent through employer branding initiatives. With an evolving and challenging talent acquisition landscape in 2021, we reached out to expert marketers to get their perspectives and tips on how organizations and human resource leaders can attract and retain top talent through increased employer branding efforts.
Collaboration, even in a remote workfroce and virtual world, needs to be a priority for both marketing and human resource departments in order to achieve desired results from a talent acquisition standpoint. These 13 marketing leaders helped shed light on everything from creating a personalized candidate journey, authenticity, brand personality, utilizing social media and more to keep top of mind with the entire leadership group to ensure the greatest return possible from their employer branding and executive recruitment efforts.
We asked marketing leaders to provide their #1 employer branding tip to help companies attract top talent.
Kyle Turk – Vice President of Marketing – Keynote Search
Employer branding will become more and more personalized for varying candidate personas to create better candidate experiences. By putting a focus on guiding qualified candidates down a personalized journey to ensure everything from your messaging, graphics and approach will resonate, it is sure to help convert more qualified candidates to consider roles and improve your employer branding return on investment. For example, you can’t assume that what might attract a Chief Financial Officer to engage and connect with your brand would be the same as a Chief Marketing Officer. There needs to be clear paths that have different experiences for different types of roles and personas.
Many organizations have been working hard on their overall employer brand to attract suitable candidates to consider roles over the last few years. Now that the foundation has been built (if it hasn’t you are behind the eight ball), many businesses will look to conversion metrics for their employer branding efforts to drive a higher return on investment.
Nicole Cheffey – Vice President of Marketing – GoFor Delivers
Social media is a great medium for attracting talent. Be sure to emulate your brand with authenticity using real images of your people. Let people in and give them a glimpse of the inside to see who you are and what it would really feel like to work for your brand.
Brady Hambleton – Vice President, Marketing, Engagement & Analytics – Canada’s Children’s Hospital Foundations
Be accessible and authentic
Most organizations invest an incredible amount of time, energy and effort into branding and differentiating themselves in their respective markets – as they should. But all too often, they overlook how they showcase and highlight the people who live their brand values, and arguably are the most important assets in what truly makes the organization special. What helps the best brands and top workplaces standout? Their people – particularly when there is a deliberate, authentic and accessible strategy that reinforces and celebrates everyone in a humane and approachable way. This goes beyond an organization’s website – it should permeate every channel, and be infused into every available touchpoint – so that is not just a “plan on a page” but a reflection of your core values.
Mairi Thomson – Director of Marketing – Relogix
Articulate your brand personality
To stand out in the crowd and attract candidates who are the right cultural fit for you, it’s important to articulate your brand personality that is authentic to your company. Make sure that the image you are communicating to candidates is aligned with who you really are as a company, so when they join your team there are no surprises and they will stay with you for the long-term.
Marissa Homère – Director of Marketing – Versature
I think the biggest thing is value. It’s tablestakes now to include modern employee perks and benefits, but remember that those things do not make a culture. Compensation structures, fair pay, autonomy, and diversity and inclusion tend to show that you truly value talent and have more impact on someone’s life than their ability to play foosball and drink beer. Now more than ever, top talent have options when it comes to the kind of organization they are looking to work for, and can see through the “perks” when looking for somewhere that will truly value their input and align with their values.
Jordan Hamilton – Director of Marketing – ProntoForms
Video has worked exceptionally well at ProntoForms in this regard (our ‘Office Tour’ video is referenced on nearly every new hire onboarding). Fortunately for hiring organizations, video as a medium has never been more approachable – WFH has decreased the standard for elaborate and professionally shot epics, so be creative and seek to add video strategically along your onboarding and recruitment journeys. Humanization is not limited to video either; the tone and voice of job postings, as an example, is another way to let the personality of your organization shine through. Bonus tip: having a phenomenal people and culture team who genuinely care, and embody your corporate values, helps tremendously!”
Connie Hollett – Director of Marketing – Welch LLP
Today, the most effective employer branding is anchored in organizational values. Values-led branding demonstrates the organization’s culture, helping to attract talent who are the best fit. Start by clearly defining your ideal candidate persona, and make note of what’s important for them to know about your organization. Then audit your marketing assets and communication channels to refine your messaging to ensure alignment. By leading with values in your organization’s brand, it will go a long way to not only attract, but also retain top talent.
Brock Murray – Co-Founder – seoplus+
Utilize Social Media
My #1 employer branding tip to attract top notch talent is to utilize social media and promote your company culture. Prior to committing to an organization, candidates will often review your company’s Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and even TikTok! Be sure to share behind the scenes photos and video of your team enjoying social events, collaborating (virtually of course), community involvement, and sharing any notable achievements. Potential employees want to learn more about the culture of their future workplace and do so primarily through social media channels.
Lesley Slack – Director of Marketing – Tehama
Pivot, Testimonials & Media
Marketing and Talent Acquisition leaders working closely together must be willing to quickly pivot to reflect what’s going on in the world to attract top talent. For example, many employers recently updated their messaging to let top talent know that permanent remote work is an option, which will surely sweeten the deal for many. But there’s always more to the decision than just the benefits and perks. Customer testimonials and employee reviews are powerful. And media coverage that creates buzz about your company will attract top talent who want to work for a leading, innovative company where they can thrive and take their career to the next level.
Kathleen McGuire – Director of Marketing – Gifford Carr Insurance Group
Integrate culture and social impact into your content plan
More and more brand marketing efforts and recruitment initiatives are overlapping. Candidates are factoring in fit with a company culture and the social impact of the company when selecting opportunities. Integrate these pieces into your content plan throughout the year, not just when recruiting. Like any good brand story, an authentic picture of your company culture builds overtime. It is important to foster a brand and company culture that align. Involve your team in developing your company culture story. Showcase your talent, with both behind the scenes footage on what they like most about working with the company and allow them to highlight their expertise in thought leadership content for your brand. This will not only give a human interaction element to your content – which may be difficult in remote work times – but provides prospective candidates and corporate partners an authentic look at who they would be working with. Involving your team provides an opportunity to develop employee engagement in your brand story. This allows you to build genuine brand advocacy from within. Afterall, don’t you want more talent like your current all-stars? It’s a win-win for building both your brand and company culture.
Rachel Kerr – Director of Brand Marketing – Bushbalm
Clear image and values
Your brand plays a huge role in whether or not people want to work for you. You want your brand to be as inclusive as possible and your company values to be clear. If you believe that your company is a great place to work for anyone, then anyone should look at your brand and feel that they are being reflected. Your branding, website, online recruiting process, social media, and anything public-facing should have a clear image of what you stand for, who stands with you, and why. This should also include your existing employees because they make up parts of your brand identity as well.
Lindsay Sherman – Director of Marketing – Raymond EMC
Avoid clichéd messaging
It’s important to keep in mind that your recruitment branding or messaging is just as important as your company’s branding. It’s not only a reflection of your work culture and general atmosphere, but also reflects your overall brand.
Avoid clichéd messaging – be authentic. We’ve all seen and read about words like “team building”, “growth opportunities”, “great benefits”, “downtown office”….but none of these words help describe your company’s values and goals. Many senior-level or highly talented people want to work for a company or business that is actively working to make a difference, so it’s important to show this as accurately as possible. It could mean the difference between applicants who are just looking for a job, and applicants who want to reach your goals as a company.
Chris Yeldon – Director of Marketing – Multiview Corporation
Empower employees to tell their stories
Shift the model – both from the perspective of the employees’ stories and the way in which they are created. Video has always been a powerful medium to get messages across. However, in the new remote environment, the rawness and authenticity of these employees’ stories resonate more with potential candidates than something scripted and produced.
When your company has developed a strong, employee focused culture, then empowering employees to tell their stories, their way, reinforces the company’s core values to be ‘people first’.