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Why ignoring your employer brand is a huge mistake

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

Starved for skills by a shrinking talent pool, a powerful employer brand has become a critical component to organisations seeking to gain a competitive edge at no extra cost.

However, while most leaders recognise the importance of brand-building as a means to expanding their growing client-base, many still fail to realise that the same logic applies to talent acquisition.

Conceptualised by one Simon Barrow, the notion of an employer brand is widely used to define the ‘je ne sai quoi’ that keeps your employees loyal and brings new talent to the team.  Unsurprisingly, those who cultivate a reputation as a good employer and a pleasant place to work will fare better than those who take no action to improve their image. However, the cost of a poor or non-existent employer brand extends beyond a lack of website traffic.

The price of a poor reputation

According to research from LinkedIn, the price of a poor employer brand for a company with 10,000 employees could be as much as £4.1m. In fact, nearly half of the professionals surveyed claimed they would rule out taking a job entirely if a company exhibited the top three factors associated with a negative employer brand, no matter what salary was on offer. Business leaders looking to avoid the cost to the bottom line cannot afford to ignore the importance of employer reputation - after all, no company wants to spend more than they should, regardless of their size or place in the market.

The power of your ‘why’

Author and marketing consultant Simon Sinek once said that people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. When determining their strategy for client acquisition, marketing professionals often hark back to this principle to understand the unique advantage they have over the competition. However, this theory is not solely restricted to the purchasing decisions of consumers. In fact, why your company does what it does is the most powerful attraction for job seekers. From an employee perspective, all current vacancies appear almost identical if no effort is made to convey the values and beliefs of a company. In demonstrating your ‘why’, you gain the edge over the carbon copy job ads that your potential candidates have trawled through time and time again.

A missed opportunity

When searching for a new role, job-seekers today place significant weight on the working environment of a company and the values they hold dear. Together, these elements form the corporate ‘culture’ of an organisation; the patterns of accepted behaviour that shape the experience of employees. If your company culture is one of empowerment, it’s likely that your staff will spread the word to their family and friends about their positive experience. Similarly, a negative culture will likely cultivate a poor reputation from former or even current employees venting their frustrations. With this in mind, building your employer brand is much more than just a marketing task: it’s a chance to evaluate the satisfaction of your staff and whether the culture of your organisation boosts or batters your reputation.

As companies compete for high-quality candidates, an attractive employer brand is now table stakes in the talent war: ignore it at your own peril.

For 20 years, the Allen Associates team has been helping employers in Oxfordshire secure the talent they really need. Can we help you? Click here for more information.

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