Employer brand

The 9 signs that you have a strong employer brand

Employer brand is for everyone

So, a strong employer brand makes the chances of capturing the imagination of top talent and inspiring existing employees much greater. That begs the question: is your employer brand living up to its full potential, or is there room for improvement?

Here, we share 9 ways to assess the strength of your employer brand to ensure it is having a positive impact on your recruitment efforts. For information on other aspects that will help with attracting and retaining talent, check out our complete guide to employer branding here

9 telltale signs that you’ve got a great employer brand:

#1 Employee retention rate is high

Employees come and go in any organisation. However, the rate at which employees voluntarily depart is a useful indicator of how well your employer brand is performing.

When you are able to retain employees for numerous years, it indicates that they see value in being part of your organisation. Whether it’s due to financial incentives like salary and bonuses, or a close affinity to the values and missions that your brand stands for, it shows that your employer brand is keeping people engaged.

Conversely, if employees leaving after a few months in the role is a regular occurrence, it could be a strong signal that their reality as an employee isn’t living up to the promises of your employer brand. 

So, when does turnover become a problem? While employee turnover rates vary from industry to industry and location to location, in the UK it averages out to around 15%. Use this as a benchmark – how does your turnover rate look in comparison?

To work out your monthly turnover rate, simply divide the number of employees who left your company during the month by the average number of employees at your organisation in the same period. For example, say you had an average 100 employees in your company and 7 leave, that month’s turnover rate would be 7%. 

To quickly calculate your turnover rate in any given period, work out:

A – The number of people you employed at the start of that period of time

B – The number of employees who left during that period of time

B/A = Turnover rate  

If your turnover rate is lower than your regional or industry average, it is a good indication that your employer brand is doing an effective job of keeping people tied to your organisation.

#2 You receive many unsolicited applications

Do you find that, despite having little to no vacancies listed, you still receive job applications and CVs from interested recruits? If so, that’s a powerful sign that your employer brand is resonating with top talent, and they like what they see.

While there is little statistical evidence as to what a ‘large number’ of unsolicited applications amounts to and will vary depending on the scale and reputation of your organisation, receiving these approaches indicates that people aspire to be part of your team. 

The fact that they are willing to make a completely speculative effort to join you should be a clear illustration that you’re sending the right messages out there. If the number of these applications you’re receiving is rising, then it’s a good indication that your employer brand is getting stronger. 

#3 You have a high job offer acceptance rate

If the majority of your job offers to potential recruits are accepted, it’s a strong sign that your employer brand is:

  • Connecting with the right candidates
  • Providing the right incentives to join
  • Motivating people to be part of your team

In 2020 the average offer acceptance rate across all industries globally was 95%. To work out yours, simply divide the number of offers accepted by the number of offers issued:

If your percentage matches or exceeds this level, then it’s another positive marker for your employer brand. However, it is useful to assess those who didn’t accept an offer and find out their reasons for doing so where possible, as this could highlight potential improvements for your branding:

  • At what stage did they reject the offer?
  • Why did they refuse?
  • Which company did they join instead?

#4 You are securing quality hires 

It’s a highly competitive recruitment landscape – the best talent is hard to secure. For today’s top-tier talents, salaries and perks will likely only go so far in attracting them to your organisation. They will want to join a brand that aligns with their own values:

92% of people would consider switching jobs if offered a role at a company with an excellent reputation (HR Daily Advisor)

Knowing whether your employer brand has secured the best candidates is difficult to measure, but these factors are a good way to tell whether you’ve made a good hiring decision.

Are you securing quality hires? Here’s your checklist…

✅ Your hiring manager is satisfied 
✅ They are very competent or go beyond expectations at their job
✅ They meet or exceed the seniority level they displayed in their interview
✅ They have made an immediate positive impact
✅ They have become embedded within the organisation

#5 You have a high employee referral rate

If your employees recommend your job vacancies to friends, family or people in their wider network, it indicates several positive things about your employer brand:

They have a strong grasp of your values and can see them in resonating with others
They enjoy the culture of your organisation
They are happy to act as advocates for your brand

Referrals are still one of the most effective recruitment methods for securing great talent – in 2020, the average number of jobs filled by referrals was 51%, and 45% of hires sourced from referrals stay at a company for longer than 4 years.

So, not only does it take an employee to be passionate about their job to recommend your company to someone they know, but they are also more likely to have confidence in the person they are recommending for the role.

If you feel this aspect of your approach to recruitment is lacking, try offering referral bonuses for staff who bring in successful hires from their network. In 2019, the average referral bonus was over £1,800.

#6 You have a positive giveaway/takeaway ratio

This ratio denotes the number of people you’ve hired from competitors against those who left your company to join a competitor.

Between two similar roles with equally matched salaries, your employer brand is often a candidate’s deciding factor and sometimes the only basis upon which they have to choose. So if you’re attracting employees from your competitors, it’s a big win for your employer brand.

Conversely, if you are losing potential hires or your existing employees to competitors, it should start to raise some red flags about the strength of your employer brand – particularly if the promise of a salary increase is not enough to win them back:

  • What did your competitor offer them – pay increase, career progression, personal incentives, etc.?
  • Did your own company culture or employer value proposition contribute to their choice to depart?
  • What are their core values and mission? Are they highlighted more prominently than your own?
  • Is their employer branding more visible than your organisation’s?

For more information, check out our insight on “14 reasons why you’re losing good employees to competitors”.

#7 You have a happy hiring manager

One of the easiest ways to tell whether your employer brand works is to speak to your hiring manager.

If they’re satisfied with recent hires and confident in your company’s recruitment campaigns, then they are almost certainly onboard with your employer brand.

#8 Your marketing and HR teams work side by side

Communicating your company values, posting job adverts and launching recruitment campaigns is a team effort between marketing and recruitment. And the thing that links them together? You guessed it, your employer brand.

Combining the expertise of your employer brand and marketing teams is one of the best ways to improve engagement of internal communications, keep staff in-the-know and instil your brand’s shared goals and values company-wide.

#9 Your employees are active on social media

When your employees are engaging with your company’s content on social media, you have visible proof that your employer brand is working. Even better if your employees are creating their own content through employee advocacy programs.

68% of Millennials visit a company’s social media channels to evaluate their employer brand (CareerArc)

To break down barriers between employees and organisations, staff need a way to share their stories and show the world what it’s really like to be part of your brand. Social engagement can be encouraged using platforms built for this very purpose, such as PostBeyond and EveryoneSocial.

Both these employee advocacy solutions actively encourage staff to share high-quality content with their wider networks and engage prospects.

How does your employer brand measure up?

If your company is falling short against the tangible metrics above, then it might be a sign that your employer brand isn’t working as well as it could be, and that you’re missing out on top candidates as a result. 

As well as exploring the 9 signs of a strong employer brand, it can be helpful to look for inspiration from the global brands that are leading the way. Here are a few pointers to take away from three employer branding examples we love.

Tony’s Chocolonely

In an effort to remind people that profits in the chocolate industry aren’t evenly distributed, Tony’s Chocolonely fair trade chocolate bars are not moulded into neat squares like other brands. 

This powerful mission statement to end unfair practices in the chocolate industry is combined with their bright, colourful packaging and informal typography to present a brand that is fun and inviting on the surface, with a strong, meaningful message inside.

Why we love it

The Tony’s Chocolonely brand mission and core purpose come across in every part of their employer branding – from their brand manifesto video to the way they showcase their team on their website.

What makes this such a success is the effective way that they walk the delicate balance between an important purpose to improve the lives of others, while maintaining a light-hearted brand packed with humour and joy.


In addition to a highly engaging employee-driven social media presence through #insidezappos, the success of this company’s employee branding goes a step further to secure the best talent during their onboarding processes.

Every new hire undergoes a 4 week training process where they learn about the company’s values and gain experience working in the customer service department – regardless of the role they have been hired for. 

Before their ‘onboarding graduation’, new hires are offered payment to quit if they feel the job isn’t the right fit for them. According to Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO: “The original motivation for doing it was to make sure that people were there for reasons beyond a short-term paycheck.” 

Why we love it

Zappos’ purpose and personality are embodied at every employer brand touchpoint. From keeping the world up to date with what’s happening within the company through social media, to making the interview process match their positive values.

It has helped them garner a passionate, engaged workforce who share the same drive and purpose for the exceptional service Zappos has become renowned for.


In recent years, UK-based bakery Greggs has excelled in building positive brand perception through witty campaigns and publicity stunts that won the hearts of consumers and loyal customers. The brand is also becoming regarded as a highly ethical employer, thanks to its support of mental health initiatives and help for people from disadvantaged backgrounds through The Greggs Foundation.

These are values that can also be seen in the way they treat their employees. After the resounding, and somewhat unexpected, success of launching the vegan sausage roll, all staff received a bonus from the incredible sales and profit boost that it resulted in.

Why we love it

It’s clear that Greggs understands and celebrates the value of its employees and the work they put in. They are careful not to forget that their biggest success is a result of their people and make sure they communicate this with actions not just words.

Shaping positive staff experiences goes a long way to shaping positive customer experiences. For Greggs, this has given them the perception as an ethical brand that values its employees and wants to give back to local communities.

Support the strength of your employer branding

With these 9 signs highlighted in this article, we hope that you are able to use them to check the strength of your own employer brand, and determine whether any improvements can be made to raise these all-important metrics. The continued success of a company’s employer brand plays a pivotal role in shaping its future, whether it’s attracting impressive candidates, to retaining its most exceptional employees for the long term. Keeping it strong and in shape will help ensure your organisation consistently expands and thrives with a motivated, engaged workforce behind it.