Employer brand

Your complete guide to employer branding for 2024

In the fierce battle to recruit and retain the best talent available, a company’s reputation means more than ever. With the latest generations of candidates becoming increasingly selective about the employers they work for, it’s imperative that today’s organisations pay close attention to the strength of their employer brand.

Without positive employer branding, hiring and retaining talent becomes a real challenge – and very costly. To put yourself at the front of the queue for top prospects and establish yourself as a great place to work, a solid employer brand is no longer an option – it’s a necessity.

With decades of experience helping global organisations maximise the potential of their employer brand, we know its value and the huge benefits it can unlock. After reading this complete guide, you will as well.

  • Learn what employer branding is and what it includes
  • Discover the advantages of a strong employer brand
  • Explore the steps to building better employer branding
  • See what the top employer brands are doing to attract recruits

Want to identify, engage and secure the right talent for your organisation? Then let’s get started…

What is employer branding?

Employer branding is how you shape and promote your company’s reputation as an employer. It’s the assets, processes and values designed to attract top potential candidates, retain high-performing employees, and create an inclusive, productive work environment.

Fundamentally, a strong employer brand encourages job seekers to explore your openings and makes your existing employees feel like part of a united entity. Conversely, a weak employer brand damages your ability to attract top talent and keep employees around long-term.

What does employer branding include?

Employer branding is more than your career site or your Glassdoor profile. It’s a multi-layered approach across numerous channels:

Employer branding infographic - What is included in employer branding - Social media, Career sites, Job reviews, EVP, Onboarding, Culture and Internal comms

Essentially, your employer branding covers anywhere a potential candidate or current employee would engage with your organisation. So this must all be carefully considered and interconnected under one strategy to reap the best possible results (more on this later).

What is your Employer Value Proposition (EVP)?

One of the most important aspects of any employer brand is the Employer Value Proposition (EVP). Your EVP is the core document outlining the benefits, values and reasons why a prospective recruit should join your company. It’s the shining beacon of your talent acquisition efforts.

While the contents of your EVP will be unique to your organisation, these often contain:

  • Company mission, vision and core values
  • Compensation, benefits and perks
  • Work-life balance initiatives and details
  • Flexible or remote work opportunities
  • Training and career development prospects
  • Social responsibility and charity initiatives
  • Company social events and activities
  • Employer recognition efforts

Simply put, anything you believe would entice candidates and encourage your team members to stick around should be featured in your EVP. If it doesn’t include these key elements or is failing to connect with recruits, then maybe it’s time to consider an EVP refresh?

What is company culture?

Your company culture is the “personality” and identity of your organisation. It encapsulates the various values, activities, communications and more that shape how your employees engage with their work and each other – ranging from internal newsletters, training and career development, to company outings and social events.

Typically, a good, diverse and inclusive company culture improves productivity, wellbeing and talent retention. On the other hand, a poor company culture can negatively impact your team’s performance and encourage high turnover.

Company culture statistic - 76% of candidates want to understand employer company culture and values. Source: Harvard Business Review

What are employee ambassadors?

Employee ambassadors are employees who actively promote the advantages of working for your organisation, whether that’s on social media, review websites or simply word of mouth. They are your biggest advocates in appealing to the competitive talent pool.

Ideally, you want every member of your team to be an employee ambassador, but this is often unrealistic, especially in large, global organisations. So, it’s a good strategy to introduce perks and benefits for employees to actively showcase your company’s brand in a positive light, giving them an incentive to organically share their experience with others.

How does employer branding differ from consumer branding?

Your employer brand focuses on attracting and retaining talent in the same way your consumer brand is designed to connect with your customers and generate sales.

However, while they appeal to distinct audiences, they can often influence each other. For instance, a brand that presents a welcoming and inclusive company culture will often reflect well on today’s more socially aware consumers, who want to feel good about the brands they buy from.

Employer branding and revenue statistic - 96% of companies say brand and reputation impacts revenue. Source: CareerArc”

Why is employer branding important?

As noted earlier, your employer brand is essentially your employer reputation. A great reputation puts you in an advantageous position to attract and retain top talent. A poor reputation means you face an uphill battle in the intensifying battle for the best candidates. 

With 9 out of 10 employers struggling to fill jobs in the current landscape, the importance of a fleshed-out, compelling employer brand is greater than ever. But its benefits extend beyond your recruitment strategy.

6 standout stats on the importance of employer branding - Infographic image

What are the benefits of a strong employer brand?

Improves your attractiveness to potential recruits

First and foremost, a solid employer brand helps you stand out to job hunters. The more you can say, share and promote the benefits of working for your organisation, the more likely you will appeal to the job market ahead of your competitors. When nearly 85% of candidates consider a company’s reputation before applying, this is an area you cannot afford to ignore.

It’s not only active job seekers that check out your employer brand. Approximately 82% of employees say they would switch jobs for a company with an excellent reputation. So, it not only raises your attractiveness to available talent, but also catches the eye of high performers already working in your industry.

Reduces your recruitment costs

You likely know how costly the recruitment process can be. Research by CIPD has found that the average cost of filling a vacancy is around €7,000 (£6,100). For managerial roles, this grows closer to €22,000 (£19,000).

Good employer branding can trim these costs in a big way, as you may be able to avoid employing hefty advertising campaigns or hiring recruitment agencies. Candidates who consider your brand attractive are more likely to apply of their own accord when opportunities become available.

Furthermore, if they have a better understanding of your brand’s culture, perks and values, those who don’t align with these will deselect themselves faster. This means you don’t waste time pursuing ill-fitting recruits, further benefiting your bottom line.

“Negative employer brand and reputation increases cost-per-hire by up to 10%. Statistic source: Harvard Business Review

Increases your employee retention rates

Of course, the best way to minimise your recruitment costs is to keep your top-performing employees on board. Strong employer branding supports this by fostering a sense of belonging among your workforce, aligning people around shared values and business goals.

Research shows that better employer branding can reduce staff turnover by as much as 28% – resulting in a more experienced, stable work environment and less stress on recruiting and training new arrivals. So, by building an employer brand that addresses the reasons why people leave jobs, you can set your company up for a solid future.

Want to know more? Find out how you can build an employer brand that maximises employee retention.

Enhances employee engagement and productivity

Fostering a sense of belonging and pride naturally inspires employees to work harder because they believe in the values their company stands for. In fact, it’s estimated that employees connected to their organisation’s mission and values are 67% more engaged.

This greater engagement inspires greater productivity. If your employees feel part of a rewarding, comfortable and inclusive culture, they will likely feel motivated to do their best day in and day out.

Creates a more positive company culture

Have you heard of quiet quitting? It’s a growing trend in companies worldwide where employees focus on doing the bare minimum at work, with no ambition to evolve or pursue further opportunities. This often develops from a negative company culture, something a good employer brand helps address.

Better employer brand management can help reinforce the benefits and opportunities for progression within your organisation. This in turn can inspire reductions in stress and burnout, and positively impact employee health and wellbeing.

Statistic Infographic - Happy employees are up to 13% more productive. Source: Said Business School

Encourages better company reviews on third-party sites

Did you know that 86% of job seekers look at company reviews and ratings to decide where to apply? Sites like Glassdoor, The Job Crowd and Work Advisor hold a lot of sway over your company’s appeal to recruits – too many negative reviews can cause real damage.

A strong employer brand can help counteract this threat by encouraging employees to become advocates and ambassadors. With clearly defined values and a more appealing culture, your team will be more likely to leave positive reviews, which then grows your reputation among candidates.

How can you measure the strength of your employer brand?

So now you understand the value of a strong employer brand, it might be time to assess how yours is performing. 

While there is no all-encompassing “employer branding” metric you can track, in our experience there are several areas you can use to judge how your brand is performing, including:

  • Job application rate
  • Job acceptance rate
  • Time to hire
  • Cost-per-hire
  • Employee retention rate
  • Source of hires
  • Third-party reviews
IBM Brand Success Story using the Papirfly brand management platform. Life without Papirfly would be stressful, time consuming, and costl

8 steps to building your employer brand strategy

Your employer brand strategy is the foundation for how you will set your company apart in the battle to attract, recruit and retain talent. 

Establishing and documenting a set strategy is vital to ensure your employer branding efforts are aligned, consistent and effective at every touchpoint. Based on our close relationships with employer brand teams worldwide, here are our 8 key steps to a successful strategy.

1. Conduct an audit on your existing employer brand

First, determine where you are right now:

  • How is your brand perceived by candidates?
  • What do your employees think about your company?
  • Do you communicate your values and objectives well?

These and further reflective questions will help you understand where your existing employer brand succeeds and where it struggles. It will also help you settle on the main identity, values and USPs you want to communicate to your teams and potential recruits.

2. Establish your preferred candidate persona

Who is your ideal candidate? What traits, skills and characteristics do they possess?

Much like you build your marketing around your target customer, you must mould your employer branding around the talent you seek, ranging from experienced industry specialists to graduates and Gen Z candidates.

This helps you tailor your messages to your prospects, focusing on the benefits, values and goals that speak to them.

3. Define your unique EVP

As the centrepiece of your employer brand, your employer value proposition should be drafted with careful consideration. Earlier we noted what your EVP might include, from pay, perks and benefits, to describing your company culture and mission statements.

On top of this, it can be beneficial to enlist the support of your marketing, communications and HR teams to help you draft this. Modern-day recruitment is closer to marketing than ever before, so their expertise can help you strike the right tone and translate your EVP across every channel it appears on.

Importance of a solid EVP - Employer Value Proposition - Statistics Infographic

4. Select your employer brand communication channels

Speaking of channels, next it’s important to decide where you will communicate your employer brand. It can take up to 18 interactions between a candidate and a company before an application is sent. So your employer brand strategy should cover all potential touchpoints, including:

  • Career site or page
  • Social media channels
  • Job and review sites
  • Current employee profiles
  • Networking events and career fairs
  • Email marketing
  • Job adverts
  • Interview processes
  • Internal newsletters

By outlining all channels and how you intend to communicate on each, you put yourself in a strong position to achieve greater employer brand governance.

5. Develop your employer brand assets

It takes more than a career page and job descriptions to activate your employer brand. There’s a myriad of ways you can showcase your unique corporate culture:

  • Video interviews with employees about their experiences
  • Company newsletters sharing your team’s achievements and milestones
  • A dedicated career portal promoting your values and brand identity
  • Day-in-the-life videos or blog posts presenting your culture
  • Slideshows expressing the advantages of joining your team

This is only scratching the surface. The possibilities to promote your employer brand are practically endless, but it’s critical you stay brand-consistent across every channel. Inconsistent presentation is a quick way to lose the buy-in of a top prospect.

Don’t have the time or resources to give your employer brand the attention it needs? Find out how you can create infinite on-brand assets faster with our Produce product.

Social media and employer branding

Social media is an especially valuable tool in your employer branding arsenal. With a majority of candidates using these channels to research potential employers, you should harness social media to highlight your employee stories, company events, charity initiatives and more to resonate with your ideal recruits.

And don’t restrict this to your company’s LinkedIn page. If your team members are active on social media, provide them with marketing materials to share on their own channels. After all, modern candidates trust a company’s employees three times more than the company itself to understand what it’s like to work there.

6. Cultivate your onboarding process

You only have one chance to make a good first impression; this is just as true for an employer as it is for a candidate. A structured, well-organised onboarding process can make a meaningful difference to a recruit’s initial experience in your company, and lay the groundwork for a long-term career.

Remember, 77% of new hires satisfied with their onboarding process say they could envision a long career at their organisation, compared to just 29% who didn’t enjoy this process. So from how you handle interviews to developing introductory guides, training packages and other resources, mapping out your full employee experience can be a huge advantage. 

7. Create an employee advocacy program

Your employees are among your best assets to promote and reinforce the benefits of your organisation. Setting up an employee advocacy program helps you formalise the ways you encourage your team to share materials in their social circles, with incentives including:

  • Unique training and career progression opportunities
  • Public recognition
  • Tangible gifts and rewards
  • Exclusive content and information

8. Be authentic

Finally, for your employer brand to achieve lasting success, you must practise what you preach. It’s no good making promises on your EVP that you cannot deliver on, or presenting a rose-tinted vision of your company culture. In a landscape where employees feel more empowered to share their thoughts than ever, this is a recipe for disaster.

Therefore, before you rubber stamp your employer brand strategy, reflect on everything you’ve highlighted and question whether it’s attainable. Authenticity is essential.

Discover 13 powerful steps to build your employer brand strategy - Link to guide

6 organisations nailing their employer branding

As we’ve outlined above, employer branding is more than a fancy career site. Here are 6 brands who follow this mindset and are masters at employer brand storytelling.

1. Hilton

Why not start with the brand ranked the best company to work for in 2024 by Fortune? In 2023 Hilton launched their first major employer branding campaign, “Every Job Makes the Stay”.

This innovative series of videos, ads and other materials promotes the various roles contributing to Hilton’s high-quality hospitality. This has worked to both inspire potential candidates of the opportunities available, and showcase the skills of their existing employees.

2. Starbucks

As the world’s most recognisable coffeehouse, Starbucks employs close to 400,000 people globally. With this scale of operations, they firmly focus on employer branding, largely by harnessing social media to showcase employee experiences and success stories.

From a jobs playlist on their YouTube channel, to its celebrated College Achievement Plan, Starbucks is very effective at attracting younger generations of job seekers.

3. L’Oreal

L’Oreal is consistently rated one of the best places to work worldwide, and a large part of that is their commitment to refining and evolving their employer branding over time.

In recent years, they have adapted their EVP to raise awareness of L’Oreal as a tech-driven company as much as a beauty company. This, combined with their promise of delivering a thrilling experience and culture of excellence, helps set them apart as the thought leaders in their industry, and an attractive place to work.

“The 7 success factors of world-class employer brands - Link to download guide

4. Netflix

Netflix’s employer brand is well-known for its emphasis on creative freedom, responsibility and innovation. It promotes a company culture centred on autonomy and creativity, where employees are empowered to pursue bold ideas.

This vision and identity are coupled with tangible compensation and benefits packages, and a strong focus on diversity and inclusion. That is highlighted in Netflix’s detailed and engaging career site, making it easy for potential candidates to understand their culture.

5. Zappos

Shoe and clothing retailer Zappos focuses on employee happiness and wellbeing in their employer branding, as they understand that a happy workforce inspires great customer service.

Plus, they employ an unconventional yet strategic onboarding process: every employee hired, no matter the role, undertakes 4 weeks of training followed by 2 weeks as a customer service rep. Then, they are offered full pay for this training and $2k to leave if they wish. This aims to weed out people who are only there for the money, to build a more committed team.

6. Unilever

From its impactful career site, to its aspirational business strategy with sustainability at its heart. Unilever has a well-established global employer brand that instantly expresses its diverse opportunities and culture, with many testimonials from its existing workforce.

Furthermore, by utilising Papirfly’s brand management platform, Unilever has become incredibly adept at communicating its employer brand to its many local audiences. With this platform in place, Unilever tailors its global identity to each location, resulting in more personalised messages for its employees and potential candidates.

“Unilever brand success story using Papirfly software to align global employer brand with local market priorities

Adapting your global employer brand for local recruits

Today’s global businesses face a significant challenge in conveying their brand across diverse cultures and languages, both for employees and potential hires. These nuances and preferences must be considered to avoid alienating individuals and resonating with local audiences.

While maintaining consistent core values across locations is crucial, adapting these messages to emphasise the values most relevant to specific audiences achieves much better feedback. So, it’s worthwhile to invest the time to research and tailor content for specific candidates.

How can you achieve this? 

  • Create specific candidate personas for each location you’re based in
  • Encourage your local teams to contribute to your employer branding and promote it on their profiles
  • Harness employer branding software and solutions to speed up the production of assets and maintain global consistency
  • Establish one place for all branded assets that your local teams can easily access, such as a Digital Asset Management system 

Want to know more? Check out our guide to translating your global employer brand to local markets.

Employer diversity and inclusion statistic: 76% of job seekers and employees say a diverse workforce is a major factor in choosing an employer. Source: Glassdoor”

AI: The future of employer branding?

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) evolves with each passing year, its influence on employer branding and recruitment strategies is also growing. Here are just some of the ways AI is already making a difference for employer brand specialists:

More personalised candidate experiences

Through intelligent chatbots and virtual assistants, modern candidates can now receive more immediate answers they have about a prospective employer. This leads to more personalised and responsive experiences, making the recruitment process more positive for candidates and simpler for employers.

Streamline the creation of job descriptions and materials

Training AI prompt engineering tools on your EVP and other employer brand materials can greatly speed up the generation of assets, both for your internal teams and for job seekers. In just a matter of clicks, you can generate the copy, imagery and video for a suite of recruitment ads and employee guidelines, all aligned with your values and vision.

Analysing employee and candidate behaviour

The efficiency of AI means it can analyse vast amounts of recruitment-related data in seconds, from employee engagement levels and retention rates, to candidate behaviour across the onboarding process. This can provide powerful insights on where to adapt your employer branding based on the challenges you are experiencing.

Although the use of AI in employer branding is still in its infancy, the rate at which this technology is developing means that these possibilities – and many more – are emerging to streamline and empower your recruitment efforts.

For more on the growing potential of AI and other key trends to keep an eye on, check out our guide to make employer branding work for your business in 2024.

Create and communicate a compelling employer brand with Papirfly

We hope you’ve enjoyed this complete guide to employer branding, and feel ready to use these insights to enhance the way you attract and retain top talent in the future.

One of the biggest challenges facing employer brand professionals is maintaining a consistent and constant stream of assets, while dealing with ever-tightening budgets. At Papirfly, we are making it faster, easier and more cost-effective to become an employer of choiceall from one all-encompassing brand management platform.

  • Point: Unite everyone on the values, visuals and voices behind your employer brand
  • Place: Store, share and access a complete library of your employer branding materials in our globally renowned DAM system
  • Produce: Generate on-brand, studio-quality assets at unrivalled speed and scale with intelligent design templates
  • Plan: Simplify campaign execution of all talent acquisition activities with one universal planner
  • Prove: Measure and refine your employer brand strategy with enterprise-grade reporting and analytics

Ready to build an on-brand culture that attracts the best talent? Discover our employer branding software and solutions today.

“Papirfly solutions and employer branding services - CTA to brand management software platform