Employment Branding = Better Talent Acquisition and Reduced Recruiting Costs

While concerns about the graying of the workforce and an impending shortage of skills have been temporarily erased due to the recession, the war for the best talent still wages on and will increase in intensity as the economy gets better, baby boomers retire and companies resume hiring in greater volumes. And those organizations with the best employment brands will win the battle by attracting and retaining the cream of the crop.

What’s an employment brand? Simply put, it’s a compelling value proposition that articulates for job seekers why they would want to work for a particular company, the values and culture within the organization, the variety of possible career paths, and the compensation and benefits offerings and how they compare to the competition.

The importance of employment branding in today’s increasingly competitive global business environment should not be underestimated. In fact, we believe it is a business imperative to promote or improve company image which extrapolates into attracting and retaining top talent, and thus reducing recruiting costs.

But many organizations are uncertain how their employment brand is perceived or how to disseminate their brand to potential hires. And some actually damage their brands among candidates. For example, one recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) provider I recently spoke with conducted a survey and learned that only 14 percent of its 63 clients’ job posting websites had their auto response emails turned on to acknowledge receipt of the candidates’ applications.

Due to the above, RPO providers are increasingly assisting their clients in branding efforts. What are they doing on this front?

Brand Research – Here, RPO providers conduct surveys and focus groups among recent graduates, candidates and recent hires to determine why they look at certain companies as potential employers and drill-down into the client’s recruiting process. They also conduct internal surveys to understand how employees perceive the company’s image, why the top performers stay and what else can be done to retain them. Additionally, they survey a sampling of the client’s customers to ascertain the brand from their perspective, both in and of itself and in comparison with its competitors. Moreover, they interview competitors to determine what they think about the client company, how their website looks and where they themselves are spending money to improve or support their brand. Finally, they audit the effectiveness of the client’s job postings and website, and when all the survey and audit information is analyzed, make recommendations to the client.

Brand Dissemination – Key brand dissemination activities RPO providers engage in on behalf of their clients include: 1) marketing of recruitment campaigns; 2) communicating the brand via various vehicles such as Internet search engines and networking sites, radio and print ads and personal communications – even on occasion signs on buses or in car parks; and 3) designing or improving the jobs/careers section on the client’s website.

Brand Maintenance – High touch and responsiveness to candidates is critical for brand maintenance. Thus, RPO providers assist their clients here by developing and leveraging branded recruiting scripts and offering outplacement services to convey a positive image when downsizing is required.

The results we’ve seen from RPO providers assisting their clients with employment branding are solid. For example, one provider achieved for one of its clients a cost-per-hire which is in the top 10 percent of industry benchmarks, and increased hiring manager satisfaction to between 95-100 percent monthly. Given the knowledge and capabilities of RPO providers, we believe employment branding has become a mainstay of services they provide to their clients.

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

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2 Comments on “Employment Branding = Better Talent Acquisition and Reduced Recruiting Costs”

  1. joe vales Says:

    Gary… all your points are right on target and significantly expand the value proposition that an RPO provider can bring to a client. Nevertheless , to be able to deliver on the employment brand promise , RPO providers must have the internal branding and marketing skill sets to leverage the clients brand and value proposition . Unfortunately, few RPO providers have these skills . Just look at the RFP responses developed by RPO providers – most fail to communicate a powerful value proposition or a distinctive brand. Too many RPO providers sound the same.

  2. Gary Bragar Says:

    Hi Joe, thanks very much for your feedback and sorry for just acknowledging now as I was on Holiday for a week. You are right in needing good marketing skills to help leverage the clients brand and value proposition. As I would consider employment branding to still be a relatively new service offering, these skill sets will need to be further developed. I did not mention this before, but several providers are partnering with advertising agencies to help do the creative aspect and on what and how to deliver marketing on behalf of the client.

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