These figures are surprising given the exceptionally high unemployment rate in 2020, but the labour shortage is real. With the number of job vacancies approaching 150,000 in Quebec (Statistics Canada), the issue has never been more relevant.
There is no doubt that companies in all sectors will have to intensify their efforts and creativity to stay ahead of their competitors and attract the best talent.
This is where employer branding comes into play, a tool that will not only help you recruit new candidates, but also to retain them for longer.
What is employer branding?
Your employer brand is the communication of your employee experience promise. In other words, it’s the image you present as an employer to your current employees and potential candidates. It is used to communicate the reality experienced by your team internally to the outside world.
This promise encompasses absolutely everything that affects the employee experience: the work atmosphere, relationships between colleagues, office layout, company values, benefits, team activities, salary, etc.
A step ahead your competition
Employer branding is a powerful weapon because not only does it set you apart from the competition, it also positions your company as a great place to work. By regularly communicating your employer brand, you’ll create a favourable feeling about you among potential candidates, which will give you a head start when it comes time to recruit them.
What’s more, having a strong, well-defined employer brand will help you attract talent that truly matches your values and personality. They will choose you because they identify with your corporate culture.
In such cases, chances are that employees will feel fulfilled in their role and will stay with the organization longer. This in itself is a sizeable advantage, considering that their loyalty is by no means a given. According to the most recent edition of the HR Barometer, the average turnover rate for companies in Quebec is 24.4%.
The three components of employer branding
A strong employer brand is based on three main elements.
1) Identification of the employee value proposition
First, you need to think about what makes you different, why candidates would want to work for you. As we saw above, these benefits can take many different forms:
– flexible schedule
– working from home
– exceptional work environment
– competitive compensation
– company mission and values
– career development opportunities
– social activities, etc.
Of course, your employer brand must take into account your current DNA, but also your long-term vision. Where will you be in one year? In five years? Will you be in a period of growth? Will you be offering new products or services?
2) Communication of the employee value proposition
Now that you know who you are and what you have to offer, it’s time to communicate it.
Of course, if you’re actively looking for new employees, there’s no doubt that one-time efforts like a paid media recruitment campaign will help you achieve your goals. However, even if you’re not hiring now, that doesn’t mean you won’t be in a few years.
Think ahead and make sure that all of your touch points with potential candidates communicate your personality and employee experience, whether it’s your site, social media, press releases or job descriptions. There are also a number of awards, such as the annual Canada’s Top 100 Employers Awards, that could help you quickly build awareness of your employer brand.
Have you considered integrating social media into your recruitment strategy? Today, 79% of job seekers use these platforms (Glassdoor). They are also particularly effective in reaching a younger target audience, as 73% of millennials found their last job through social media (Aberdeen Group). Another advantage is that social media allows you to talk to passive candidates, those who don’t visit the job boards where you post your ads.
So remember to share your job offers on social media, but also to regularly produce content highlighting your employees, office life, your good deeds, your mission and your values.
3) Everyday employer brand experience
Of course, what you promise in terms of employee experience must be lived out on a daily basis by your team members. If you don’t keep your promises, your new recruits may be disappointed, not recognize themselves in the real culture of your company, leave their position more quickly and share their disappointment privately or even publicly. The hiring process will then have to start all over again.
As you can see, these components work in synergy and a strong employer brand cannot exist without the integration of all three elements.
For example, even if your employer brand is well-defined and lived to the fullest each day by your employees, you won’t be able to attract new talent if candidates don’t know about it. Similarly, you risk looking dishonest and damaging your reputation if what you present as your employer brand is not actually what employees experience on the daily basis.
Employer branding: Expense or investment?
We’re not going to sugarcoat it: Developing your employer brand takes time and resources. For this reason, it is often perceived as an expense.
However, we must never forget that not having enough people is in itself a huge cost. Not having enough employees means not being able to produce at full capacity and losing sales and market share.
That money you miss out on is called the cost of missed opportunities. Employer branding is a real investment, as it allows companies to recruit the workforce needed to capture that extra revenue and profit.
Unfortunately, all too often is the case that companies’ HR marketing budgets don’t match the scope of their needs. If you have big plans, you have to give yourself the means to achieve your goals.
Would you like to see an example of a bold and successful HR campaign? Check out our latest recruitment campaign for CIUSSS du Nord-de-l’Île-de-Montréal.