The line between the employer brand and the consumer brand has blurred. More than half of candidates say that a negative hiring experience makes them less likely to buy a company’s products or services in the future. And there’s a ripple effect too: 61% would tell others about a negative hiring experience, while 50% say the negative experience of a friend would make them less likely to buy a product or service from that company.
Companies work hard to build relationships with potential and existing customers, focusing on delivering the best customer experience, service, brand reputation, and more. Yet it’s also important that attention is paid to the impact that hiring experiences can have on future purchase decisions.
Strong employer brands don’t just result in positive hiring experiences – they can have a significant impact on financial results, too. Negative hiring experiences are an important part of the network of touch points that affect sales and consumer perceptions, so employers would be wise to invest accordingly. Here are five practical suggestions on how you can strengthen your employer brand, along with some examples of how ManpowerGroup Solutions has helped organisations implement these recommendations:
1. Make a case for investment
If you invest in your employer brand and HR team, you can expect to see a positive return in investment, in terms of the candidate experience and business revenue. However, investment cannot be made without full justification. It’s important that HR teams quantify and track the impact that employer brand has on sales, and vice versa. This can then be used to demonstrate that HR teams can solve broad business problems, and not just talent problems.
A good example of this comes from a well-known fashion retailer, who planned on entering a new market. Significant investment was required, in order to fill a large number of job openings, while simultaneously establishing its brand in the region. We worked with them to develop effective and consistent messaging, and implemented a comprehensive marketing plan to introduce the retailer to the public – encompassing broadcast media, organic social messaging, advertising, and more. The outreach was extremely effective, reaching more than 200,000 people across the duration of the campaign. In total, 800 people were assessed, with 100% of vacancies filled.
2. Relieve Overwhelmed Recruiters
Many HR teams are overwhelmed by requisition loads and administrative burden. This takes their focus away from becoming the brand building function that it ought to be. By expanding headcount in HR functions or providing support through outsourcing, organisations can ensure their employer brand gets the focus it needs and deserves.
An example of this comes from a large financial services and retail banking company, who turned to ManpowerGroup Solutions when they had a backlog of hundreds of priority requisitions that needed to be addressed immediately, caused by a combination of rapid growth and acquisition-related attrition. They decided to outsource this to our RPO team, and we designed an end-to-end, fully outsourced solution for these hard-to-fill, specialist roles, with a significant emphasis on sourcing innovation. Through cutting-edge CRM technology, social media, events and name generation research, we were able to clear their backlog of 100+ priority requisitions within six months of the programme launch.
3. Be Transparent
One of the key things that jobseekers look for from a potential employer is transparency – in terms of salary, job description, opportunities for advancement, and culture. In fact, 42% of candidates say that a lack of employer-employee trust has a negative impact on their purchase behaviour. There are plenty of low-cost, practical tactics that employers can implement, to ensure ongoing transparency in the recruitment process. Review job descriptions on a regular basis, instead of recycling them. Respond to all job applications with feedback. Survey your existing employees, to find out what they really think about your organisations. These are all straightforward ways to improve your transparency.
A great example of this comes from our client, a global renewable energy company. They were hiring across 46 countries, and had inconsistent processes and candidate communications, which led potential candidates to feel that they lacked transparency. By conducting a thorough region-by-region review of their entire recruitment process, we were able to address the challenges that had emerged from their decentralised recruiting processes. Internal HR experts were transitioned to focus on operational efficiency and employee relations, to ensure that the internal employer brand is consistently advanced. Employer branding initiatives were redesigned and relaunched, working with local stakeholders and in local languages. By improving their transparency in this way, the company now enjoys a stable global recruitment strategy, which has enabled 6,300 hires in two years.
4. Cultivate the Consumer Talent Pool
Lots of companies are investing in talent communities, which look to engage rejected applicants for future job vacancies, and build relationships with passive candidates. However, few organisations have recognised the importance of nurturing the consumer talent pool. Your customers already understand and interact your products and services. In many cases, they will share your core values too, and could make ideal new recruits. With this in mind, it’s important that marketing, sales and HR teams come together, to incorporate HR messages into broader brand communications, to entice these individuals into your talent pipeline.
One example of this comes from a telecommunications giant. They faced a number of recruitment and retention challenges, and needed to find a more sustainable source of talent. By making their marketing and talent acquisition efforts more integrated, they were able to target existing customers with recruitment marketing messages. They were able to use their marketing spend for the dual purposes of cultivating customers and candidates, and they have been able to grow both their talent pool and their potential customer base as a result.
5. Pose as a Secret Shopper
Secret shoppers have been used in the retail industry for decades. They’re a great way to get under the skin of your business, and find out what it’s really like to interact with your organisation. The same tactic can easily be applied to the hiring process, to help HR executives understand first-hand what the hiring experience is like. From glitches in your online application process, to insensitive automated replies, much can be learned by walking in the shoes of the people you wish to attract.
This is exactly what we found when partnering with an institute of higher education. They were experiencing low numbers of job applications, even though they had invested in a number of targeted marketing activities to promote their job opportunities. By auditing their approach through secret shopping, we found that there were a number of technical issues with their application process, such as broken links and pages timing. On top of this, their systems were unable to parse data from uploaded CVs, and there were an exhaustive number of application pages for candidates to work through. These factors limited the effectiveness of their attraction strategies, and ultimately prevented them from competing for talent.