November 9, 2016

All You Need to Know About Employer Branding to Attract Young Talent

handsThe job market is continually flooded with new waves of valuable talent, and growth opportunities are important to a large number of these workers, especially recent grads and young professionals. The Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement report from SHRM found that 40 percent of the 595 employees surveyed said their organization’s commitment to professional development was “very important” to their job satisfaction.

If your organization wants to attract and retain young talent, you need to make professional development a priority and market it to those candidates looking to start their careers. Here’s how your employer branding strategy can attract ambitious recent graduates and young professionals:

Develop a Clear Message

Employer branding needs a clear strategy that delivers a simple message that is both attractive and consistent. First, define the candidate persona you are targeting. In this case, let’s say it’s a diverse group of recent graduates. Then, conduct research on what candidates who fit the persona value most.

For example, millennials want meaningful work; they value social responsibility and look for growth opportunities in their careers. That’s what you need to craft your message around. Highlight how your company donates to charity, offers educational courses and tuition reimbursement, and how your staff finds meaning in their day-to-day activities.

Additionally, your online presence needs to be consistent and dedicated to sharing the same message. Your company is under continuous scrutiny, and it’s your online presence that first introduces people to the organization.

In a 2015 report from CareerArc, 52 percent of the 1,369 job seekers surveyed said they visit a company’s online properties first during their job search, with 75 percent considering the employer brand before submitting an application.

If you have a clear, consistent message that reaches job seekers through multiple online resources like your company page and external job boards, you are building a robust online presence. However, as CareerArc found, only 57 percent of HR professionals say their company has such an employer brand strategy.

brainstormYour message is just one part of your strategy. Convene with the marketing department, HR, and other relevant stakeholders to lay out a campaign that helps spread employer brand awareness on a consistent basis.

Find Brand Ambassadors

Your employer branding strategy should involve your team of happy workers. Find some of your most passionate employees who want to advocate for the company and provide training to help them find their inner brand ambassadors.

Brand ambassadors spread brand awareness and represent the company in a positive way. Training can involve insight about an employee referral program, tips for networking at events, and help with crafting the perfect elevator pitch.

One of the best ways to promote the employer brand is to create employee testimonials. They act as content for the company to share. You’re spreading the word about what it means to work there. Involve the ambassadors on these testimonials, and make sure to use various types of media.

For example, put direct quotes on your site with the employees’ pictures to add a personal touch to your careers page. Record videos and encourage your staff to explain their roles and their favorite aspects of the company. You can also ask them to share stories that demonstrate how the company invests in its people.

Once you create quality content, learn how to share it to reach your target audience. Young professionals and recent graduates tend to know where to look to research companies, and a major focus for their search is social media. The 2016 Job Seeker Nation Study from Jobvite found that 59 percent of the 2,305 respondents used social media to research the company cultures of organizations they were interested in.

Use Social Media

Social media is a crucial piece of your branding strategy. LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends 2016 Report found that 47 percent of the 3,894 talent acquisition professionals surveyed said social media is the most effective employer branding tool.

It can be used in various ways that are effective for your messaging. Posting your employee testimonials on your accounts is one way to jumpstart your social media presence.

peopleEach outlet has its own unique features. For example, a short video showing an office event, like a new hire celebration or a Friday happy hour, caters to a Snapchat audience. Photos of your office design can leverage the visual appeal of Pinterest. Record a live Facebook video of a seminar your company is hosting.

The main aim is to be transparent and show exactly what it’s like to work for your company. Job seekers don’t like obscurity. They want to know if they will fit into the culture.

You can expand your reach even more by training employees to refer people and share job opportunities on their social media profiles. Help your brand ambassadors spread the messaging by coordinating company social media posts with their personal accounts. Enlist the help of your marketing department to guide ambassadors on how to market the brand and effectively share information in creative ways.

Your current staff is a major player in the war for young talent. Once you can define your message, you can train employees properly and guide your workforce to help you attract some of the best people coming out of college.

How is your employer branding effort attracting young talent?

Kes Thygesen is the cofounder and head of product at RolePoint. Connect with him and RolePoint on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Kes Thygesen is the cofounder and head of product at RolePoint, a company focused on employee referrals, internal talent mobility, and creating seamless ATS connectivity. Connect with him and RolePoint on LinkedIn and Twitter (@RolePoint).