Read on to learn about employer branding and how you can leverage it in your agribusiness!
It seems like every week there’s a new snazzy business buzzword to add to our dictionaries. This week’s buzzword: employer branding.
When people think of “branding,” they usually associate the word with whatever first comes to mind in relation to a company, such as the logo, brand personality, and general consumer company perception. These all enhance general brand awareness, but don’t quite touch on employer branding.
Employer branding refers to a company’s reputation as an employer and what this means for someone who works there. It’s your company’s identity and what people can expect from you. Long story short: how do people feel about working for you?
This reputation can make or break your applicant pool. An employer with great branding can attract enthusiastic applicants to an otherwise dull job, while an employer with poor branding can struggle to attract any applicants at all.
Employer branding can have a huge ripple effect throughout your agribusiness. It doesn’t just impact the initial impression and talent pool; it has a significant influence on retention. In a tight labor market, this means employer branding is something you need to be proactively managing.
In this guide we’ll cover the basics of employer branding and what this means for your organization!
Why Employer Branding Matters
We can list all the great reasons employer branding is important in hiring and why agribusinesses are no exception, but to keep things in perspective we’ll start you with some numbers to back up our statements.
- One GlassDoor poll found that 86% of employees and job seekers research company reviews and ratings when deciding on where to apply for a job.
- A survey by CR Magazine and Cielo Talent found that 86% of women and 67% of men wouldn’t work for a company with a bad reputation. This percentage was skewed higher among those aged 18-34, which spells trouble for an industry that lacks younger talent.
- Among this same respondent pool, 92% said they would consider leaving their current employment if they were offered a job at a company with a stellar reputation.
You can see at just a glance with a few quick stats that you shouldn’t treat employer branding as a mere fad, or as something that doesn’t apply to the agriculture industry.
Every company in every industry has an employer brand; the question is: what is yours? What are you currently doing that is negatively affecting your employer brand? What could you be doing more of?
4 Components of Employer Branding
As ambiguous and diverse as employer branding can be, there’s a set of factors that make up each company’s brand. No two brands look the same, but when you break it down you can get a better understanding of how your individual company looks from the outside.
The general recipe for employer branding is as follows: culture + employee opinions + candidate opinions + corporate brand.
1. Company Culture
Your culture is the shared values, mission, and general personality of your day to day workplace. It’s the collective behaviors and thinking that unify you as an organization. Your company culture is a living thing and multifaceted in and of itself.
Think about your organization’s personality. What makes you unique and sets you apart from your competitors?
2. Employee Opinions
Your employee opinions are just that, employee opinions. Do you know how they feel about working for you? What are they saying to each other in the shop, or when they go home after work?
3. Candidate Opinions
As far as candidate opinions, do you know what the word on the street is? What are job seekers’ first impressions when they go through the application process?
Even if a candidate doesn’t end up at your company, they’ll talk about their experience going through the application process. Were you responsive? Were you disorganized? Were you considerate?
One survey found that 50% of job seekers declined a job offer based on a poor candidate experience. This means you just lost half of your first choice candidates over something that was completely in your control.
Think about your application process. Do you treat everyone with respect regardless of whether or not you are interested in them as a candidate?
4. Corporate Brand
Your corporate brand is made up of consumer perceptions of your company. People who think you treat your employees well will do more business with you and choose you over competitors.
Now more than ever, consumers are interested in a company’s values and want to give their money to brands that align with their own values. If you aren’t paying your employees a fair wage or are skimping on benefits… be prepared to be held accountable by your customers.
64% of consumers have decided to stop purchasing from a brand after hearing news of how they treat their employees.
All of these aspects of your employer branding are fluid on their own and represent the larger picture. Go back to each of these points and be honest to yourself in how you reflect on them. Are you driving applicants away without meaning to?
The Benefits of Employer Branding
When you use the right tactics to harness the powers of positive employer branding, your whole agribusiness will feel the effects. When you do it right, you can:
Stand out against your competitors.
Not everyone is aware of the importance of employer branding. When a lot of great companies are neglecting to stay on top of theirs, you can gain a competitive edge by being proactive about yours.
Attract high quality candidates.
The more accurately you portray your company and your brand, the more likely that the right applicants will apply. When a job highlights an employer’s branded content, candidates are almost twice as likely to apply.
Candidates are able to get a better idea of how your company would fit into their life, which translates into higher congruence between reality and brand perception. In fact, 88% of Glassdoor users find the employer perspective important on what it’s like to work at the company.
Remember that younger talent is especially careful about doing online research.
You’re able to boost credibility and trust in your base with the right employer branding because the image you are portraying with your intentional branding is consistent with your actual employer brand.
When you accurately advertise your company, you’ll spend less on cost per hire and waste fewer resources on candidates that didn’t fit your profile in the first place.
An accurate, positive employer brand will create a higher ratio of quality candidates who did their research and are applying because they truly want to be there.
You’ll also see higher retention, which translates into cost savings, because the people you hire were given an accurate picture of your business. Even if you don’t intentionally mislead people with your branding, when you omit information about your company with lazy employer branding you can end up with a poor fit.
Better to invest time and effort in employer branding upfront so you don’t have to pay for it later!
Create a team of ambassadors.
When you have a team of employees that are enthusiastic about working for you and being a part of your agribusiness, they’ll happily spread positive messages about you without even trying. It’ll just happen naturally!
This authentic attitude will shine through and be your most powerful marketing tool in attracting quality candidates. It’s free and highly effective, but it’s on you to create a work environment that makes people want to work for you.
As you can see, when you (accurately) reflect your agribusiness in positive employer branding, everyone wins. Less resources are wasted and both you and your hire are more likely to end up with a better fit!
What is the role of employer branding in recruitment?
When you recruit new hires, you’re selling your organization to them just as much as they’re selling their skillset to you. We don’t have to tell you that there’s more to selling your business than meeting your applicants’ needs on paper.
You want to attract candidates who would actually be the best fit. You don’t do this by selling hopeful falsehoods that eventually drive them away because they don’t match the reality of your workplace.
You also don’t do this by completely neglecting your brand in hopes that your company’s reputation can speak for itself. If your candidates have to do too much digging to find out what kind of employer you are, you lose their interest and they’ll get snatched up by another company that decided to be more proactive.
While they get applications from top candidates, you’re sitting there still waiting for them to come to you.
Be as transparent as possible, and be intentional in how you maintain visibility across job seeking platforms. Transparency and personability help increase trust in your company, which is invaluable to applicants who are deciding to take a risk on your business.
Even if you have a wonderful company culture and your employees are happy working for you, if this is not evident to those on the outside then it isn’t exactly a selling point. Applicants need to be able to tell you apart from employers with poorer reputations; don’t make it harder for them by neglecting your employer branding!
Any candidate who is taking their job search and the risks involved with a poor fit seriously is going to do their research. Make it easy by carefully maintaining your company profiles on job search platforms and actively engaging with curious candidates.
How to Get Started
If employer branding is new to you, you might feel like you are starting from scratch and be completely overwhelmed. But no worries! There are small steps you can take to get your employer branding off the ground. Take some solace in the fact that even if a company has been consciously curating their branding from the get-go, there is always room for improvement. This list is for everyone!
1. Make sure your information is updated.
If someone is looking up your company online, be it your website or social media channels, is all of the information current? Is all of your career information correct? Does everything available to the public reflect the image you want to portray?
Is your website easy to navigate and succinctly convey the essence of your brand? Understand that the longer it takes for people to get your message, the more likely you are to lose them.
How is your company culture communicated to someone who is just stumbling on your page for the first time? Continue updating it as you evolve!
2. Offer value, and communicate this value.
Identify reasons why an employee would want to work at your company. This needs to be clearly defined so you are able to stand out against your competitors. What do you offer in terms of compensation and benefits? What about mobility?
Tie in your company mission and values in order to attract candidates that reflect them. Are there any pain points of your target audience you can address?
It’s not enough to define the value you bring and call it a day. You need to verify with your current employees that the statements you plan on advertising to prospects reflect reality. Listen to them!
3. Get ahead of the conversation.
Like it or not, you have an employer brand. Whether you choose to ignore it and let it take on a life of its own or get ahead of it and try to shape the conversation is your choice.
First impressions are everything. Your candidates likely developed a first impression of your company before they even first interacted with you.
As we mentioned earlier, 86% of job seekers research company reviews and ratings before deciding to apply for a job. Are you actively engaging with curious applicants on job seeking platforms? Or are you letting people fill in the blank on their own while others answer questions on your behalf?
Candidates do their research. Encourage happy employees to share their testimonials on your careers page and social media channels, and ask them to leave reviews on job seeking sites.
When you make an effort to stay at the forefront of those conversations, you reinforce trust in yourself as an employer. Don’t let others fill in the blanks for you!
4. Get ahead of the conversation.
Now is not the time to be shy and dance around harsh truths. Negative feedback is there to help you understand how to improve...if you truly want to improve. Take all of your reviews and other feedback seriously!
Remember that responsiveness helps increase trust in your employer brand. Maintain visibility and demonstrate transparency as a company.
Solicit feedback in employee exit interviews. They’ll be able to give you a good idea of what you were doing poorly, and what you can be doing better. These employees on their way out will likely be more honest than those who are still currently employed.
5. Do some math.
It’s not enough to just decide on a strategy and hope for the best. Well you can, but if you want to get serious about growth and improvement, you need to be monitoring your progress objectively and consistently.
Before you implement an improvement strategy, decide on what success means to you and how you will measure it on a regular schedule. Incorporate hard data and quantify subjective measures like surveys so you can get the real, honest picture of how your agribusiness is doing. Don’t hide from the reflection in the mirror!
6. Stay flexible.
If you are committed to improvement, this means you have to be open to adjusting and letting go of habits that are no longer serving you. When you resist change, you resist growth.
When your data tells you that something isn’t working or that you need to change, follow it! What worked yesterday might not work today, and what’s working today might not work tomorrow. It is important to be open to changing your strategies.
When you incorporate these tips to shape your employer brand, you are bound to start seeing positive changes that lead to higher quality candidates, improved retention, and happier employees!
As nebulous as employer branding may be, when you make yourself aware of it and create a strategy to use it to your advantage you can see great benefits!
An employer branding strategy that positively and accurately reflects what it’s like to work for your agribusiness will attract higher quality candidates, lead to higher retention, and contribute to overall growth. You’ll have a much easier time attracting fresh talent when you take a proactive approach to managing your employer brand.
When transparency is one of the most valuable tools in your shed, you have to do the work to create a work environment that candidates genuinely want to work in. Lead with authenticity, always! Put yourself in their shoes. Would you be happy to work for you?