I recently presented at the HRO Conference in Singapore on Hudson RPO’s annual global research paper in partnership with HRO Today which focuses on what top employer brands do differently to other brands.
The primary research was gathered via one-on-one interviews with top employer brands plus a 3-week online survey of global senior HR practitioners (328 usable responses).
I found this research so practical and insightful for organisations that are still looking at how they build their employer brand and what activities they need to focus on.
Here a just a few of the findings that came out of the report. If you’d like the full report (I highly recommend it!!) then download it here.
One of the biggest questions I get from clients when it comes to developing their employer brand is – where do we start? Do we just refresh our EVP, or should we just update our career site? What if I put a few videos in there, will that be enough. As with most big projects, we need to understand the objectives – what do you want your employer brand to do exactly? Building a strategy to support the successful execution of a project is critical.
The research shows that twice as many top employer brands have a defined and documented employer brand strategy compared to other brands.
So I would ask you – does your business have an employer brand strategy or is it more of an activities focus. If we just do these one or two things then we’ll be fine? Is the strategy lead by the wider HR and Business strategy so that it’s tied into delivering what the business needs? These are the types of questions that need to be asked.
Not only do we need a strategy but we need someone who can champion that strategy. The leader, the passionate crusader that understands what it’s all about, who understands the benefits and opportunities and is able to articulate that and position it in the right way to get the job done.
Once again, top brands were more likely to have CEO or President level sponsorship. I think a lot of organisations are unsure how to have the commercial conversation around what quantifiable impact EB will have on the business therefore it’s not something that is discussed at C-suite or exec level.
Top brands also generally had stronger visibility of their employer brand across their senior leadership team. By having the entire leadership team on board and behind what you are doing means that your ability to rally internal support and engagement will be higher.
I was having this conversation with the HRD of a large consulting firm the other day, and she commented that they need to see a return on investment before they will invest anything worthwhile. And whilst there are things that can be done inexpensively, there needs to be some investment if any impact is to be made. That might be cash investment or it could be resources investment – but something has to be given in order to get something in return. We found that top employer brands invested 52% more than other brands.
Top brands use more social channels to promote their employer brands, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest. By using multiple channels you’re engaging current and potential employees in different ways. You’re provide multi content collateral for their consumption which is always going to more engaging that just one type of content in one place.
Partnering for Success
As an employer brand strategy can be a project in itself with many different components, the research found that whilst 57% of organisations manage their employer brand internally and 61.3% of Top Brands partnered with an external business/consultant compared with 42.9% of other brands. Bringing in specialised expertise to help you build a strategy as well as execute key activities will ensure you have targeted outcomes.
Overall, top tier employer brand companies involved more departments and other groups in promoting their employer brand as seen below. By ensuring that you’re using experts in your business to deliver input, advice and output for the employer brand project will not only share the work load but it will ensure that the employer brand is in line with the corporate and consumer brand as well. 44.6% of Top Employer Brands have defined roles compared with 17.6% of other brands.
Measuring Return on Investment
As always this one is a surprise to a degree. We’re so focused on metrics and measuring everything but the Employer Brand is still the last thing to be measured. 61.4% of respondents said that they don’t measure return on investment when it comes to their Employer Brand whilst 22.4% weren’t sure.
These are just some of the findings from the research undertaken. The report provides break out “how to” boxes to make it not only informative but very practical.
If you’d like to discuss how your employer branding strategy can meet your business needs this year then drop me a message and we can discuss how we could potentially work together – firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m actually surprised that you’re still reading when you know I’m going to be talking about writing better job ads!! Well good for you!
Yes I know it’s one of the more boring topics but the more I look at job ads online (for research purposes only of course), the more I’m astounded by how poorly they are still written.
Copy and paste the job description much?
Even though job boards have decreased in popularity compared to other sourcing channels, they are still a key sourcing channel in most regions, therefore it’s still important to craft ads that increase your chances of finding qualified candidates and that diversify your employee sourcing channels. This means writing better recruitment ads, understanding why some recruitment ads fail and using creativity to set your client’s organization apart.
Write Better Recruitment Ads
There are three types of ads you’ll work with most:
- Internal ads
- External ads
- Mobile ads
Internal ads target employees who already work within an organization. Writing copy for these ads uses different language than external ads, which target candidates seeking employment outside of an organization.
It’s unnecessary to extol the virtues of working for the company since the employee already has an idea of the culture and the work environment. Instead, talk about how the job can further their career within the company. You can still provide them with an overview of what that particular division in the business is doing as that may not be common knowledge in an organisation with 3000 plus people. Tailor internal ads using familiar language, and speak to your candidates as existing employees. If internal mobility is a key focus area for your organisation then spend the time to write interesting and tailored content for that audience.
External ads explain the benefits of working with the organization. Build the employee value proposition (EVP), and create an advertisement that attracts potential candidates to the organization. Now I know that you’re sitting there think….yes Suzanne we know all of this. Well if you know all of this, then my question is, can you honestly, with hand on heart say that you really think about your ads and whether you’re providing Meaning, Challenge and Reward statements that will attract and engage the best candidates?
Research shows that when deciding to either stay with a company or to join a new organisation, the majority of individuals will focus their decisions making on the three key areas outlined below, therefore messaging should be targeted to communicate role meaning, challenge or reward.
The amazing thing is that job ads, if written in a compelling way can increase sharability. What do I mean? Well if I’m an active candidate looking for a job and I see a job ad that is a-maz-ing, but may not be right for me, I may just pass it onto an old colleague or friend of mine that I think may be interest (even though they aren’t looking).
We try to think of all these creative ways to attract candidates..which I’m a huge advocate for, but the quality everyday standard attraction methods are declining.
When writing your job ad think about how you can provide insight about the business in a way that does not come from corporate comms. Think about something interesting about the business or the division. It’s fine to say what you are looking for but think about writing it in a way that is attractive.
So instead of saying “experience leading a team”, think about what the hook is for that person…. “with your extensive team management experience, you’ll be leading a senior group of sales experts who need further support and guidance to deliver across multiple regions and markets” . This says to me, I’ve got some great sales experience in the team, I’ll need to look at better ways to help them deliver in a variety of regions – and that’s my challenge.
When working with mobile ads, which have grown increasingly relevant over the past few years, become aware of how your ad looks on various mobile devices. Mobile ads made for smartphones can become warped on tablets, muddling your ad and rendering it ineffective. Is your career site mobile optimised or will I be frustrated as a candidate when I go and try to apply online on my phone or tablet? Don’t lose great candidates because your technology is 2nd grade!
What Makes a Good Ad?
- A strong headline
- Effective use of subheadings
- An enticing job summary
- Body copy that sells the role
Strong headlines use language with the potential candidate in mind. Don’t complicate the name of a role or use language the client assumes everyone knows. Instead, use clear, concise language. Subheadings introduce vital information, usually at the top of the ad. Use keywords for subheadings, and talk about job perks: parking, location, flexibility, and so on. Job summaries sell the role to candidates. Try to hold their attention in 150 characters, and utilize keywords candidates are searching for.
Use IDEA for the body copy.
IDEA stands for: Interest, Desire, Enthusiasm, and Action.
Interest: What’s the payoff for the candidate? Highlight the interests that make them read on.
Desire: What’s in it for them? Going back to the idea of EVPs, explain the factors that keep employees in the organization.
Enthusiasm: Differentiate the way you post jobs. Don’t use the same ad for different roles. Diversify your ads, tailor them to the job, and make potential candidates excited about reading it.
Action: Tell the reader to take action; compel them. Ask yourself from their perspective: What do I have to do to make this happen?
Using the aforementioned guide creates successful employee sourcing channels and provides recruitment managers with a step-by-step guide for creating better advertisements. However, the most important concept is understanding your candidates and speaking to them through concise and compelling copy.
We constantly talk about how the market is changing and candidates expect more, yet the quality of what we say and do to attract them doesn’t reflect that. So the bottom line is, if you want a great candidate to apply for your role online, then make the effort and spend the time creating something worth them reading!