The role of employer branding in acquiring top talent

August 16, 2019 Kate Harding

In today’s candidate-driven market, creating a positive candidate experience is a priority for any organisation that wants to attract top talent, grow and be successful. Highly skilled people have become demanding and expect prospective employers to provide a seamless and engaging experience as a matter of course – it’s no longer a nice-to-have but a must-have. As a result, recruiters now have to work harder than ever to find quality candidates. 

Employer branding plays a crucial role in recruitment: it helps organisations to stand out from the competition. According to a LinkedIn survey, 75% of candidates will research your organisation’s reputation before applying for a role, to help them decide whether your organisation will be a good match for their values. 

However, employer branding is not just about raising awareness of your brand and promoting your organisational culture and values; investing in personalised communication throughout the recruitment, selection and onboarding journey matters the most. To ensure that people have a positive perception of your brand, you should commit to purposeful social media campaigns. Apart from saving you time and money on expensive recruitment campaigns, social media platforms allow you to build solid, long-lasting relationships because you can connect and engage with people regularly.

Technology is transforming talent acquisition and more and more recruiters are using digital recruitment tools. In our recent Human to Hybrid research, we found that HR leaders regard technology as key to delivering a great candidate experience, providing speed, personalisation and seamlessness across digital channels. Moreover, it helps you reach more candidates, building a wider, diverse talent pool that will address and close skills gaps. Two thirds (65%) of HR leaders expect the candidate experience to become a key differentiator within business over the next five years, and more than half (53%) expect digital to drive a better candidate experience.

That better candidate experience will be personalised and to the same standard that people already enjoy in their personal lives: 69% of HR leaders believe that candidates will expect the same personalised experience that they receive from consumer brands such as Amazon within the next five years. Since 40% already plan to start offering candidates personalised opportunities and communications during the next two years, this should be achievable. But they’ll need to make sure they have the technology in place to make it a success.

If personalised communication and opportunities are at the heart of the employer brand, digital and data are at the heart of personalisation.

You need to have a very deep understanding of potential employees and what their needs and preferences are, so that you can communicate with them in a way that establishes you as an employer of choice – with a very positive brand – and offer them opportunities that make them want to come to work for you.

In our latest white paper, The insight edge in talent acquisition: How data and insight can deliver the skills needed in a hybrid workforce, we looked into how data and analytics have been reshaping recruitment and the candidate experience. But it’s a very different story to the digital one. While most organisations are attempting to take a data-driven approach, using data within their talent acquisition processes to improve the candidate experience and increase the ‘quality of hire’, so far they’ve largely failed to deliver; held up by technology, data security issues, a lack of skills and an inability to derive meaningful insight from the data they have at their disposal.

On a positive note however, recruitment and HR leaders are unequivocal in their belief in data,
recognising its potential value in, among many things, identifying high potential candidates externally. But there’s a lot of work to be done if they’re to harness the power of data to create a winning employer brand.

But when they do gain the skills, tools and knowledge to do so, HR and recruitment leaders will start being able to make much more informed decisions, built on insight rather than instinct, and generate a much richer picture of their workforce. This, in turn, enables them to deliver the targeted, personalised candidate experience that builds their employer brand and creates engagement, loyalty and trust.

Organisations need to develop robust processes, skills and leadership to pursue an effective data-driven approach to talent acquisition, and then marry their insight with cutting edge digital delivery. Those that can achieve this will enjoy competitive advantage in the battle to acquire first-class skills, improve quality of hire and build the extensive and agile talent pools they need to succeed, thanks to a personalised candidate experience that drives their employer brand and makes them stand out from the crowd.

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