What is Employer Branding?
Employer branding or recruitment marketing is the promotion of your company as an employer for job-seekers. You could think of it as branding for your vacancies, instead of your products. So, what’s the main selling point of employer brands? Well, usually it’s the employee value proposition (EVP), which in a nutshell is what differentiates you from other employers, think of it as the unique selling point (USP) in the HR world.
Why Employer Branding is so Important for Startups
In the job market, startups are up against the big players, whose budget allows them to splash the cash and spend big on employment benefits and extrinsic rewards. In turn, startups have to be more creative when it comes to creating an employer brand and compelling job-seekers their way. Such an employer brand can revolve around the company culture, team identity and in general the advantages that come with working for small businesses.
To accentuate these advantages, and create an impression out there in the job market, developing and pushing the employer brand is critical for attracting candidates. So while for the big businesses the money speaks for itself, startups have to create an identity and personality, and successfully market them.
What are the Advantages of Working for Startups?
A Comforting Workplace Culture
The workplace culture in startups tends to be more informal, and relationships more authentic. With fewer chains of command, the employees are more connected to the CEO, and in turn their own contributions and efforts in the workplace influence the creation of a team identity and a company culture. Such an atmosphere where employees feel they are valued members of the team creates a psychological safety, in which the employees and the organization as a whole operate more productively.
Quality interpersonal relations and a sense of recognition compel to the social and esteem needs of employees. These are real needs which employees are searching for, and startups need to compete for becoming the desirable destinations for the fulfillment of these needs.
Work-life Balance and the Hybrid Work Model
Since the beginning of the pandemic, it seems that as more people have become acquainted with the benefits of working from home, more people have started appreciating employers’ proposition of a work-life balance. As a record of 4.4 million employees quit their jobs in September in the US, in what is now the Great Resignation, flexibility of working hours and remote working seem to be a priority for the disgruntled workforce.
Whilst workforce relationships in startups tend to be more informal and friendly, there is a great deal of centralization which comes with the CEO having to put on a lot of hats to be in control of their business. With this control comes startups’ ability to supervise remote work, and establish a hybrid work model to satisfy the needs of the employees. The fact that startups are more flexible when it comes to the type of employment they offer employees puts them at an advantage in comparison to established corporations, which have already developed a team organization and workload management, whilst the startups are able to adjust accordingly.
In startups, the CEO is usually not the only one who will find themselves wearing a lot of hats and having to take on different responsibilities. A smaller workforce means less specialization, which means that a lot of tasks which do not fit the job description of employees get delegated to them nonetheless.
This sort of cross-training and experience can not only satisfy the employees by changing things up and assigning them different tasks, but it also aids to the personal growth and career development of the employees. Becoming experienced in different key aspects of business and acquiring useful knowledge is very important for ambitious and eager employees. Of course, some startups may outsource such tasks and functions to specialized teams, but keeping these functions in-house can present itself with a myriad of benefits when it comes to talent development and experience.
How to Build an Employer Brand as a Startup?
Considering the information mentioned above, regarding the different advantages of working for startups and the concept of an EVP, it would be best to first define the primary reasons why a job-seeker would choose you as their employer. Then, based on this, you will need to map out a recruitment marketing strategy, where you’ll be pushing out and marketing content for your career page, social media and blog.
A career page is absolutely vital for your employer brand. Having a landing page for passive candidates gives job-seekers directions when considering you as an employer. Ideally, a career page should contain absolutely everything you think a job-seeker would find helpful when considering a career at your company. Job opportunities, your social media, employee testimonials, and anything which will help portray and promote your company culture, such as photo galleries and videos.
Social Media Activity
Your career page and your story may be so captivating as to peak the job-seeker’s interest, but retaining that interest is just as important! According to Glassdoor, “68% of Millennials, 54% of Gen-Xers, and 48% of Boomers indicated they visit an employer’s social media properties specifically to evaluate the employer’s brand”. This means that your social media presence is just as important of a component when it comes to building an employer brand.
Utilizing all social media to promote your employer branding is key, however LinkedIn is the platform you may want to be paying most attention to. With LinkedIn, you can promote blogs, videos and photos, all of which serve the purpose of marketing your employer brand. Additional things like celebrating accomplishments and recognizing employees also help. Furthermore, having a blog which records the journey of your company and gives insight to the behind-the-scenes of your company, announcing milestones and getting insights from employees, is also great content which can be shared on your social media.
All in all, employer branding is an integral part of your recruitment marketing, through which you will be able to attract the talent you’re looking for. For startups, employer branding is the best way to compete for talent with big corporations, which can provide job-seekers with bigger monetary incentives. However, as HR theories tell us, there are many other sources of motivation for employees, and tapping into them is exactly what startups need to win this uphill battle.