Employer branding is a hot topic. As the economy continues to rebound, job seekers have access to a wider range of opportunities. It’s much less of a “buyer’s market” for employers, and there is an increasing need to actually compete for talent.
The effort to highlight desirable qualities of a job and company does more than simply attract attention and generate interest. Research conducted by LinkedIn finds that a strong employer brand contributes to a more than 40% decrease in cost-per-hire (here is their latest report).
But it doesn’t stop there. LinkedIn’s research also found that a strong employer brand can substantially reduce employee turnover further down the line.
Think about that for a moment.
We’re actually talking about something much bigger than a sales or marketing effort. Employer brands (if honest) can influence the overall company culture and improve actual employee experiences.
Here are 4 great things that a strong employer brand can have.
1. Meaning and purpose
People want to spend their time on things that have meaning and purpose. Employers that highlight an important mission or the ability to contribute can often attract greater attention and interest from candidates.
But it also benefits the employee. It seems pretty obvious that finding a sense of purpose in daily activities can make people happy (and lack of purpose can make people unhappy).
What you might not know is that sense of purpose is related to a variety of health outcomes. Research has found that people with a strong sense of purpose tend to live longer in general, and are significantly healthier in a number of ways, including reduced risk of heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
Of course, employee health problems can also cost the employer directly (such as paying for healthcare) and indirectly (such as reduced productivity or missed days).
Employers that are able to offer more flexible work schedules might already be motivated to do so for branding purposes. Flexible work is increasingly desired among applicants and employees, especially among younger millennial workers who are beginning to comprise more and more of the available workforce.
Again, the potential advantages actually go far beyond branding. Numerous studies have found that employees with more flexible work conditions are more productive. One of the most tightly-controlled studies estimates that flexible work boosts productivity by 10%.
As if that wasn’t enough motivation to offer flexible work, there is also compelling evidence that it can reduce stress, improve health, and save employers money on related costs.
3. Compensation and benefits
One of the main ways that employers compete for talent is with the compensation and benefits they offer. There is little doubt that these things can be attractive to job applicants and candidates.
But there’s actually an even better reason pay employees well.
Research has found that money is one of the most common causes of stress—and that stressed-out employees are less productive, less happy, and more likely to think about quitting.
In fact, a high salary isn’t necessarily the top priority for many people, and it therefore might not be the most important thing to advertise. People actually tend to care more about having a comfortable salary (as well as other things that can reduce money-related stress, such as job security).
4. Diversity and inclusion
Employers often say that they value diversity and inclusion. The majority of employers have some sort of diversity statement, and diversity and inclusion programs in place. Of course, these things can certainly be valuable when an employer wants to attract and encourage a wider range of job applications.
A recent executive survey found that the vast majority in leadership positions believe that diversity and inclusion efforts can contribute to greater innovation, and reduce employee turnover…
…yet only about half of those surveyed believe that their own organizations successfully deal with these issues.
These issues are notoriously difficult for scientists to study (employers are often protective of their data due to the potential for legal liabilities or bad press). So it’s rather interesting to see so many candidly state that focusing more on diversity and inclusion could actually boost their bottom line.
In short, yes, employer branding is important for employers because they need to compete for talent. But let’s not lose sight of what these things really represent—employers have an increasing need to actually be great employers. Fortunately, being a great employer can also really pay off for everyone.