How to bolster your brand as a hybrid employer

Written by Robert Gould  •  Future of work  •  21 February 2022

How to bolster your brand as a hybrid employer

When it comes to securing a diverse and productive hybrid workforce, more and more companies are rethinking their approach to talent attraction. Flexible working has become highly popular among candidates, and the liberating nature of hybrid-remote work has expanded their horizons dramatically. Many professionals now have the freedom to work from anywhere they please, for organisations all over the world. As a result, competition for talent has become fierce.

A hybrid working model doesn’t necessarily make a company a desirable place to work. There are many factors that can influence a candidate’s decisions, including career development opportunities, salary, benefits and company stability. But in the age of hybrid working, another key priority is the strength of an organisation’s employer brand. According to a LinkedIn survey, 75% of job seekers will consider an employer’s brand before even applying for a job, while 52% of candidates will first seek out a company's website and social media to understand their reputation as an employer. 

But what exactly is an employer brand, and who can influence it? Read on to discover how to galvanise your existing workforce, attract the best talent, and create an excellent candidate experience.

Understanding employer branding

Employer branding refers to a company’s reputation as a place to work and how external audiences perceive its values and workplace environment. A strong employer brand can help companies attract more high-quality applicants, streamline recruitment processes, and stand apart from the competition. Every organisation has its own employer brand, regardless of whether they’re actively pursuing it as an initiative.

As a concept, employer branding can feel intangible at times. It’s arguably at its most prominent on websites such as Glassdoor, where companies are anonymously reviewed by current and former employees, and awarded a rating out of five stars that indicates their overall standing as an employer. A company’s presence on social media platforms such as Instagram and LinkedIn is also highly likely to inform an individual’s opinion – not just from how the brand conducts itself online, but also how willing their own employees are to interact with it and become brand ambassadors themselves.

It's crucial to recognise that companies cannot control their employer branding – they can only influence it. The experiences and views of a company’s existing workforce and potential job applicants will ultimately determine how they are perceived externally. Addressing this as a hybrid employer with a dispersed workforce can be even more challenging. Fortunately, developing an employee value proposition (EVP) that meets the needs of their people is one of the most effective ways for a company to reach their entire workforce and guide their employer brand in the right direction.

Make your EVP the MVP

An EVP is the unique promise an employer makes to their employees in return for the skills, capabilities, and experience they bring to an organisation. This promise typically covers compensation, work-life balance, career stability, workplace environment and company culture. While employer branding is an outward reflection of a company, an EVP is more about how the company communicates to its people internally. 

A compelling EVP should distil the essence of a company, encompassing its values, culture and what makes it special. In order to shape an EVP that speaks to the business as a whole, employers should collaborate with their workforce in order to understand what they enjoy about their work environment, why it’s unique, why they’ve chosen to stay, and why some employees may choose to leave. These views can be gathered through employee surveys, focus groups, exit interviews, and feedback from job applicants.

Following the Covid-19 pandemic, many companies have had to adapt their existing EVPs to the needs of the new working world. According to our whitepaper, “The Future is Hybrid”, 52% of UK professionals would prefer to work under a hybrid model. In a survey commissioned by Microsoft UK and YouGov, 51% of UK professionals would quit their job if the option to work remotely and in the office were removed. Moving forward, any company that wants to attract the best talent and become an employer of choice will realistically need to adopt a hybrid working policy as part of their EVP. In addition, these companies should outline how they intend to support hybrid workers by providing the right technology, software and accessories.

Your employer brand is ultimately beyond your control. However, by taking the time to listen to your people and developing an EVP that takes their needs into account, you can at the very least demonstrate your commitment to fostering a supportive and rewarding company culture. This in turn should have a positive impact on the way employees speak about and portray your company in the outside world.

Boost your employer brand

An optimised EVP can help inspire and galvanise your existing hybrid workforce – but how do you encourage candidates to engage with your employer brand? Here are three key ways to communicate how you’ve integrated hybrid working into your company culture and improve your candidate experience.

Highlight your EVP at every stage

For most candidates, the job description you publish will be their first interaction with your brand. Instead of overloading yours with cold language around targets and KPIs, take this opportunity to speak about your company and why it’s a great place to work.

During the interview process, create opportunities for candidates to engage with a mix of office-based and remote team members so they can get a sense of your organisation’s culture from both camps.

Consider scheduling video conferences and having different employees tell the candidates why they chose to work for your company, how their time with the company led to their professional growth, and the unique and fun remote team-building activities that the organisation implemented.

Make leadership accessible

Employees want to know who they’re working for and what the organisation stands for, so you will need to ensure your company’s leadership, ethos and vision are featured prominently across your website, social media, and internal comms channels. This is especially important for engaging individuals who will be working remotely.

Consider asking the management team to record introductory videos that explain the culture and values of the organisation in their own words and send them to candidates before the initial interview. In addition, content such as articles, blogs or shorts clips of leaders speaking at webinars or hosting events can also enable candidates to get a better picture of you leaders’ vision, purpose and personalities.

Create positive first impressions

A positive candidate experience starts with having a clear understanding of the candidate journey and designing a touchpoint experience to enhance candidate interactions with your organisation. 

There are multiple recruitment technologies available that can help provide a consistent and consumer-grade experience for candidates – from attraction and consideration targeting, to API or one-touch applications, to self-interview scheduling and virtual onboarding tools. Recruitment technology is evolving at a rapid pace, and it’s becoming faster and easier to integrate with Applicant Tracking Systems and customise to ensure a streamlined candidate experience.

Download our "The Future is Hybrid: Embrace an agile workforce” whitepaper for an in-depth look at the different types of remote working models plus actionable tips for successfully implementing the right model for your organisation.

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