Employer Branding Strategy: 5 Lessons from The Muse

Your employer branding strategy is important. Seventy five percent of candidates research a company and their employer brand before applying for a job, and 69 percent would not accept a job at a company with a bad reputation. Perhaps that’s why 83 percent of employers agree that employer branding plays a significant role in their ability to hire talent.

We recently partnered on a webinar with Toni Thompson, VP People and Talent, at The Muse to learn about their employer branding strategy. She discussed the importance of employer branding, how the employer value proposition ties in, and how they both help you attract the right talent for your organization.

5 Lessons in Employer Branding Strategy from The Muse

Lesson 1: Winning the war for talent isn’t about being deemed “the best” company to work for.

The job market is competitive, and candidates have many choices when it comes to where they want to work. They’re researching companies to learn how they stack up against the things they value most in an employer. For some, that’s workplace flexibility, or a robust training program. Others may be more interested in companies of a certain size.

Toni believes that the role of the modern HR and talent professional is not just to promote the job but, more importantly, to clarify the DNA of the company. It’s not just about being labeled the best company to work—it’s about clarifying for whom it is a great place to work. Give candidates an idea of what sets your company apart, and give them the opportunity to self-select out if it’s not the right environment for them. Authenticity is key if you want to attract candidates who align with your culture and values, and ensure that they have a positive employee experience after accepting your offer.

Lesson 2: Your employer brand is driven by your employees and candidates.

Toni shares that your brand experience is determined by your people experience. That is, your brand is what candidates and employees experience when they come in contact with your company, how they talk about it, and the sentiment attached to that dialogue. The common themes from that dialogue and sentiment become your employer brand—even if you don’t intentionally do anything to direct that message or process.

It’s crucial to understand what your message is externally, as that can impact the kinds of talent you attract and the new hire experience. Otherwise, you can continue to build a company culture you don’t want to build or hire talent that’s not a strong fit for your organization—and therefore not successful or happy once they start. None of us want that. Make sure your external message clear, accurate, and something the company is proud to put out there.

Lesson 3: The employer brand is actually a strategic subset of your employer value proposition.

You need an employer value proposition before you can have a strong and genuine employer brand that attracts top talent. Toni points out that your employer value proposition isn’t your employer brand. Instead, it focuses on the internal point of view of your company and emcompasses all of the things that employees appreciate most about their experience. Build your own by pulling out the core qualities and attributes you most want to emphasize. Authenticity is important, so your employer value proposition can’t be based on the desires and assumptions of your human resources or leadership teams.

Once you’ve defined your internal employer value proposition, you can build an external-facing employer brand. Use your employer value proposition to identify the qualities and values your organization wants to become known for, and make those the foundation for your employer brand. Then, create content around those qualities and values, and promote them externally to attract the right talent for your team.

Lesson 4: Data is a critical component of your employer brand strategy.

Toni stresses the importance of using data to develop your employer value proposition and employer brand. The Muse uses inputs from new hire data, pulse surveys, exit interviews, meetings, and BrandBuilder (their own technology that crowdsources employee stories). This data allows them to learn what people value most about their employee experience so they can build authentic internal and external messaging.

Utilize this data to identify crossover themes, and align with your management and leadership teams on focus areas. From there, develop your employer value proposition, which should then shape your employer brand and talent attraction messages to candidates.

Lesson 5: Communicate your employer value proposition at every candidate stage.

Leverage your employer value proposition at every candidate stage to attract and engage your top-choice candidates. Pay attention which elements of your employer brand are present when you research your company like a candidate would, and make sure your employer brand is represented in your outreach emails. For instance, you can add employee videos and quotes to your career page and weave them throughout your candidate follow-up emails.

Also pay attention to what your employees are saying to candidates throughout the interview process. It’s quite common for candidates to ask about company culture, and it’s important that interviewers are communicating it in a clear and authentic way.

To learn more great insights about building a killer employer brand strategy, check out the full webinar replay.