In the US alone, there are a record 10.1 million open jobs as per US govt job data. While the UK faced the worst staff shortage since 1997 per a Guardian news report. A LinkedIn and Microsoft survey found 41% of employees are considering leaving their current employer. These statistics point to the spike in demand for qualified people, while employers are in a spot to retain and recruit talent, making employer brand storytelling critical in 2022. In 2020, when COVID hit upon us, several companies took a knee jerk reaction by laying off a record number of people. 81 million people lost their jobs in Asia in 2020 while over 10 million Americans filed for unemployment in March 2020 alone.
The need for employer branding
In 2 years, there is a role reversal happening as a record number of employees are leaving their jobs. The industry is calling this the “Great resignation” movement.
2021 was when the role reversal started. Internal employee surveys, exit interviews and industry surveys revealed some hard-hitting insights.
- Employees wanted to enjoy their job over working for a well-known company
- When a company led with purpose, their employees were more likely to work for them
- 41% of employees in America said, they would not work for an organization that failed to speak about racism
Besides, the traditional motivators like pay, ping-pong tables & free snacks lost their appeal. Employers are forced to transform their employee value proposition in a way like repairing the plane when it’s flying.
How to go about employer brand storytelling?
In the new normal, employers need to talk about the “here and now” vs how their company was cool earlier.
Hence employer brand storytelling needs to cover areas like,
- How an employer cared for their employees during the pandemic?
- What is it like to work for your organization, right now?
- What employees are saying about their employer?
Several pieces must come together for a cohesive and compelling employer branding strategy. It includes an organization’s purpose, values, employee value proposition, their take on inclusivity and diversity etc… It also needs to include channels to reach prospective candidates, content, formats, interview experience to name a few.
Here are 10 employer brand storytelling strategies for a solid employer branding approach.
Show how your company responded during uncertain times
The last couple of years has shown the importance of adopting a humane approach in times of uncertainty. It could be how the company managed through tough times, how a team faced a challenging situation and overcame it, or what the company did for an employee-specific life-or-death situation.
When candidates know about how a company cared for their people during the worst times, they come to realize the company values are real and not just words on their website.
Instead of adopting the standard job description, asking real employees in a specific role to articulate what his/her day looks like, connecting how his/her job impacts their customer/organizations goal by talking in a language specific to the role can make an employer stand out.
This format of storytelling creates a deeper impact and connection with candidates as it will be far more engaging. Candidates will also know from the experience of their prospective colleagues how it is to perform in that role.
Authentic stories from leadership
When leaders come forward and share stories of their journey or their vulnerable moments, candidates relate with them and in fact will want to work with them. Today’s employees want to work for an empathetic organization, there is no better way to showcase the humaneness of an organization than stories from leaders.
Stories of remote or hybrid workplace to build employer brand
A significant number of candidates want a flexible workplace and the option to decide where and how they will work.
Employers need to adapt content across the careers page to the job descriptions to show how remote/hybrid workplace is being practised.
Until the pandemic, offices that had cool features like open spaces, fully stocked kitchens, nap rooms and creative office perks were the rage. But now, it’s time to show how your employees are utilizing flexibility at work, what their home office looks like, how you are enabling them to work from anywhere and their life both within and outside the office.
What does it mean to be a working parent and working for you?
A lot of women left their jobs or were laid off during the pandemic for many reasons. Primary among them is taking care of family or difficulty in managing both work and family. Due to the spike in demand for jobs, they are an important constituent now.
For the working parent group, stories of how an employer is supporting them with flexible time options, adapted career paths or even how the meetings are scheduled in consideration of a working parent will speak volumes about the flexibility in practice.
Show stories on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in practice
A solid employer branding approach has an always-on DEI component. It’s not about flipping that logo to pink in February in support of women’s month or having a rainbow background in June to support PRIDE month.
With careful preparation and thoughtful execution, a company need to tap into their various interest groups to capture their stories. This will position the employer as inclusive.
Amplifying stories of employee rewards & recognition
Employee recognition and retention go hand in hand. Organizations that have solid employee rewards & recognition programs are better off in managing the current talent tsunami.
By capturing the stories of employees who succeeded at the workplace and were rewarded, companies can turn employees into their brand ambassadors. This helps organisations to attract talent from their employee networks, as they share it among their networks.
3rd party review-site based content
Prospective employees generally believe when employees share their stories on their networks or on independent review sites such as Glassdoor, Comparably etc.
These sites are considered to be collecting employee opinions without bias. Reviews on these sites carry more credibility than those on the career portals of the companies.
Companies need to take a very concerted effort in nudging employees to rate them on these review sites. By bringing in gamification elements to these programs, companies can influence their employees to review more often.
Capturing alumni stories for employer brand storytelling
We have seen statements like, “Once a Googler always a Googler”. But how often do organizations pay attention to their alumni or involve them as part of their employer branding?
When a company promotes the success of its alumni, their credibility as a trusted employer and a company to work for increases multifold. This shows their intent of caring about their employee growth even after they left them. Beyond that, there is also a goodwill and network effect that is bound to happen which adds a lot of value to employer branding efforts.
Articulate company values through employee stories
Almost every other company talks about their mission, purpose values etc on their website and careers blog. They are in general less humanized and are jargon. Companies can capture stories of values in action from their employees to clarify brand messaging. The same could be used in employee onboarding, career sections on the website and social media channels.
This should be an ongoing program across the year to create a value stories repository. To be holistic, stories also should be across the spectrum from sales to engineering and from entry-level to leadership.
In summary, while employer branding is a critical element in attracting talent, not every candidate or employer is the same. Candidates are becoming much more aware of what they want. In a market where candidates have the upper edge, employer brand storytelling can help in attracting the right candidates.