Employer Brand 2019 forecast
From the continued rise of employee-generated storytelling through to the emergence of virtual reality, these are certainly innovative times for employer branding.
So what’s driving this innovation? Well, if we look at outcomes, we see that those organisations who are winning at recruitment and retention are able to develop a strong identity that’s both authentic and compelling. They are able to craft the type of content that resonates with candidates and employees - but without diluting the central brand message.
To attract new talent and keep existing staff on board, it is often said that recruiters and HR managers need to think like marketers. But as we look at the various trends emerging this year, one overarching theme stands out: successful companies are not just thinking like marketers; in a very real sense, they are marketers.
Employer branding relates to how you create and communicate your unique employment experience to attract and retain talent. Here’s our take on why this is going to be even more of a priority in 2019; at what practices we think are going to grow in popularity this year - and at how companies can stay on top in the employer branding stakes.
The 3 trends driving the need for a strong employer brand in 2019
There are 3 very good reasons why you need to think about how your employment experience is perceived this year…
The first relates to people (i.e. employees and candidates) - and more specifically at what those people expect from an employer. From the most recent Reputation Management Study from global recruiters MRINetwork, 35% of job candidates think that a strong employer brand is important and a further 34% regard it as ‘very important’. Employees want to see a strong, definable identity - and if it is not there, they will likely look elsewhere.
The second is linked to the wider employment market. In tech, the skills gap is reaching crisis levels this year. Manpower shows us that talent shortages are a global phenomenon - affecting sectors as diverse as construction through to healthcare. So when it comes to talent, it’s most definitely a seller’s market.
The third relates to resource management - and how difficult it is becoming. One estimate suggests that 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 have not yet been invented. It’s becoming increasingly hard to predict precisely what type of roles you will need to fill in a few years’ time - and you may need to redeploy or recruit staff into new roles at short notice. If you have already built up a definite employer brand identity, you have a head start in attracting the right people into those new positions.
The death of the careers page?
Think that a swish new careers site is the answer to this year’s recruitment and retention campaign? It may be time to think again.
Just 21% of candidates rate company careers sites as a leading way of getting information on organisations. They are far more likely to scan your website for clues on what it’s really like to work for. But by far, what they are really interested in is input from the real people who actually work there.
The static, corporate-sounding careers page is so last century. Which brings us onto its replacement…
Authenticity & employee authorship
As PlayStation’s senior talent acquisition and branding specialist recently put it, “Your people are your No. 1 content pillar”.
Whether they are thinking of joining a company or mulling over whether it’s time to move on, people want to hear what real people have to say. In fact, PlayStation found that simple work-related social updates from employees got 3 times more engagement from the target audience than anything the gaming giant produced centrally!
More and more, we expect to see HR departments act upon this very important reality: when it comes to employer branding, your employees are your most valuable asset. And this isn’t just about getting your people to push out details of job vacancies to their social contacts. Snippets of info that showcase the working environment, updates on projects they are involved with, individual career progression updates, fly on the wall videos, news relating to internal redeployments: collectively, they provide an incredibly compelling and authentic picture.
Companies need to get creative - but stay consistent
It makes sense for companies to get their people directly involved in employer branding. But with this comes a challenge: how do you make sure that your central brand message stays consistent? If companies are doing more with employer-generated content this year, they will also need to look very carefully at ways to overcome this challenge.
For this, you need a set of clear house rules: covering everything from what you can and cannot say in individual Tweets - right through to how and where your logo and straplines should appear. That’s why a central brand portal is so valuable: it gives your people clear parameters to work under - while keeping you in overall control of the brand message.
The continued rise of VR
Several years ago the British Army rolled out a custom app that lets potential recruits see and feel what it is like to be involved in activities such as parachute driving and combat training. When this was used with dedicated VR headsets at roadshows, it boosted recruitment applications by two thirds.
Fast forward to 2019 and it’s clear that Virtual Reality isn’t just for organisations that require their employees to jump out of aeroplanes. The likes of L’Oreal, banks and automotive manufacturers are just some of the employers who are putting virtual and augmented reality to work for employer brand building.
There’s much more to this than simply trying to ‘wow’ your audience. For instance, with an immersive tour, it becomes possible for new candidates to dive right into the workplace environment. It can also be useful as a training and induction tool to enable onboarding and to help employees get to grips with an organisation’s unique culture.
A word of warning here, though: if you are considering making immersive digital experiences part of your branding strategy this year, just make sure that these experiences are authentic.
Doing more with less
This year, we see that many marketing departments are tightening their belts as economic uncertainty takes hold. As an employer brand or talent acquisition leader you may find that your plans for building an amazing employer brand are limited by a restricted budget.
Faced with this, the pressure is on to do more with less. For instance, is it possible to reduce your agency spend and still produce effective employer branding initiatives? That’s why this is the year to equip your people with the type of tools that enable them to produce amazing assets – even without specialist knowledge.