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Putting Stock in Employer Brand

Employer brand has become a high priority for top talent in recent years. Sectors like IT and Marketing have taken notice – but not all industries have followed suit. So where does Financial Services stand in the brand debate?

Prior to moving into Recruitment, I worked in the Financial Services sector for 25 years. I’m a firm believer that Financial Services is a fascinating industry, with a wealth of exciting career options and so many opportunities for learning and development. Sadly, not everybody sees it that way, even though there are so many different companies doing so many different things.

As a recruiter, I understand the importance of putting the right candidates in front of the right companies, and matching the right people with the right brands. We always hear from candidates about how important company culture is, so it’s vital that companies build their employer brand to continue to attract top talent.                                                                                                      

The Importance of Employer Branding

With the talent market becoming more competitive, standing out from the crowd becomes essential. This makes employer branding even more important when it comes to attracting the best talent and priming your business for success. This is especially crucial in a market like New Zealand, where candidates in general are more selective about the brands they want to be working with. Over half of New Zealand professionals list employer brand as the most important factor when looking for work.

Taking an honest look at what your organisation is like, as an employer, is the best way to build an employer brand that is an accurate representation of your workplace and to attract great candidates.           

Establishing Your Employer Brand

So with that said, what must companies do in order to have a strong employer brand and attract better candidates? We know that great candidates are attracted to great companies, but how do you actually go about positioning yourself as an industry leader in the eyes of applicants?

Bear in mind that the number one priority when evaluating your employer brand must be authenticity. Evaluating company values and taking another look at how these are represented in your brand is an excellent foundation for building, or re-building, your employer brand. One of the best ways of evaluating your current employer brand is to ask your current employees. Running focus groups or sending out anonymous surveys are two ways you can do this and will give you a good insight into what works about your internal culture, and which areas need development. 

Although ensuring authenticity is important, it is crucial to understand what your target candidates are looking for in an employer. The objective of employer branding is not to attract everyone. It is far more important to tailor your brand to the kind of candidates that will fit your internal culture. If your employer brand is an accurate reflection of your company, then you are more likely to engage the candidates who are truly interested in working for you, resulting in a better outcome for both parties.

Setting Your Priorities

Candidate priorities have changed a lot recently; Millennials are a rapidly growing segment of the working population, and are projected to make up 50% of the workforce by 2020. They’ve become somewhat of a disruptive influence in terms of what people value about their roles. We’ve seen flexibility emerge as a high priority for many candidates, with professionals at all levels now looking for job opportunities that will afford them a good level of work/life balance, or the ability to work remotely. Not all candidates prefer this, but it’s definitely something that is becoming more common, and possibly something to keep in mind when it comes to employer branding.

However, flexible hours alone isn’t going to be enough to position yourself as a great place to work. There may be other issues that might need addressing. Diversity is another strong priority for job seekers now.

With research showing that diversity generally makes companies more successful, letting potential candidates know that opportunities exist for all kinds of different people is a win-win situation – as that inclusiveness will attract a wider range of candidates, and contribute to business success. 

It’s great to see many banks leading the charge when it comes to issues such as women in leadership and pay equality, however, only 19% of senior level positions, 14% of board seats and 2% of CEO roles in Financial Services are held by women.

Marketing Your Brand

Being a high performing company and a leader in your field also has a strong impact on your employer brand. Although candidates have always wanted to work for great companies, new tools have made it easier than ever for companies to better position themselves as thought leaders. Sharing exciting new developments and industry insights on company social media channels can show the world, including potential candidates, your successes and demonstrate your status as a market leader.

Using the same tactics to showcase yourself as a great place to work is another way to enhance your employer brand. Doing things like celebrating the achievements of your employees publicly, by way of your company’s online presence, will show people that your employees are valued and respected and that their accomplishments are important to you. 

Getting involved with the industry in person, on more of a grassroots level, is another way to get your brand out there amongst the people you’re targeting. Take a look at sponsoring or attending industry events, and getting your team to go along. Remember that when it comes to employer brand, there are no better brand ambassadors than your employees. Without employee engagement, your employer brand won’t come across as genuine and will therefore be destined to fail. Your employees are the people who are selling your brand, and who prospective candidates are going to relate to, so having employee buy-in is central to employer branding success. 

Summary 

Having a strong employer brand is crucial to attract top talent in today’s competitive talent market, and understanding your internal employer value proposition is equally as critical to keep them happy once they start. As recruiters, we know that having a great internal brand doesn’t necessarily mean that your public brand is visible and appealing to candidates. 

Bridging that gap and communicating your culture is the art of employer branding. If you don’t have a strong employer brand, one that’s tailored to the candidates you want to be hiring, then you might be missing out on top talent and attracting a different kind of candidate than you’re aiming for. If you’re looking to connect with this top talent, and to maximise the visibility of your employer brand, feel free to get in touch

Tags: Finance
Sara Thornton

Sara Thornton | Recruitment Specialist

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