The Relationship Between an Employer Brand and Retention

Job mobility has never been as fluid as it is today. With the advent of LinkedIn and other forms of networking, the 21st century has seen some of the employers’ power shift to the talent. Many companies now accept that young professionals dismiss the thought of dedicating their entire career to one company. Equally, giving several companies less than five years is not quite the red flag on a resume that it once was. So, in a competitive market, should companies readily accept the relentless costs of a labour market that seems to have institutionalized attrition? Perhaps not. A recent study in the Journal of Marketing and Consumer Research suggests that employer branding may be the key to stabilizing turnover in this turbulent job market.

What is employer branding?

With talent at a premium in many markets (especially IT), an employer brand is a defense against attrition that collates a broad spectrum of the company’s selling points. Branding begins by diagnosing what employees want and/or value in their company’s public image, its social engagement projects, work practices and culture. From these insights a “brand” can be developed. If done well, this branding will promote loyalty that facilitates a culture where employees feel invested in their company’s goals.

What the brand should promote

To a certain extent, an employer has to get a “feel” for what its workforce values. On-boarding and off-boarding interviews, annual reviews, confidential questionnaires, and team meetings are occasions where an employer can discern what makes its employees “tick.” The company will often find that it is not always about money. In some work forces, healthy living and work-life balance are the major concerns. In such instances, the employer branding would emphasize the benefits programs, the generous parental leave options, the company fitness initiatives (on-site or off). If a company lacks the selling points that a workforce values, it may be time to invest in those very areas. A company that develops an irrelevant employer brand will alienate its employees’ and may turn their heads towards an organization with a more attractive brand.

Implementing employer branding strategies

In addition to Management, Marketing and Human Resources, employees are one of the strongest (and most credible) channels for promoting an employer brand. Companies with a handle on the branding process will market it during meetings, on its websites, in its job postings, and in their day to day interactions with stakeholders. With around 63 percent of employees admitting that a trusted employer brand positively impacts the enjoyment of their job, the value deploying the brand effectively is obvious. So, for companies that are struggling to hire and retain the right kind of talent, now is the time to calibrate your employer branding.