Everything Social Housing

Differentiate your offering: employer branding for the housing sector

Connecting the dots between an employer brand and attracting and keeping the most suitable talent.

Just search for tips on creating an employer brand and you’ll be inundated with articles, how to guides and checklists. But very rarely do they focus on the subtle and not-so-subtle differences the housing sector and HR/recruitment teams face.

Because, let’s face it - there are many challenges and opportunities when it comes to managing a recruitment campaign for a housing organisation.

Let’s set the scene to demonstrate.

Hands up if any of the following sound familiar to you:

🙋 You operate in a market with a fairly similar offering to other organisations… you need to find a way to make your organisation stand out to candidates.

🙋 You can sometimes find it difficult presenting why your organisation is great, especially against larger housing associations (particularly in Bristol and Gloucester) and private sector salaries and benefits.

🙋 And you see the value in investing in employer branding but you just can’t find the budget and/or time to dig deep and implement real change.

(We see you raising your hand!)

Chances are, you may have experienced or are currently experiencing some of those challenges. We’re here to share with you some employer branding ideas for the housing sector that’ll help you to stop thinking about employer branding and begin to act upon it.

Housing organisations: Why you need to step your employer branding game up

The impact of COVID on employment means you’re likely to be operating in a candidate-driven market. (Sorry we mentioned the COVID word, but it’s having a big impact on hiring - it’s not just you).

Prospective candidates aren’t ready to move yet. The thing is, when they do begin their search, you need to ensure you’re carrying out the basics to make sure that when they are, they’ll take a look at you.

As the need to build more homes ramps up and with the decarbonisation agenda around the corner, the sector will continue to grow.

That means you need to understand how to present your brand but… and here’s the clincher, work out how to secure the time you need to plan it effectively.

The fact is, there are already some great examples of housing associations thinking about their brand and how to market it.

Take Newport City Homes, which shares great content on how to build a career in the sector. Then there’s Cadwyn’s Director of Housing, Catrin, who writes about her passion for her role, and how employees live and breathe the sector.

These are just a few examples of recruitment marketing at play!

How’d you know you’ve got a problem with your employer brand?

You’ve got CVs coming in - but the rate they come in is sporadic, and for certain role types it’s proving tricky to plan.

In interviews, when talking with candidates you find it hard to demonstrate how your organisation lives and breathes the values you have on your careers site (even though you don’t want to admit it..)

You may already be doing some employer branding activity - but is it effective?

If there’s a misalignment with the type of applications that are coming through, then there may be opportunities to build on what you’re doing.

It’s something we’ve seen, working as a housing recruitment agency and partner to a number of organisations. If you’re new to this concept, by the way, check out why employer branding matters in the recruitment process.

Here’s a quick checklist to get those ideas flowing:

Your audience

  • Ask people externally, what kind of reputation does your employer brand?
  • Is all your process accessible?
  • What's the quality of incoming applications like? (Direct applications)

Your candidate experience

  • Do you have a consistent tone of voice and messaging?
  • Who posts your recruitment messages? Is it you or marketing?
  • Does the experience reflect that you deliver to a tenant or customer?

Reviewing the recruitment process

  • Does the tone of voice need changing on the job ads or job descriptions?
  • Do KPIs need to be put in place to ensure each candidate is contacted in a timely manner?
  • Do you need to change the formatting of some of the interviews, or who is involved?

What tools/formats are you currently using to support your message?

  • Market and competitor research
  • Internal workshops and training, and internal communication
  • Candidate information packs
  • Employee photography and videos
What can employer branding do for you

Free Workshops for More Employer Branding Ideas for the Housing Sector

If the need to rethink your employer brand is here, you may want to explore our 3-part webinar series created just for you.

We are running a 3-part webinar series with 'Employer Branding Made Easy' to help social housing providers and charities make the most of their employer brand across November and December.

Watch the full series here:

What can employer branding do for you? (Watch the recording here).

How to develop your employer brand (Watch the recording here).

Taking your employer brand to market (Watch the recording here).