For a purpose-led business, branding is everything; it reflects how your candidates and your employees see you. Here are our top tips on how to use employer branding in the recruitment process.

In the wake of the pandemic, first-class recruitment is more influential than ever. And as we step into a new era of working styles, now is the time to take a moment to really look at, reflect and realign our recruitment processes to ensure we are attracting quality talent and the right personalities.

Why does employer branding matter in the recruitment process? Strategic and visibly placed employer branding will reveal your values, show personality, establish a reputation and pull in the appropriate talent for your company culture.

For growing businesses, company culture and employer branding are often the deciding factors when competing against the private sector. Here we share the reasons why employer branding can help you stand out from the crowd and how to use it to your advantage.

What is employer branding?

In a nutshell, employer branding is your company reputation - it’s that je ne sais quoi that will attract and retain your staff. This unparalleled reputation is what you will use to stand out from the competition, and it can work both in and out of your favour.

Your employer brand is responsible for giving potential employees a taste of your organisation. It shows them what you stand for, what you believe in and what environment you strive to cultivate. It can be expressed through:

  • An attractive recruitment site
  • Up to date social media
  • Employee testimonials
  • Employee success stories
  • Creating and promoting enticing job advertisements
  • Appearing at career events and fairs

Since over 59% of employers say that employer branding is one of the core components of their overall HR strategy, it stands to reason that it’s worth paying attention to.

As if that wasn’t enough to convince you, 84% of job seekers admit that the reputation of a company as an employer is important to them when searching for a job. Ask yourself - are you portraying yourself in the very best light?

How can employer branding help you improve top talent recruitment?

It can show your company values.

Branding and values are two words that go hand in hand, and when you’re looking at your employer branding it really is the ideal opportunity to establish your values and share them on a wide stage.

Recruitment plays a key role in nurturing culture, and culture is often defined by our inherent values. What values matter to you and, as a result, what culture do you want to create? For example, inclusivity is a value which 83% of millennials are actively engaged in - consider whether this is something reflected effectively in your employer branding.

It shows personality.

You know the saying - people buy people. Your employer branding is an unmissable chance for you to show the human behind the business and connect with potential candidates on a deeper level. This is something private sector organisations can rarely do (to the same extent) and is, therefore, an opportunity to grab hold of with both hands.

It boosts reputation.

People are becoming savvier and savvier when it comes to accepting jobs - it is no longer purely about them selling themselves to the company...it also works the other way around.

Many will research an organisation extensively online before even applying for a role, and 9 out of 10 candidates said that they would only apply for a job when it was from an employer brand that was actively maintained. They need to see that you're the real deal; a company that they want to be a part of, with epic credentials and a strong, consistent image.

Attracts the right kind of people.

Perhaps more important than pulling the candidates towards your company in the first place is the ability to ensure they are the right kind of candidates. A powerful employer brand will help you make this a reality.

The reason being is that a well structured, considered employer brand will put you in a prime position to speak to the highest quality applicants. And the proof is in the pudding. 80% of talent acquisition managers believe that employer branding has a significant impact on their ability to hire the right standard of talent.

So, if it isn’t on your radar… What are you waiting for?!

It retains talent.

Last but not least, an employer brand doesn’t just attract new employees; it retains your current ones, too.

An appreciated and much-loved employer brand will also work to connect with your existing members of staff. They’ll feel proud to be a part of such a recognisable, strong brand and will want to stick around to remain a core cog in the machine.

We’ve already mentioned company work culture, something that is enormously important for the modern job seeker. It’s vital that you portray your culture in a realistic way so that employees know what they have actually signed up for. Otherwise, they may feel misled and disheartened, and less inclined to stay loyal to your company for the long haul.

Keep them sweet - and keep it honest, always.

What are the advantages for housing associations when it comes to their own branding?

Social housing is arguably one of the original spaces with social impact at its core. Thanks to this - and so much more - it’s a career path with genuine longevity and abundant benefits, for example:

  • An average of 31 days of annual leave + bank holidays. Amazing, right?
  • More flexible working options and a better work-life balance.
  • Access to training, qualifications and other personal development opportunities, with over £3.6 million spent on professional development.
  • An employer pension contribution of 5.25% (many are still offering the lucrative Local Government Pension Scheme). Thanks to local government pension schemes, some organisations can contribute up to 18%! See, told you it was good.
  • Full agile and remote working options (allowing you to cut out the costs and time associated with the dreaded commute).
  • Funding for qualifications and chartered certifications.
  • Clear career development routes.

Now, ask yourself: are these benefits - and the unique personality of your organisation - captured in your employer branding?

The thing about the social housing sector is that it largely has free rein when it comes to marketing and branding. As with all companies, there will be limits, but unlike their private-sector competitors, the freedom to express themselves is pretty chunky. That means you can actually ENJOY getting your creative hats on and pinpointing the opportune ways to showcase your company, its culture and who you want to welcome into your organisation.

How can housing associations show more of their personality through their branding?

Housing associations can - and should - reveal their personality through their branding. When it’s done well, the effect is sensational.

In an article for Inside Housing about the importance of branding for the housing industry, Mark Sebba (Chair of Hyde Group) said:

“So if (these) are to be our brand values for our different audiences, our job now is to spread the message.

Residents need to understand what we are going to do for them and what we are not. Politicians need to know we are serious in our intent to build more homes. Housebuilders, local authorities, investors and peers need to know what we stand for in order to form successful partnerships. But most of all we must encourage and foster an engaged, motivated and enthused team.

In practical terms, the Hyde brand must encapsulate our vision, our mission and our social purpose.”

And this makes sense, doesn’t it? Because branding isn’t just about looking pretty - it’s about achieving a very important business goal.

Two housing associations that we believe do this very well are Newport City Homes and Monmouthshire Housing. Newport City Homes has a big focus on their client experience and provides packs and mini blogs to help their tenants, while Monmouthshire Housing is abundantly clear on (and proud of!) their brand vision and focus.

These are just two small examples of housing associations prioritising their branding. There are also countless charities making waves with their approach to branding, including Shelter Cymru and Sinfonia Cymru - both have a strong purpose behind their business which they capture flawlessly through their entire brand marketing and strategy.

Ultimately, your brand should “form the basis on which local authorities, housebuilders, investors and peers will want to partner with (you).” Get it right, and the client will come pouring in.

Looking for a recruitment agency that understands and reflects your brand?

Get in touch for a free chat. We’d love to discuss the ways in which we represent the employer brands of the brilliant clients we work with (and how you could benefit from this).