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What Does Your Employer Brand Look Like?

What Does Your Employer Brand Look Like?

By Bridget McCrea

Fill the talent gap by shoring up your employer brand before you kick off a recruiting campaign.

Finding skilled labor in today’s job market has become a real problem for companies that need to add more and/or replace existing employees. Just as the huge baby-boomer generation heads into retirement, the younger generation is shying away from trade/construction jobs in favor of those that are focused on jobs in creative fields, technology, and finance. To make matters more challenging for distributors, 21 percent of millennial workers left their job in the last year to do something else—a number that is more than three times higher than that of non-millennials who report doing the same.

Combined, these factors are making it more difficult for electrical distributors that need to find and retain workers in a business climate where skilled workers usually have multiple job offers to select from. Ignoring the issue isn’t an option, according to 5 Tips to Bridge the Talent Gap.

“This talent gap, according to 48 percent of the U. S. respondents, has a moderate-to-high negative affect on business,” writes Diane Faulkner. “Forty-one percent of respondents report reduced competitiveness and productivity, and 32 percent report turnover increases, higher compensation costs, and reduced employee engagement/morale.”

Irrespective of those numbers, Faulkner says 18 percent of U.S. employers still have no strategy in place to fill the gaps. The good news is that electrical distributors can buck this trend by putting some time and effort into developing employer brands. Defined by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) as “an important part of the employee value proposition and essentially what the organization communicates as its identity to both potential and current employees.”

An employer brand encompasses an organization’s mission, values, culture, and personality. A positive employer brand, for example, communicates that the organization is a good employer and a great place to work. Employer brand affects recruitment of new employees, retention, and engagement of current employees, and the overall perception of the organization in the market.

What’s in it for me?
Both candidates and employees alike want to know “what’s in it for me?” Specifically, prospective and current employees seek to know the benefit of working at one company over others, according to SHRM. At the same time, availability of talent is shifting with the baby-boom generation retiring, some older workers choosing to work longer, and the incoming millennial generation bringing challenging expectations. “In view of these changes, an effective brand is a vital tool for staffing management,” SHRM states in The Employer Brand: A Strategic Tool to Attract, Recruit and Retain Talent.

Allison Olden, NAED’s talent & retention specialist, says electrical distributors that want to do a better job of finding, recruiting, and retaining talent should look beyond their age-old human resource tactics. In other words, the days when you could put an ad or two online and hope to “catch” a good candidate who winds up working for your company for 10+ years are long gone.

“The competition for good talent is extremely high right now, and from what we’re hearing out in the marketplace it’s only going to get worse,” says Olden. “Now is the time to start shoring up your employer brand and looking for ways that you can become the ‘employer of choice’ in your industry or in your market.”

9 Ways to Kick Off Your Employer Branding Strategy
Creating an effective employer branding strategy doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming, but it does require a grassroots effort that involves owners, leaders, managers, and employees alike. To develop an employer branding strategy, SHRM says organizations should:

  1. Know the organization’s business, vision, mission, values, and culture.
  2. Understand the organization’s business objectives and what talent is needed to accomplish those objectives.
  3. Define the company’s unique attributes.
  4. Conduct internal research to understand how the organization is perceived by its current employees, as well as by its target candidate group, and what these employees or potential employees want from the organization.
  5. Identify top talent, and ask what those employees like about working for the company.
  6. Determine the attributes of these star employees that the organization would want to attract.
  7. Define an employee value proposition that clearly communicates the value of the brand the organization is developing.
  8. Align the employer brand with the overall company brand.
  9. Work with the marketing and communications groups to ensure a holistic branding approach. (Read SHRM’s complete list of recommendations for creating an effective employer brand online here.)

Olden says distributors should pay particularly close attention to their employer brands as we move into 2017 and as the race to find good talent gets even more competitive. “This type of branding is extremely important because it’s the only way you’re going to get noticed,” she points out. “In order to create that competitive edge, you need to be seen in a positive light by the people who want to come work for you.”



Don’t Ignore Sites like Glassdoor

In her role as NAED’s talent & retention specialist, Allison Olden fields a lot of questions about the best ways to find, recruit, and retain good employees. One question that comes up a lot these days involves employee review sites like Glassdoor, an online portal for job seekers and employers.

According to Glassdoor’s website, the company’s growing database includes millions of company reviews, CEO approval ratings, salary reports, interview reviews and questions, benefits reviews, office photos, and more. Unlike other jobs sites, this information is shared by those who know a company best:  its employees.

The latter point poses a challenge for firms that are left to the mercy of their existing, past, and even irate/upset ex-employees—all of whom are often more than willing to share their good, bad, and ugly reviews about their employers. Scan through the listings in your region and you’ll likely see comments like, “Decent pay at lower positions. Don’t go looking for a career,” “Nice place to work,” and “Poor management, antiquated operating systems, poor advancement prospects, profit sharing not distributed fairly among all staff.”

As part of their employer branding efforts, Holden says electrical distributors should familiarize themselves with Glassdoor and use it to keep tabs on what individual posts are sharing about their current and past employers. Individuals who contribute to the site not only write reviews, but they also can post salary levels, a star rating of 1-5, and information about employee benefits. Most also list out the pros and cons of working for the establishment and a piece of “advice to management.”

Millennials are particularly apt to turn to a site like Glassdoor to find out about a potential employer. “A lot of distributors want to know if they should put money and time into Glassdoor, and if it will help them leverage the right people,” says Olden. “Bottom line, sites like this can be very important to your brand, particularly when it comes to reading through the reviews and responding accordingly to the negative ones.”

Read more tips from The Olson Group on how to leverage Glassdoor to your advantage in 5 Ways Glassdoor Can Help Your Business.


McCrea is a Florida-based writer who covers business, industrial, and educational topics for a variety of magazines and journals. You can reach her at bridgetmc@earthlink.net or visit her website at www.expertghostwriter.net.


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