Q&A: Employer Branding for Recruitment with Nischal Hebbar

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This week we’re in conversation with Nischal Hebbar, Talent Specialist, Jar. We talk about the Importance of Employer Branding for Recruitment.

The interview is edited for length and clarity.

Q- How does Employer Branding impact a candidate's decision-making process when evaluating job opportunities, and what influence does it have on their perception of the company and its values? Please provide a detailed explanation.

In today's digital age where people are constantly on their phones and various online platforms, employer branding plays a crucial role in attracting and retaining top talent. While monetary compensation is undoubtedly an important factor, candidates now consider other aspects when evaluating job opportunities.

One of the initial steps is establishing a strong online presence across social media platforms, including LinkedIn and Instagram. Companies often share updates, photos, and stories that highlight their work environment, employee achievements, and company events. This allows potential candidates to gain insights into the company's activities and values.

In addition to social media, candidates also rely on external platforms like Glassdoor and Ambition Box to gather information and review companies. These platforms provide a glimpse into the experiences of current and former employees, giving candidates a better understanding of a company's work environment, management style, and overall reputation.

Employer branding effectively communicates a company's values, mission, and support systems to captivate candidates. It showcases commitment to employee development, work-life balance, diversity, and other important factors. This branding attracts individuals aligned with the company's values, seeking more than just money. It shapes candidates' perception of the company, helping them assess fit with their goals and values. A strong employer brand differentiates from competitors, attracts top talent, and increases the likelihood of candidates joining.

Q- How does branding contribute to the employer value proposition, and what role does the employer value proposition play in attracting and retaining top talent in the current highly competitive market?

The first step in building an employer brand is to establish an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) that aligns with the company's values and goals. This EVP can be centred around various aspects such as meritocracy, inclusivity, diversity, or work-life balance. Once defined, it is crucial to consistently communicate and showcase the EVP through content creation and social media presence.

To effectively build a strong employer brand, it is important to have a focused direction rather than randomly posting content. The content should revolve around the defined EVP. For example, if the EVP is centred around being a merit-based organization, content highlighting the importance of skills over degrees could be shared. Such content resonates with the desired culture and ethos of the company and also attracts like-minded candidates.

When it comes to social media platforms, the choice depends on the target audience and content type. LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube are popular platforms for employer branding. LinkedIn is great for professional networking and sharing updates, while Instagram and YouTube offer opportunities to showcase company culture, events, and employee stories.

Aligning content with the EVP and overall company culture is crucial. It allows prospective candidates to understand the organization's values and assess if they align with their own goals. This clarity enables candidates to make informed decisions during the job application process and enhances the overall effectiveness of employer branding efforts.

Q- What specific strategies have you found to be effective in building a strong employer brand and what social media platforms are you considering when you're doing it?

The appearance and usability of a company's website play a significant role in candidate perception and may affect their decision to apply. Transparency and visual appeal are important factors.

When it comes to strategizing, setting up a calendar is a common practice.

Collaboration between the branding and HR teams helps determine the type of content, timing, and platform selection. The marketing team provides insights on the best posting times and formats.

Aligning the content with the EVP is crucial to maintain consistency and ensure it reflects the company's values and goals. Regular discussions and evaluations help make informed decisions on the content and its alignment with the employer brand.

Q- How does employer branding relate to employee advocacy, and what strategies can be used to encourage and motivate employees to become brand ambassadors, attracting talent through positive word of mouth and representation of the company?

Employee advocacy is crucial for authentic and effective employer branding. While company posts can sometimes appear staged, employee advocacy brings credibility and reliability. When employees voluntarily share their experiences and perspectives, it shows that they genuinely believe in the company and its values. This fosters a culture where employees are not just focused on work but also feel supported in their personal growth.

Investing in employees' personal branding and learning contributes to their motivation and loyalty. Recognizing that not everyone will stay with the company long-term, it is essential to invest in their development while they are part of the team. Encouraging employees to share their experiences and accomplishments demonstrates their inclusion in the company's journey and promotes a sense of ownership. Their genuine advocacy on social media and other platforms adds authenticity and realism to the employer brand.

Q- How do you measure the return on investment on all the efforts that you're making? Are there any specific metrics or indicators that you track or that you recommend tracking for somebody who's setting this up?

LinkedIn Insights provides valuable data for measuring the impact of employer branding efforts. It helps track metrics such as impressions, website traffic, and the number of profiles coming through LinkedIn. By comparing the data before and after implementing branding activities, you can assess the traction and gauge the effectiveness of the initiatives.

Additionally, integrating your branding across different platforms allows you to track the distribution of profiles in your applicant tracking system (ATS). This helps identify the source of profiles, whether they come directly or through platforms like LinkedIn or Instagram. By analyzing the distribution of profiles before and after branding, you can evaluate the success of your branding efforts in attracting candidates from different sources.

Q- Does your employer branding solely impact recruitment or does it extend its influence to other areas like engagement, performance, retention, and more?

Ensuring employee engagement and maintaining a positive work environment is crucial beyond recruitment. It impacts the entire employee lifecycle, including retention and morale. The employer branding efforts should align with the actual employee experience to avoid discrepancies between the portrayed image and reality.

Recognizing employees' achievements and showcasing their contributions through various channels, such as social media, fosters a sense of pride and motivation. Ultimately, when employees feel included and valued as brand ambassadors, they become more invested in the company's success, further strengthening the employer brand.

Q- What role does leadership play in building and promoting the employer brand? How can leaders effectively embody the company's brand values and inspire employees to do the advocacy on their own?

For startups, It is essential to highlight not only the founders but also the leadership team. While founders often receive more attention, the leaders drive the company's operations and play a significant role in shaping its culture. It is important for leaders to actively participate in promoting the company's brand and values. The company should support the leaders by providing opportunities for growth, such as programs, systems, and recognition. When leaders are engaged and proactive, they positively influence the team, creating a culture where everyone feels included and motivated. Empowering leaders is a crucial aspect of building a successful employer brand. It requires a cross-functional effort involving HR, marketing, and other relevant teams to ensure a comprehensive and inclusive approach.

Do you work in HR? Email janhavi.jain@springworks.in and Let’a Talk!