Why employer branding matters (and how McDonald's is leading the way)

Published April 23, 2021, 10:06 a.m. by Olle Lindholm

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Olle Lindholm interviews Shelley Hoppe, agency director of Spoon London, about building a credible employer brand and attracting the right talent for your company.

Last year, we interviewed the Swedish employer branding expert Anna Dyhre on the importance of investing in your employer brandA strong employer brand benefits both the business and its employees – everybody wins. In light of this, we thought we’d catch up with Spoon London’s Shelley Hoppe to find out her very best tips and tricks.

What exactly is employer branding and why does it matter?
The challenge of finding the right employees is similar to finding the right customers. In both cases you have to communicate your brand values, personality and expertise to show why you’re worthy of their time and attention.

Today’s candidate is knowledgeable, savvy and looking for the right opportunity in an environment that supports their personal goals and ambitions. Employer branding is thus a powerful way for companies to demonstrate what they can offer employees. Content obviously plays an essential role in building a credible employer brand.

The right careers content can highlight your company culture, leverage employee engagement and create a positive impression among both active and passive candidates.

How should people share their employer brand with the world?
At Spoon, we share our employer brand through our website, our social media channels and (unsurprisingly) through our people. Employees who are also brand ambassadors are the best way to show that you truly are a great place to work – who’s more believable than your current employees?

Furthermore, your consumer and employer brand need to be aligned. Today’s consumers want to know where they buy their products and services from. A strong employer brand has a positive impact on the consumer brand as a whole, and will likely lead to more sales.

What can you do to monitor and evaluate your employer brand?
Monitor website traffic to your careers pages and engagement with your careers messages on your social media channels. There are also detailed, targeted employer brand research reports you can buy from Universum, for example, and research companies like Ipsos Mori to see how you’re perceived alongside other competitors in your industry.

All of these supply valuable insights, but don’t underestimate the value of asking your existing staff why they love working for you, plus you can and should also ask your successful and unsuccessful candidates for feedback on the experience of interacting with your recruitment process.

What are some of the most common mistakes when it comes to employer branding?
In my opinion, the worst thing you can do is try to pretend you’re something you’re not. For example, if you offer a structured, target-driven environment, don’t pretend you’re a fun and creative place to work. You’ll attract the wrong people and you won’t be able to retain them.

Striving to increase the number of applicants you get in isn’t the answer to all your recruitment problems, either. More is not better – focus on quality and not quantity! It’s much better to have fewer applicants, but ones with the right skills who would thrive in your work environment.

Can you share a great example of brilliant employer branding?
While I’m not much of a fast food eater, I really admire McDonald’s as an employer brand – they do an absolutely brilliant job of clearly communicating what a career with them means and why it’s a great opportunity for the right people. They’re honest, the messages are completely appropriate for the target audience and I think you really get a sense of who they are.

It’s becoming more important for companies to build strong and credible employer brands. Part of the reason is that internal and external communications are merging. Your employees are your greatest business asset, and smart brands are thinking hard about how best to use them.

Put your employer branding into practice
With candidates wielding significant power in the job market, finding the right talent can be a challenge for employers. But did you know that a creative employer brand strategy can have a huge impact on how candidates view your business?

Free employer branding guide