Employer branding is a hot topic these days, and with good reason: As the foundation for your recruitment marketing efforts, it’s one of most impactful investments a talent acquisition team can make.
Organizations spend a lot of time tracking recruitment “funnel” and conversion metrics, which of course, is crucial. But focusing on conversion metrics alone is a bit like plugging “leaks” in your funnel without ever stopping to ask how big the funnel (e.g., your employer brand) is in the first place. With the benefit of higher awareness levels, it’s relatively easy for more established organizations to find and survey target talent for their attitudes and perceptions.
But say you’re not a Fortune 1000 company – perhaps you’re a recently-funded startup with 100 current employees and aggressive hiring growth plans. Is it still worth tracking your employer brand? And when is it too soon to start?
The short answer is “it’s never too soon.” Here are four key points we emphasize to startup clients to help them get started with employer brand health tracking.
1. Start With Your Current Employees
Ultimately we think it’s important to survey both internal (employees) and external (target talent) audiences when tracking your employer brand, but for startups (and other brands with low-awareness), it often makes sense to start with your employees. Not only are they easier to find and survey, but as the core group who was there “from the beginning” they arguably know your employer brand best. Why do they work for you? What do they see in your employer brand that the rest of the talent universe should know?
2. Consider Establishing an External Baseline Early
While it may be hard at first to find talent who are familiar enough with your employer brand to share their perceptions, many startup clients find value in establishing baseline measures of their brand’s awareness, consideration and affinity so when they do begin investing heavily in recruitment advertising, they have a solid basis upon which to measure ROI. If you begin measuring AFTER you begin spending, it can be hard to know whether you moved the needle. Depending on where you started, 15% awareness among your target talent could either look like a disappointment or a huge uptick from where you started.
4. Competitive Insights Are Especially Valuable Early On
Startups often compete directly with some of their industries’ biggest brands to attract the best talent, and often are at severe spending disadvantage. External brand tracking surveys can be an opportunity not only to establish a clear baseline against which to evaluate your recruitment advertising ROI, but they can also provide valuable insights into the competitive landscape. What does your target talent think of your competitors? What are their strongest brand perceptions? What weaknesses do they have that you may be able to leverage to your advantage?
4. Survey Add-ons Can Extend the Value of Employer Brand Trackers
Although the primary purpose of employer brand tracking surveys is to understand your brand’s awareness, consideration, perceptions, and affinity, there is typically “space” in these surveys to add additional lines of questions. Examples include:
Video open ends: See and hear what employees (and talent) think of your brand via candid, 30-60 second video recordings that pop-up in survey as a substitute for typing. With employee permission, these videos can make great testimonials to use as collateral when recruiting.
Creative testing: Want an early read on how your creative messaging is resonating? We often ask target talent to read/watch a short sample ad to help talent acquisition teams hone and refine their messages before their recruitment spend ramps up in earnest.
Employee Polling: In internal trackers, asking employees to weigh in on company initiatives (like community outreach programs), or vote on what foods they’d like to see in the breakroom can be a simple way to add value for the organization while making employees feel heard.
Want to learn more about how to begin an employer brand health tracking program for your organization? Contact us.