Thanks to the internet and social media, it is now easier than ever before to discover the truth about an employer, whether it’s through LinkedIn, Glassdoor, or – if nefarious enough – news articles. Online research is now considered normal practice at any stage of the job search and application process, just as it is for items you might buy, or restaurants you fancy trying.
The chances are that you, too, look at reviews online before deciding which product to buy. You’re almost certainly familiar with sites such as TripAdvisor for reading comments other customers have posted about hotels and restaurants you’re considering trying. It follows that the same approach can be taken to find out what it’s really like to work for a particular employer.
Data published by LinkedIn suggests that three-quarters of jobseekers consider the employer brand before applying for a position, with more than half visiting the company website and social media pages to find out more information. But when they do this, most are looking to find out what real people (other employees) have to say, rather than the PR-honed corporate line.
With this in mind, companies can learn a lot from the art of authenticity. In this blog, we’ll outline what this means for your employer branding, how to implement it, and why authenticity is a crucial factor in your recruitment scheme.
What is authenticity, and why does it matter?
Authenticity is widely defined as the quality of being real or true. But what does this mean in the sense of the corporate world? In business, authenticity means owning up to your values, staying true to who you are, what you do, and who you serve. It means consistent communication across these four points.
Why? Because impressions count. Whether consciously or not, customers, candidates and employees all form an opinion of companies based upon their reputation, their experience of dealing with the business and its general employment offer. In other words, every organisation has an employer brand. Prospective employees won’t buy into what they don’t like, believe or trust. After all, accepting a job offer is a big decision in which many personal factors are at play.
The challenge for any company seeking to attract and retain the best talent for its organisation is to ensure that its employer brand is positive. It’s about far more than just the employment offer. Authenticity is essential.
How to implement authentic employer branding
Most people have a pretty good filter these days and can spot fakery a mile off. To ensure authenticity, there are a few steps employers should take.
1. Be truthful
If companies try to paint a false picture as to what they are like to work for, the likelihood is that talent will be disappointed once they start and won’t hang around for long. The burden of having to re-recruit, in addition to the potential negative impact on reputation from disgruntled employees should be more than enough reason for employers to speak the truth and avoid airbrushing. It’s essential that employer branding is an honest reflection of the company and the way it works.
2. Involve current employees
Even with the best of intentions to ‘tell it as it is’, forgetting to involve current employees in the development of an employer brand is a big mistake. Remember, they are the real ambassadors for the company and will undoubtedly have a good view as to what’s authentic and what’s not.
3. Use employee-generated content
Potential candidates want to hear from existing employees so giving them a voice not only gives talent the information they want, but it also serves to demonstrate that existing staff and their opinions are valued. Employees who feel valued are more likely to share positive experiences and that has far greater benefits than any corporate-generated material.
4. Social media
Not embracing the machine that is social media is a mistake for any organisation seeking to maintain authenticity within its brand. Firms which are too controlling about social media run the risk of appearing behind-the-times. The closer to ‘real-life’ social media output can be, the better and more believable it is. Allowing employees to generate their own content can be a great way of showing candidates what it’s like to work for the business and help them decide whether they want to join you or not.
Authenticity is the key to attracting – and securing – great talent
By showing what the company is really like to work for, you’re demonstrating authenticity. An unrealistic, rose-tinted view will only lead to disappointment on both sides. Having the confidence to showcase the reality will help potential hires to decide if they want to join you or not. Authenticity – hand-in-hand with transparency – will help bring you talent that fits your company culture, satisfying the needs of both sides of a recruitment drive. Otherwise, you risk a lengthy and costly recruitment process as either your company or a candidate decide you’re not a great fit.
When it comes to employer branding, honesty is always the best policy.
Looking to adapt your brand positioning to secure the best talent for you? Book a consultation with ScaleX Consulting today and we’ll help you in your mission to becoming more transparent and authentic.