Building an employer brand strategy fit for 2022 — Talent Works International
This time last year, we wrote a piece about creating an EVP fit for 2021. Then, the world was changing rapidly, and therefore, so were the expectations of workers across all industries. A year later, the talent market has shifted once again, tech talent is in huge demand, and employer branding is becoming a priority for many employers.
Your EVP forms the basis of your employer brand; it’s the values and missions that you all work towards and outlines what candidates can expect from you as an employer. Your employer brand is how people within your organisation and outside of it see you as an employer. The only thing you can control about your employer brand is the strategy in which you communicate your company culture, mission and values.
However, in a market where employer branding will be even more crucial in the race for tech talent, it’s more vital than ever that scaling tech businesses get these strategies right in 2022. While large corporations have large recruitment marketing budgets and the capacity to hire at scale, every company has a culture and brand which should be celebrated. How you communicate these unique aspects will set you apart in 2022. Remember, not everyone is the same, and different aspects of work will appeal to different candidates, but all of these individuals are becoming much more aware of what they want. In a market where the candidates hold the cards, employer brand communications couldn’t be more critical.
Here are our tips for promoting your employer brand in 2022
Say goodbye to gimmicks
Over the last two years, gimmicks in the workplace have fallen by the wayside. Things like unlimited holidays or a slide in the office aren’t going to cut it with a generation that has been through a global pandemic. Candidates and employees have become a lot savvier and more focused on what they want from an employer; they’ll be less easily distracted by workplaces trying to position themselves as “fun”. Quirky employer brands will only go so far. Look at Brewdog in the last year. It’s now time to think about what you can genuinely offer your team and how you can help them. If you wish to convince top tech talent to join you, then it’s time to dig deep into who you are as an employer and be authentic in your communications. Your company culture needs to match the image you put out into the world, and in 2022, you need to be authentically you.
Show how you’ve adapted
The last two years have thrown a lot of curveballs our way. Businesses have had to adapt to change quickly in ways no one could have expected. This is the sort of thing potential candidates want to know. If you can show how you’ve weathered the storm of a global pandemic and come out on top, it positions you as a reliable employer to begin a career with. If you’ve managed to hold onto your team throughout years of layoffs and resignations, shout about it, as this shows you’re a people-orientated business. Employees in all industries are worried that we could face this level of uncertainty again. As a generation, our confidence is knocked. Therefore, if you can talk about the ways you’ve adapted and survived the pandemic, it should be reassuring to candidates, as long as you aren’t bragging and tearing down the competition as you go.
Know who you are and own it
In 2022, employer brands will have to get more specific if you wish to attract the right kind of talent rather than just those who are available. With competition for tech talent higher than ever, companies of all sizes are pulling out all of the stops to attract skilled candidates, making it much harder for smaller organisations to stand out. However, we’re also seeing many hires fail because businesses are so desperate to bring in skills that they aren’t considering aspects like cultural fit or candidate expectations when they hire. Therefore, your employer brand needs to combine the two to get ahead.
Amplify your employer branding efforts and dedicate more time to becoming an employer of choice, but also make sure you’re only reaching the right kind of candidate. Not everyone wants to work at Google and Amazon, and this can be used to your advantage. Look at your company culture, consider the kind of employer you are and want to be, then own the image. If you’re the sort of business that throws teams into the deep end, wearing many hats but allows them to build a great experience, shout about it. As for some candidates, this will be a dream scenario. The same applies if you believe in providing great training opportunities and nurturing candidates to grow with you and become future leaders. Again, for some candidates, this will be precisely what they’re looking for.
2022 will be the year of knowing who you are as an employer and promoting those specific qualities that make you unique. The time for broad employer brand messaging is over if you wish to attract the best quality hires. Remember, quality over quantity.
Personalise the employee experience
The last two years have made employees in all industries realise that there is more to life than work, but employers also realised that teams might have more going on than their 9 to 5. Therefore, to support your employer branding efforts, your EVP and employee experience needs to treat your teams as people. It’s time to understand that everyone is different and has different circumstances. Life often throws us into unprecedented situations. We’re not saying to be a hand holding employer if that’s not suited to your industry and company culture, but we are saying that treat your people with respect. Ways to do this are pretty simple. For example, benefits should feel as though they’re helping your teams and not there for the sake of it, development should be incredibly personal and tailored to your teams’ ambitions, and there should be empathy surrounding paid leave.
In 2022, after everything we’ve been through, employees don’t want to feel another cog in the machine. So, therefore, in a way that’s authentic to your employer brand, if you wish to improve your perceptions as an employer, you won’t make them feel like one.
Realise what’s important to candidates and employees
What’s important to candidates and employees in 2022 won’t be the same as pre-pandemic or even halfway through. For example, diversity and inclusion became a priority after the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, just like sustainability is becoming more critical after COP26. Similarly, at the beginning of the pandemic, remote work and flexibility seemed to be at the forefront of candidates minds when thinking about the return to work. A year later, and many are missing the social aspects and collaborative nature of being back in the office.
To make your employer brand stand out in 2022, you need to get to the bottom of what is essential to the people you’re trying to attract and retain. Don’t be afraid to talk to your teams and ask for honest opinions, as this is the only way you can adapt your EVP to meet current priorities. Using market research methods can help you understand the preferences of tech candidates but so can being switched on and looking at talking points around you.
Also, remember that millennials and Gen Z are now making up more of the workforce, and these younger generations will have different priorities. Chances are, if you ramp up your talent acquisition, these are the candidates you’ll be speaking to as older generations are more settled or even considering retiring. Therefore, you need to know what’s important to them and tailor your employer brand messaging to incorporate this. Again, market research and speaking with focus groups could really help.
Prepare for change
If there’s one thing the last two years have taught us, change comes around quickly, and the agile businesses will come out on top. One event can change the expectations of candidates and employees forever, and it can leave you looking dated and behind the times as an employer. Pre-pandemic, very few of us were working remotely, and employers were still trying to win over candidates with quirky perks, plus the candidates had significantly less power than they do today. The recruitment market can change rapidly, and to remain appealing to top talent, your employer brand has to be prepared for this change.
Your employer brand should never be static. You should constantly improve how you communicate it and establish what makes you unique. As your business grows and evolves, so should the qualities that make you special. Plus, as your employees grow with the company, you’ll have more stories to tell. By having an employer brand strategy that is constantly evolving and improving, you’ll quickly adapt to any future changes. Don’t let your employer brand be static and stuck in 2021 (or even further in the past). Be fluid with your communications and the idea of who you are as an employer. Then if something new becomes of critical importance to candidates, you’ll be able to adapt quickly and remain a relevant and exciting proposition.