Yesterday I held a talk at Bonnier Digital Forum on smart employer branding in a digital world. As many companies, Bonnier is undergoing a digital transformation and their ability to attract and retain new talent is crucial. After a brief introduction to the basics of employer branding I shared these six insights on what you need to embrace in today’s quest for talent. Especially if you are hunting for digital talent.
Insight 1: It’s a very different talent market
How the talent market is shifting is impacting what and how you can and should communicate. Here are four important trends to understand.
- Startups are winning: For the first time ever startups are becoming a real recruitment competitor to big and historically very attractive employers. Startups offer something else, something that resonates with what people want today. Startups are also very good at communicating emotional benefits (more on that on insight 3). Bottom line is they pitch you a different deal and everyone else needs to take notice.
- Gigonomics: The best talent is increasingly choosing a freelance or entrepreneur working life where they can go from project to project. Starting your own company has never been easier or cheaper. The best talent typically also have great bargaining powers, so if they want to be freelancers that is what they will be.
- New generation: With millennials being the biggest working generation Generation Z soon to enter, work has moved form survival to identity. Now most talents ask themselves “How can the employer be my most important resource” (rather than the opposite).
- Candidates market: As if this wasn’t enough, research show that almost 90% of recruiters agree its a candidates market. If you accept and respect that, changes are you will communicate differently.
Insight 2: Job seekers are digitally savvy consumers
Here is the simplest rule of digital employer branding:
Treat job seekers as constantly connected, mobile, digitally savvy, mature and demanding digital consumers.
How do we respect new digital expectations? The ones that are formed by the heavy usage of modern smart digital mobile products and services. Offering a great mobile experience is a necessary starting point. Still we found at Comprend that in end 2014 some 75% of European corporate websites were not mobile friendly. Although 75% of job seekers use their mobile device to look for job and career information (Glassdoor study). If you are on a quest for digital talent, this needs to be reflected in your mobile job seeker experience.
Insight 3: The Employer Value Proposition is changing
One of the most important questions to adress in employer branding is:
Why should I want to work here?
With the evolution of a new work life and talent market, employers need to start giving new answers to this question. These should be ingrained in the Employer Value Proposition (EVP), which is essentially the package of benefits (functional, emotional, self-expressive) that accounts for why a candidates should chose one employer instead of another. As more creative digital talent choose employers based on values, purpose, meaning and identity employers need to move up the EVP hierarchy, away from functional benefits to emotional (what does it feel) and self-expressive (what does it say about you in the eyes of others) ones.
Insight 4: Content revolution shifts storytelling to image
The shift in content consumption from text to image and video impacts employer branding a great deal. With most of us scanning websites for headlines rather than consuming detailed information, smart employer branders go heavy on images and short snappy copy. It’s about conveying the message and feeling very quickly. This drives a content revolution that most marketers have seen in other fields of communication but is still lagging behind in employer branding.
Insight 5: Employees are the new (digital) spokes persons
We live in a time defined by transparency and trust. Digital employee opinion services like Glassdoor and Swedish Careereye are two channels leveraging this trend, where employees can share experiences of different employers. The bottom line is that we trust people more than we trust companies. How can companies leverage this? One major asset is to turn employees to digital ambassadors, which is possible in many ways. Also, in social media we tend to follow and search for people, not companies. Activating your employees is a necessity for employer branding in a digital world.
Insight 6: Social is the new starting point (but website still mothership)
Some fresh stats also confirm that the sociala media feed is the new starting point for most of us. In 2014 the 8 biggest social media channels drove some 30% of all website traffic and LinkedIn alone drives more than 50% of social media traffic to corporate websites (says LinkedIn). Comprend research also confirm that some 60% of job seekers use LinkedIn to scout for job opportunities. So if social media used to be the sprinkle on top of your employer branding activities it now needs a prominent place in your overall strategy.
Still, this Manpower study confirms that 9 out of 10 job seekers have the corporate career website as primary source of information. Our own Comprend research shows similar numbers. Perhaps this is not where job seekers start their journey but it’s where they end up to get to know you more. Investing time and money in making it the mothership of your employer branding content is crucial.
Read the Hyper Island trend report
The speaker before me yesterday was Alexandra Jerselius, Global PR & Comms Manager at Hyper Island. Alexandra shared insights from Hyper Island’s recent report Changes of Tomorrow. It was the perfect warm up for my sharing and I recommend you go here to download it.
Did you find this interesting? Contact me at email@example.com to discuss lectures, workshops and more insights on how to attract and engage digital talent.