How an Employer Brand Communications Strategy Can Support Recruitment Efforts
The best nonprofits are the ones that know the value of an employer brand communications plan. They understand a strategic plan can help attract and retain the top talent and avoid facing the current struggles of today’s competitive job market.
Since the global pandemic, there has been a shift in the employee/employer dynamic. With 77% of job seekers considering a company's culture before applying, employees are looking beyond salary and benefits in today's market. That is why now is the perfect opportunity for your nonprofit to develop and execute an employer brand to meet today's top talent's needs.
Before diving, it's important to note that an already successful and positive company culture must be in place. You do not want to market false perceptions to potential employees because it will backfire. If your culture is not where it should be, consider contacting an HR consultant.
Determine Current Brand Perception
First, let's start by conducting an audit to understand how your nonprofit brand is currently perceived internally and externally.
- Current Employee Survey. Conduct a quick survey for your team to participate in. You want to ensure you receive responses across all departments for a more holistic picture. Your questions should center around how your team describes the culture and whether they think your nonprofit is an employer of choice. Ask for examples of specific experiences they've had that demonstrate the culture.
- Online Reputation. Put yourself in the shoes of job seekers. They most likely will research your organization's owned sources (website and social media channels) and third-party sources (Glassdoor and Google reviews). Do a deep dive into these sources and pull keywords and phrases to see what verbiage is used. When looking at reviews, pull positive and negative feedback to get a sense of what folks outside your organization are saying.
- Awards and Recognition. Awards are an excellent opportunity to establish your organization's credibility. Take inventory of the current awards your nonprofit has received, noting who issued it, the year the award was earned, and the reason or cause for the recognition. Promote both company award wins and the employee wins. If you don't have any, there is no need to worry. Do some research on what awards your competitors have received and start a list of what awards you want to apply for in the next one to two years.
While this research does take time, it is worth the investment so that you are no longer guessing how your employer brand is perceived. You can't promote a positive company culture but rather have factual information to support your claims.
Get Alignment Across All Departments
Once all of this legwork is complete, it's time to get leadership, HR, marketing and other key stakeholders together to review. Some items to check together:
- How do your current employees describe the company culture?
- Does that align with your nonprofit's vision?
- What is the most common theme from reviews received on third-party platforms?
- If you received negative feedback, does it hold?
- And if so, what are you doing to improve upon the situation?
Having working sessions discussing these questions is vital to help break down organizational silos and get everyone aligned on how to support the organization's overall growth.
The result of these discussions should give your marketing and HR teams a clear picture of how to develop a strong employer brand strategy that will attract and retain the right talent for your organization.
Creating Employer Brand Content
Once you have an approved strategy, it's time to execute. Utilize owned and user-generated content to create written, visual, and video content to communicate your messaging.
The best place to start creating content is with current employee champions. Look back at the surveys you shared with your team and identify who shared the most positive feedback or had stories that brought your nonprofit's vision to life. Use those individuals to create employee spotlight blogs that you can then share on social media and feature in a newsletter to show your supporters the incredible staff working behind the scenes.
Employee-generated content provides eight times more engagement than brand channels, which is why you need to encourage your employees to be active on social media. This type of user-generated content is much more powerful and shows potential candidates an honest glimpse into your organization. Establish some employee social media guidelines outlining best practices for sharing their messages so they can be communicated in the best way possible.
Kija Chronister is the agency marketing manager at Slice Communications. In her role, Kija is responsible for strategizing and executing all agency marketing efforts, developing and implementing its employer brand, and fostering relationships with partners, sponsors and community relations.
Outside of Slice Communications, Kija is heavily involved with the independent nonprofit, Social Media Day PHL. She served as an integral piece in strategically repositioning the nonprofit beyond its annual conference to be a community for social media and communications professionals at all levels.