News & Insights

From Job Seekers to Company Advocates: Harnessing the Power of the Employer Brand

By Amy Binder and Jill Metzger


For those of us in the communications industry, we have witnessed an evolution of types of brands – from corporate brand, which encompasses a brand’s identity inclusive of mission and vision, to personal brand, an increasingly prominent form of brand for individuals in the age of ever-present social media and digital marketing. While the concept of “brand” has always been present, a different type of brand has become increasingly prevalent – the employer brand.

The trend that came to be known as the Great Resignation in 2021 didn’t just highlight the record numbers of employees voluntarily quitting their jobs; it also reinforced the need for employees to feel their values are aligned with those of their employers. In other words, companies needed to think more critically about their culture, values and working environment, and how it impacted perceptions of current employees as well as prospective new hires, if they wanted to attract and retain good talent.

According to a June 2022 survey from Qualtrics, 54% of U.S. employees said they would be willing to take a pay cut to work at a company that shares their values while 56% said they wouldn’t even consider a job at a company that has values they disagree with.

Countless studies have shown this trend among Millennial and Gen Z job seekers, and companies appear to be responding. From 2020 to 2022, LinkedIn noticed a 150% uptick in entry-level job postings that include language about a company’s culture or values. This has led the employment-focused social network to offer tools to support this shift, such as the new Commitments tool that lets organizations select and display their values.

These market shifts are requiring more from companies looking to hire, and this dynamic has reinforced the importance of an employer brand.

So, what is an employer brand? According to LinkedIn, employer brand can be defined as “the market’s perception of your company as an employer, but also describes your promise to employees in exchange for their experience, talents, contacts, or skills.” Simply put, the employer brand reinforces the connection with your current employees as well as how you market your company to desired job seekers.

While this element of the company brand may not feel like the newsiest, companies are increasingly beginning to prioritize it. There are key core benefits to having a well-defined employer brand:

  • Talent retention. Those organizations with strong employer brands have an easier time retaining their employees. Moreover, they can build better connections with current employees, who are more willing to stay with an organization and more motivated in their daily work. Companies actively investing in employer brand can reduce turnover by as much as 28% and astrong employer brand can reduce the cost per hire by as much as 50%.
  • Talent recruitment. A positive and inspiring employer brand communicates that an organization can be a great place to work for those seeking new roles. In fact, 75% of active job seekers are likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand.
  • Corporate reputation. Employer brand is inherently linked to corporate reputation and how your organization may be perceived by a variety of stakeholders. A negative reputation can cost a company as much as 10% more per hire.

Not only should an employer brand reflect the authentic experience of working at a company, it should also incorporate Clarity – the basis of RF|Binder’s Clarity Lens™, our strategic framework that ensures alignment between your business strategy and your communications strategy.

The application of the Clarity Lens can support the creation of your employer brand by looking at its three key pillars:

  1. Clarity of Impact – Organizations need to recognize that establishing a strong pipeline of talent and retaining that talent is a key business objective and prioritize it accordingly across both their business and communications strategies.
  2. Clarity of Connection – Understanding that current and potential employees have extremely specific needs and expectations, and that they can vary widely from company to company or industry to industry, will help organizations determine how they can build meaningful connections with current and potential employees.
  3. Clarity of Language – In the context of the above, organizations need to craft their communications to current and prospective employees in a manner that speaks directly to their need states, but also in a manner that is direct and consistent with the larger brand identity and voice.

As companies continue to see their current and prospective talent pool as a key stakeholder group, the importance of the employer brand will only grow. Therefore, it is increasingly important for companies and institutions to focus on building the internal culture, fostering trust among employees, and creating a compelling employer value proposition that authentically speaks to the employee experience.

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