Hiring the best talent is critical for growing a business and ensuring its future success. Employer branding allows a company to control and positively impact the conversation about the business, resulting in improved talent acquisition and retention.

What is employer branding?
At its most basic level, employer branding is how you market your organisation to job seekers and what workers say about it as a place to work. Investing in a good employer brand means investing in a good reputation. The past year has truly shown the power of strong employer brand in supporting individuals and teams through the challenges of the pandemic.

Employer Brand Management Awards describes a strong employer brand as the beating heart of many organisations: “it is an intrinsic part of the ethos and ethics of an organisation. If utilised well, it attracts, engages and retains talent. It also, importantly, instigates the employee experience and guides the employee journey.”

Building a reputation as a responsible employer and a great place to work is vital for SMBs in today’s competitive market for top talent. A strong brand influences whether the best people choose to join your team or accept an offer from a competitor.

Why core values matter more
A company’s core values – the set of guiding principles and beliefs that help a group of people function together as a team and work toward a common business goal – are a fundamental component of a strong employer brand. A company’s core values shape its company culture and have a significant impact on the business strategy.

Today’s workforce is increasingly comprised of millennials and Generation Z employees, and they are particularly interested in working for companies whose core values align with their own. Savvy employers know that they need to understand and embrace the expectations of these two generations of workers so that they can deliver their desired employee experience. Promoting your core values – and aligning your practices with those values – is an intrinsic part of attracting and retaining these people, and creating purpose, cohesion and commitment in the workplace.

For millennials, a job is no longer just about a salary. A study by Cone Communications found that it’s very much about purpose, with 75% of millennials saying they want their personal values to align with their company’s values and are even willing to take a pay cut to work for a value-aligned company.

The values that companies consider important may include integrity, honesty, fairness, accountability, diversity and inclusion, teamwork, passion and more. According to Deloitte’s research on millennials, 69% of employees who believe their senior management teams are diverse, for example, see their working environments as motivating and engaging.

Companies that are good at communicating their culture and values are better at attracting this cohort of workers, with technology proving to be extremely useful and appealing. For example, videos can deliver information about workplaces and employees in ways that are entertaining and engaging.

It’s also important for companies to act out their values, instead of merely stating them. Whether that is achieved through corporate social responsibility initiatives, brand positioning or recruitment strategy, it is vital for SMBs to practice what they preach.

As Zappos founder Tony Hsieh once said, “Your personal core values define who you are, and a company’s core values ultimately define the company’s character and brand. For individuals, character is destiny. For organisations, culture is destiny.”