Employer branding is the process of creating a work environment that encourages job seekers to apply, usually by being a great place to work. The best employer branding strategy starts with your existing employees, by creating a workplace culture that employees enjoy and that attracts top talent.
Here are 25 of the best tips from the pros to help your business optimize your employer branding.
Marc Prosser, Co-Founder, Fit Small Business
Using a recruiting tool like Freshteam lets your existing employees do the employer branding for you. They can refer top talent to you, selling them on the benefits of working for your company, so you don’t have to. We recommend Freshteam as one of the top recruiting tools for small business because it lets you set up your own career website and get employee referrals. Sign up for a free trial today.
2. Promote Your Employment Brand on Social Media
Cory Sarrett, SEO/SEM Specialist, Online Optimism
Online Optimism does a great job at showing the world through social media how much fun the team has at work. It’s communicated across Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms. We share aesthetically-pleasing, fun, and informative social media posts like:
- Dogs that visit our dog-friendly office
- Friday team lunches at a local New Orleans restaurant
- Team volunteer efforts
- Content created by team members
Online Optimism doesn’t just provide the team with awesome perks (like Friday lunches out and dogs), but they’re also a tight-knit group of professionals who care about you both in and out of the office. I was excited to apply for a position at Online Optimism not only because I thought I would get to do quality work, but mainly because the social media accounts showed me that I would get the chance to work with an amazing team. Fortunately, I was right about both.
3. Focus on Diversity
Amanda Small, HR, Jibestream
We launched Women.js in an effort to communicate our brand and values. It is a platform to further influence diversity and recruitment practices and to support conversations, new policies and special interest sessions. Women.js is a special interest group with the mission to increase the presence of women within our organization and to inspire gender equality in tech. We believe that an increase in awareness regarding workplace diversity is related to increasingly collaborative and team-based structures in startups.
One thing our experience has taught us is that we accomplish more with gender diversity, and we are dedicated to supporting the success of the next generation of women in tech. Since its launch, Jibestream has shifted our overall recruitment strategy and removed gender-biased vocabulary from job postings to make them more inclusive.
We’ve also seen an increase in female applicants for every senior leadership role we have posted. The group has allowed us to collaborate with amazing organizations like Ladies Learning Code and the YWCA, and has attracted attention from organizations like Move the Dial.
We believe firmly that by taking small but mindful steps towards equality, we’re making lasting changes for everyone in tech and attracting the kind of staff that reflect our values and beliefs.
4. Welcome Dogs to the Ranch
Brian Thomas, CEO, Lightspeed Systems
One major way Lightspeed stands out as a top employer is our dog-friendly ranch. In addition to our state-of-the-art headquarters outside downtown Austin, Lightspeed is constructing a second office on a sprawling property in the Austin countryside. Named Code Ranch, the barn-style office will open its doors in October. Not only will our employees’ dogs be welcome in the office, they’ll have access to a sprawling dog park on the property to play with their friends.
Many of us at Lightspeed are dog lovers and appreciate the flexibility of being able to bring our pets to work. It’s a great morale booster and one of many things that makes Lightspeed a special place to work!
Gavin Graham, Editor, Fit Small Business
Logos aren’t just for your business—you can create a custom logo for your employment brand that focuses on what’s in it for them. Make your logo part of your employer branding strategy by using it on job applications, your careers website, and your offer letters. Consider using a website like Tailor Brands that lets you build your own logo for just a few dollars with their easy to use online tool. Click here to try it for free.
6. Let Managers Give Out Perks
Sophie Miles, CEO & Co-Founder, elMejorTrato
Maintaining enthusiasm and motivation at work goes beyond money, status or stability in the workplace. It can be social events such as drinking drinks, team meals, and sports activities, which can improve ties between co-workers. For example, the celebration of an employee’s birthday can make them feel valued and part of the family that lives in the office.
We have the variables managed by each manager. These benefits have to be approved by HR, but they are usually drinks at a nearby bar, team meals, or sports activities. They have an annual budget and we consider them part of our “employer branding” efforts. Usually, managers use them when sales milestones are reached, costs are reduced, etc., but we left them at each manager’s discretion. We believe that each manager knows their team and will decide on activities that specifically match the interests of that group.
7. Sport Red Shoes
Gail Gregerson, Director of Marketing & Culture, RingPartner
RingPartner is easily recognizable in the performance marketing industry for the red shoes that adorn the feet of our team members. Among many other great perks, like free lunches, office snacks, core hours, and generous vacation time, every new team member gets a pair of red shoes.
Whether the #RedShoeCrew is attending a conference in Europe or out for an ice cream walk near our office in Victoria, B.C., our team’s footwear is eye-catching and sparks conversations with people interested in learning more about who we are and what we do. Internally, our matching red shoes provide new team members an immediate sense of comradery and inclusion in the office culture.
8. Immerse Employees in Your Culture
Krista Brubaker, Content Marketing Strategist, BizLibrary
To show the investment in employee learning and development right from the start, all new hires at BizLibrary start with a two-week Immersion program, which helps them get up to speed quickly and build new relationships from day one.
The program combines classes that go over the organization’s mission, values, goals, processes, clients, and departments alongside one-on-one meetings with teammates to learn about others’ roles. Immersion includes a team lunch on the first day, meeting their assigned mentor, daily recaps with direct managers, and blended training that includes classroom sessions, online videos, and on-the-job coaching.
Employees who’ve been through Immersion say it’s really helped them feel like a valued member of the team, and that going through it with other new hires is a great way to build relationships cross-departmentally.
9. Play Games at Work
Kate Gorman, Founder/CEO, Fort Mason Games
A cool thing we do to attract employees is we play games at work! From HQ Trivia to Match 3 games to Pokemon Go, we enjoy time every day to play mobile and board games at the office individually and in teams. It’s fun, and it builds friendship and teamwork. We also give employees the ultimate flexibility to decide when and where they work. We’ve found when we hire the best and empower them to make decisions, they produce the best results.
10. Create a Billboard Campaign with a Celebrity
Asher Raphael, Co-CEO, Power Home Remodeling
People questioned what business an exterior home remodeling company had entering the NBA free agency discussion, let alone trying to recruit LeBron James. But we knew our employees would love to see Power enter this national dialogue. And, there’s no better sports town than our hometown of Philadelphia.
What started as an employee engagement campaign—something we knew would energize and excite our employees—ultimately stirred a national conversation, including a reaction from King James himself! We could not have imagined the campaign unfolding at such a massive scale, but it’s been incredibly fun to watch, especially for us at Power.
The campaign clearly met its objective of fostering further goodwill with our employees, but it also introduced our brand to potential employees. Even though LeBron won’t be playing for the 76ers next season, the campaign was still a “win/win” for us.
11. Launch a Careers Website & Offer to Provide Training
Burns Blackwell, President & CEO, Terminix Triad
Pest control can be a tough industry, but Terminix Triad has worked hard to set themselves apart from their competitors as the best pest control company to work for, as well as a great career opportunity.
One of the biggest game changers for us in the last year has been launching a website solely devoted to our careers. Our careers site lets us showcase things that people don’t think about when they imagine a career in pest control. We have fun events, celebrate team birthdays, hold competitions, and share fun team stats and quotes from current employees.
We’ve upped our game when it comes to recruiting by removing barriers to entry, providing training for people who have the soft skills that we look for (customer service, problem solving) but may not have the technical background or licensing they need yet. Being willing to invest in the skills and future of each team member really says a lot to potential applicants.
12. Host an Annual Offsite Team Event
Abby Forman, PR Manager, Fiverr
We do a lot to both attract great talent and keep the great talent we have, but one, in particular, stands out to me. Every year, Fiverr hosts an offsite for employees in both the Tel Aviv and U.S. offices.
This year, the U.S. summer overnight took place in early June on the beautiful beaches of Long Branch, New Jersey, at the Ocean Place Resort and Spa. The trip started off with team-building activities, including bingo and a sandcastle competition, followed by some downtime at the tiki bar, the beach, and the pool. The night ended with an island-themed dinner on the beach, a fire pit with s’mores, a karaoke dance party and a photo booth to document the night’s festivities.
13. Welcome the Newest Team Members
Caitlin Copple Masingill, PR, Oliver Russell
Oliver Russell was just named among the Best for the World for Workers because of our progressive employee policies around wellness and governance. We offer 12 weeks paid parental leave (yes, moms and dads, as well as adoptive parents; PTO is dependent on how long you’ve worked here).
We’ve had two employees who have used the parental leave policy twice each since they’ve worked here.
14. Let Employees Work from Home While Staying Fit
Brent Shelton, Account Supervisor, Bospar PR
I work for a virtual PR company that puts emerging tech startups on the map. We were just named PR Week’s Boutique Agency of 2018.
Bospar is incredibly generous with respect to making working at home a no-brainer. But, for me, the biggest perk is that they cover costs for phone and internet, and they offer a $100/month allowance for wellness (gym membership, ergonomic workstations, massages, and even golfing).
15. Use Instagram to Show Off Your Fun Company Culture
Mackenzie Maher, Social Media Manager, Power Digital Marketing
At Power Digital, we like to ensure that our organic and paid social media presence show off our fun company culture alongside our digital savvy and business acumen. In order to recruit the best digital marketers, we make sure our content will resonate with them while being an accurate reflection of our brand.
We want to make sure that our followers are in the know when it comes to all of our awesome company events. We balance our Instagram presence with posts that show off some of our incredible clients to get potential prospects excited about who we work with. We also share updates from our company-wide meetings to give our followers a peek behind the curtain and see what day-to-day life at Power Digital is like.
16. Create an Inclusive Culture Within a Global Community
Mikko Tamminen, CEO & Founder, Taskeater
We are very proud to create a tech startup-like culture out in Dhaka, creating a safe and progressive place for minorities, women, LGBT and anyone who walks through our doors to work. Here are a few key things we do to connect our global staff and create a fun sense of community.
- Make relationships as human as possible. We do video conferences instead of emailing or calling; we even consider sending physical gifts over. This reminds staff there is a real person on the other side of an email and builds stronger relationships that motivate staff.
- Celebrate local traditions and the cultures of our remote staff, wherever they are in the world.
- Create a fun and active presence on social media locally to promote our operations roles, sharing success stories and inspirational quotes from our current employees to give an idea of what our working culture is like.
- Let each of our employees know their earning potential for the next three years from day one. Employees are then fully aware of future opportunities and benefits, and how best to succeed to meet their own targets and objectives.
- Use Facebook groups and Instagram to create an online community staff can tap into from anywhere.
17. Offer Employees a Charity Day (and a Great Brand to Work For)
Parisima Baha, Content and Communications Specialist, Honeybee Benefits
I was eager to work for a tech company but never considered InsurTech (insurance + technology) or knew it even existed until I saw the job posting for my role. Insurance isn’t a topic I find interesting, but the Honeybee product itself caught my attention.
Honeybee Benefits encourages individual growth and the entrepreneur mindset. They create this culture by hiring passionate employees but also reinforcing our drive by offering us specific benefits. Honeybee is a digital benefits platform, where employers can create their own benefits with health and medical coverage and also add perks through an allowance account.
My favorite perk is that we get a Charity Day—we can choose a day out of the year where we want to help a charity of our choice. I’ve always wanted to help out in my community but never seemed to find the time to do it, and this allows me to do that. It’s also another way to make an impact, outside of work, which I think is very empowering. It’s experiences like these that keep my creative juices flowing. Especially as someone in a creative role, getting out of my day-to-day element and interacting with different people outside of work can help spark up ideas.
18. Get Employees Involved in the Community
Roger Hancock, Volunteer Manager, CSAA Insurance Group
Celebrate your community’s diversity and reach out to historically underserved communities. Our philanthropic efforts are focused primarily on safety as well as disaster and emergency preparedness. We have a strong track record of supporting organizations that empower the African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic, LGBTQ and disabled communities.
Incentivize community involvement for your employees. CSAA Insurance Group offers employees 24 hours of company-paid time off to volunteer each year. After employees volunteer 30 hours of cumulative volunteer service at one or more qualifying nonprofit organizations during the year, they receive a $300 Charity Gift Card that can be redeemed online as a donation to any eligible 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization of the employee’s choice.
19. Use Technology in Your Hiring Practices
Ian McClarty, President/CEO, PhoenixNAP Global IT Solutions
This year we started to implement video recruiting as part of our employee hiring strategy. I can already see the improvement in the quality of talent, and the hiring process is proceeding quicker.
Video helps candidates feel immersed in the culture of the company. It is comforting, engaging and convenient to their lifestyle.
Today’s tech talent prefer to work for companies that embrace the latest technology and set themselves apart. A recruiting video displays our technological savvy and employee-focus. Our goal is the video sells them on our company, and attracts the top talent.
20. Be Transparent with Your Rewards
Jim Woodhead, Managing Director, A for Agency
The key for us has been transparency. We’ve given experience days, prizes and gifts in the past for outstanding results. We tend to shy away from cash bonuses, as our team was disappointed with seeing it sliced by the tax man.
Everyone knows why an individual was rewarded, what they did, how they did it, and the reward that they got. Rewards are handed out in the monthly update and team meetings and everyone can see what their colleagues have done. We reward soft things: going the extra mile or showing initiative for a client. It’s rarely for sales targets or project delivery. We like to reward attitude rather than application.
21. Hire Someone to Focus on Talent Acquisition and Retention
Laura Goldberg, Head of Talent Acquisition & Retention, Logikcull
I am the Head of Talent and Retention. I lead our recruiting efforts to find the latest and greatest Logikbots to join the team and ensure their continued success. Here are a few things we do at Logikcull:
- We have a values committee with remote and in-office staff dedicated to making sure we keep our culture and values at top of mind for those here and working from home.
- We give back to the world around us. We donate one tree to the park service for every 10,000 pages (roughly a tree’s worth) that are uploaded into our system. We have donated ~2,000 this year!
- We give a gift card for completing any homework assignment—everyone’s time is valuable and we want to thank candidates for spending some of their time on us.
- We have a remote-friendly culture and our in-office benefits extend to them as well, including lunch provided by Logikcull.
- We donate a lunch budget once a week to a charity, selected by one of our employees.
- Our new baby program gives six weeks to the secondary caregiver, 12 weeks to the primary caregiver, two weeks of dinners for the new family and two house cleanings.
22. Let Employees Get Supplies Out of a Vending Machine
Mike Pitts, President, IVM, Inc.
IVM automated supply vending machines dispense common tech peripherals such as keyboards, laptops and mice to save time on tracking down supplies, instead allowing employees to focus on what they were hired to do. We work with companies from a variety of industries, but lately, we’ve been spending a lot of time in Silicon Valley, bringing our supply vending solutions to companies like Facebook, HP, Intel, and Dropbox to give employees instant access to the supplies they need.
The vending machines are a great culture driver, especially as we are seeing office perks become a growing factor in landing top talent in major tech hubs throughout the U.S. Automated supply vending gives employees a sense of empowerment, enabling them to do their jobs without any roadblocks—a benefit that is so efficient, it can help attract and retain employees at major companies.
One of our clients, Facebook, actually introduces new employees to the machines on their first day of work as part of the onboarding process. The company emphasizes how the machines are used to enhance the frictionless work environment, where everything is done to make the job easy for the employee and lets them focus on what they were hired to do, rather than tracking down supplies.
23. Add Employee Video to Your Social Media & Marketing Materials
Veronica Romney, Co-founder & President of LoSoMo Inc.
At LoSoMo, we keep our social media accounts, especially Instagram and Twitter, as updated as possible with behind-the-scenes videos of our interns, their dogs, the lunch breaks we have with delicious food some companies have sent us, as well as positive news about the company.
It’s all about keeping interest and reminding potential employees that we are a fun, exciting place to work and intern. We want to advertise our quirks, like our shared love of food and pets, as much as possible! We find that if you can connect to potential employees on their level, such as social media, and use your posts to relate to them, your brand and your company itself will get noticed way more than going the traditional route.
24. Walk Around and Engage with Your Staff
Wayne Strickland, former VP of Global Distribution Strategy, Hallmark Cards and Author
Go see and talk to your employees by walking around or get in the field or stores and talk to your team, one on one, and listen and reinforce your message of what’s important and why.
Communication is a strategy for most teams and it’s a commitment, not simply a nice thing to do when you have the time. It should be an important part of every leader’s playbook.
25. Build an Employer Branding Strategy
Edward Daciuk, Staff Writer, FitSmallBusiness.com
To ensure you keep your eye on your most important asset—your employees—consider reading our article on 6 Steps to Create an Employer Brand. At Fit Small Business, we also make sure our career page is optimized, and have written a full article on how you can make your business stand out on a job board like Indeed.
Having a great employment brand is no different than the goodwill your business establishes as part of its business value. However, your employer branding strategy should focus on attracting and retaining employees rather than customers. By making your business a great place to work, hiring will become oh-so-much easier, and you’re also more likely to reduce turnover.
If you would like to create a custom logo for your employment brand, or for any of your employee or business marketing collateral, check out Tailor Brands. Their logo design tools are so easy that some customers claim they can create a great logo in just 10 minutes! Then, consider using that logo on your website’s career page.