August 20, 2019

Benchmarking your employer brand to meet the needs of the new generation

Salary has always been a key criterion for jobseekers, and continues to top the list for the new generation as they make their entry into the job market. However, young and soon-to-be professionals are also increasingly sensitive to other key considerations when choosing their employer. A survey we conducted across 5 European countries earlier this year pointed to “work-life balance” “professional development” and “having a job with meaning” as crucial criteria for 46% and 37% of youth aged 18 to 25. 

It would certainly be a mistake to write off the new generation as entitled, or brazenly marching into the workplace demanding all kinds of perks and benefits despite their limited experience. The new generation actually tends to see their commitment to an organisation as a win-win: they are willing to be extremely committed and engaged but do expect a number of things in return

Paradoxically, although students and recent graduates seem to expect a lot from their employers, they also recognise that they require increased guidance. Our survey revealed that nearly 90% of them would like to have better support as they navigate the new and intimidating world of work! 

Certainly, it falls on a number of different stakeholders to respond to that need - and this includes, but is not limited to, universities. We should not underestimate the crucial role employers play in the transition from education into employment. Building an employer brand not only helps you to attract the right candidates but is information that can be used for students to prepare for the world of work. That's why it's essential that employer brand be not only attractive but reassuring, transparent and easy to understand in order to give the new generation the best chance of starting a successful career.

Based on our expertise at the heart of an ecosystem that includes students, employers and universities - as well as our own experience developing JobTeaser’s employer brand, we share a round-up of our key recommendations to benchmark your employer branding. 

1. Start with the competition (and think beyond your immediate sector) 🥊

The obvious first step would be to benchmark your organisation against competitors in your sector that are of a similar size. Things to look out for: their value proposition, as illustrated in the “benefits” section of their job ads (what are they offering? how is it worded?), their online presence, their application guidelines, and how they are portrayed in the media, for instance. 

But in the war for talent, benchmarking goes beyond your immediate competitors. Companies that are known as global leaders in terms of perks and benefits are worth keeping track of for inspiration. Most notably (and in addition to several other well-known perks!) Google is known for its unique “Death Benefit”: if a Googler dies whilst they’re under the employment of Google, their spouse will receive 50% of their salary in a cheque for the next ten years. 

In addition to monitoring what other companies are doing, keeping abreast of key data in the industry can also help you understand where the gaps are and position yourself accordingly. For instance, the average length of the job interview process in the UK is 27.5 days, which can be enough time for a candidate to snap up another offer! This is an opportunity to review the length of your own recruitment processes, from the application right down to the interview, and gain a competitive edge in your industry. 

2. Map your HR processes and online communications 🗺️

Mapping your recruitment process and candidate experience extensively is an essential part of understanding what a candidate goes through when they engage with your company, and understanding the aspects you can improve. Start with building a list of touch-points that candidates engage with as part of their HR experience. These will range from your job ads, careers website, Glassdoor, JobTeaser or LinkedIn pages, to how your employees position themselves when engaging with prospective candidates in interviews, in their personal LinkedIn posts, or even speeches and presentations they give at external events. Some of the questions to ask yourself are: 

  • Is your messaging consistent across platforms, and does it adequately reflect reality? 
  • Are you transparent and authentic in the way that you present the organisation? 
  • Are you providing enough relevant information for students to be able to self-assess against your requirements? 
  • Have you responded to the new generation’s need for purpose, work-life balance, and aspirations in terms of career progression?
  • Are your job ads clear and specific without being overwhelming? 
  • Do all your employees use the same language to describe what they do? 

Making a note of existing gaps will be your starting point to streamline messaging across different platforms and start training your employees. 

3. Build alignment on vision with top management 🔮

Once you have a good sense of the market in terms of employer branding initiatives, and where you stand in comparison, it’s time to build alignment with top management in terms of future vision. One way to do this - and how we did it internally at JobTeaser -  is to organise a two-part workshop with your management committee, asking them: 

  • What do you see as the company’s promise to candidates in five years’ time?  

The idea is to come out of the discussion knowing what the long term vision should be for your organisation. Do you want to be known as the company that offers the best training opportunities, the greatest international exposure, or that provides clear career progression and internal mobility? Are you committed to staying abreast of generational change and adapting your management style? These are conversations that could take a long time and are best begun early.

  • What are the KPIs you will use to measure success? 

Define how you know that you are hitting your milestones, and what measures you will be tracking. Depending on the objectives you have set for yourself, this could range from your number of followers on social media, the number of times you are mentioned in the press, the number of candidates who knew about your company before applying, etc. 

You can then move on to defining the specific candidate profiles you will be targeting. 

4. Define your target groups and get to know them 🎯

HR is increasingly drawing inspiration from marketing, and benchmarking your employer brand is no exception. Knowing your target audience will help you tailor your messaging accordingly. 

When we went through this process internally at JobTeaser, we identified three key targets that we wanted to address: 

  • A senior “business” target (experienced business development and marketing professionals)
  • A tech target (developers, data analysts, data scientists, etc.) 
  • An international target (candidates from the markets that we are expanding to). 

We then organised workshops with representatives of each of these target groups to understand what aspects of an employer’s offering particularly appealed to them, and how we could attract such candidates. For example, candidates with a tech background are typically sensitive to opportunities to develop their technical skills on the job. 

The outcome of these workshops was to develop a clear “candidate persona” per target group, and be in a position to build initiatives and messaging accordingly. This would also be a good time to ask yourself whether you are on the right platforms to be reaching your target audience and whether you are using the right formats. If you need to reach out to students and recent graduates in sales and marketing for example, you may want to invest in employee advocacy and short video formats that can be posted on Instagram. If your priority target is mid-career engineers, your strategy will likely be very different! 

A representative sample of each target group can help you get a good sense of their needs and expectations. Once you have achieved that, you can move on to including a much larger sample of your employees. 

5. Run a quantitative survey within your organisation 💯

Engaging an external organisation like Gallup to get feedback on what your current employees are most attached to in your organisation is essential when benchmarking your employer branding. It’s the best way to get a full picture of your employee experience, highlight what is of greatest value to the people you work with, and understand where you can improve. 

Benchmarking your employer branding is a crucial first step to creating your value proposition as an organisation. Taking the time to gain a strong understanding of your strengths and weaknesses as an employer, and delving into the needs of your target audiences is a sure fast way to engage the new generation - and ensure you are doing so for the long haul. 

Posted by
Sara Chatterjee
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