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Employer Branding for Startups to Attract the Best Talent

Employer branding is quite crucial, especially for startups and SMEs. Here are our tips on building an attractive employer brand as a startup to attract top talent.

Krishan Patel image

Written by Krishan Patel

23 May, 2022  â€“  6 min read

Employer branding is a vital part of attracting the right talent, saving on hiring costs, and making sure your employees are engaged. So, what is employer branding? Your employer brand is how you show the mission, vision, and values of your company. It’s how you highlight your best assets for your potential new hires and your existing employees. 

Building a clear employer brand can have huge positive effects on the people who work for you. Find out more about the essentials of employer branding here, or read on to discover everything you need to know about employer branding for startups. We’ll cover the importance of employer branding for small companies, with some great tips for your own employer branding.

The importance of employer branding for startups

Employer branding is a great asset for any type or size of company, but you can’t overstate the importance of employer branding for startups. Effective employer branding can link directly to driving growth in a multitude of ways, which is crucial for most startups.

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Employer branding is key to building trust. These days people like to do thorough research before they consider joining a company, and will rarely simply believe what a CEO or HR representative says without checking their facts. Online reviews and social media posts are easy to find, and negative reports can seriously undermine a company’s public image and reputation. 

This is where your employer branding comes in. Successful employer branding can make sure that employees and potential new hires have a positive image of your company before they even talk to you.

Word of mouth and brand awareness are powerful tools. A high profile and a positive image mean people will be attracted to your company, whether this means they’re more likely to notice your job postings on recruitment sites or check your website waiting for an opening to come up. This is how you can secure the best talent. So many employees today want more than just a paycheck. They want to work for a company that shares their views and morals. They want a company that cares about their well-being and their life goals.

Good employer branding helps save time and money during recruitment processes. Some employees will even choose a lower salary offer from a company with values that align with their own, rather than take a higher offer from a company they trust less. This can also save money. Too many companies find that hiring the talent they need is extremely expensive if they don’t have good employer branding in place which clearly highlights their employee value proposition.

Of course, once you have on boarded your new top talent, you need to keep them happy. Your employer branding does a lot of heavy lifting here too. Getting your employer branding right can help you retain employees. Happy employees stick around longer, and of course, they work harder. In contrast to this, companies without good employer branding will often find that their top employees can be easily poached for new roles elsewhere. Research has indicated that up to 84% of employees consider leaving their current jobs if another company has a better reputation.

5 tips for your startup employer branding strategy

Starting the development of your employer branding can be tough, especially if your company is new and you aren’t sure what approach to take. Consider our five top tips for your startup employer branding strategy.

1. Define your mission, vision, and values

Your employer branding strategy should be consistent and clear when you are talking about the things that matter to your company. It may take some time and thought to get total clarity on your key mission, vision, and values, but this is an important stage. Of course, try to also phrase your mission in a way that your employees are likely to care about and relate to as well. 

2. Highlight your workplace culture

A grand vision and moral values are great for building trust and camaraderie in your company, but many potential employees want to know what their day-to-day experience will be like. Define the rewarding aspects of your workplace culture and present them in a way that demonstrates why your company is a great place to work.

3. Get your sourcing strategy right

Your employer branding should appeal to the kinds of employees you want – so don’t waste time and money advertising to the wrong people with the wrong message. Get your startup employer branding aligned with the people who matter most and reduce waste.

4. Get expert support

If you’re struggling with your employer branding, don’t panic as this is normal. Sometimes you are so close to your company that it’s difficult to see what your employer branding should be. This may especially be the case when you’ve built your company from scratch. The way you view the company is probably different from how would-be employees see it. While many startup companies want to minimise costs, hiring a professional to assist with employer branding can help save money long term with efficient, expert support to improve your employer branding.

5. Encourage employees to promote within their networks

Your word as a founding member of your company may be taken with a pinch of salt by some people. That’s why employee word of mouth is so important. If you can get your employees talking about your company, the work culture, and your mission, then this can be worth a dozen CEO statements. Even better, it can encourage the right people to join your company, which benefits everyone.

How to create an employer branding strategy for your startup

Once you’ve decided on what your employer branding will be, you need a strategy to get your message out into the world. Building an employer branding strategy is different for startups compared to larger companies, so you will need to use a different approach. Some of the best tips for startup employer branding strategy include these.

1. Maximise your recruitment strategy with video

Short, fun video content can help get your message across in bite-sized chunks to a wide range of people.

2. Create a simple and clear careers page

Job hunters value their time – show that you value their time as well by keeping your careers page simple and clean. Some employees may consider applying for startups to be a risk, so if they are forced to put too much time into the application, they may abandon it.

3. Utilise social media channels

Social media is a mainstay of many people’s lives, and social media channels can be used to raise employer brand awareness in a variety of ways. Most social media also allows targeted advertising that can help you connect with your target audience. So, don’t miss out on utilising your social media channels for employer branding.

4. Attend recruitment events and career fairs

Recruitment marketing is not easy. However, one great thing about startups is that their smaller size allows flexibility and an individual approach. You should make the most of this by bringing your company – and your employer branding – to recruitment events, where you can build rapport with job hunters.

5. Take part in industry events to attract talent

Industry events are an excellent way to make contacts and get your employer branding recognised. While your primary aim might be to attract talent, consider every conversation a win – every time you leave a good impression on a potential employee, your employer branding is making an impact.

6. Consistently measure performance

The only way to know if your employer branding strategy is working is to measure your performance and keep updating. If something isn’t working, change it. If possible, get feedback from job hunters about what is and isn’t working.

Once you have your employer branding focused and have worked out a solid strategy, your startup can begin to reap the benefits. Employer branding for a startup may be challenging, but when you play to your strengths as a small company, you will have an unbeatable way to get your company on the road to success.

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