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Your employer brand is different from your company brand. And it’s precisely what makes you stand out to job seekers.

After nine years on Forbes’ 100 Best Companies to Work For list—six of those in the top spot—it is clear that Google knows the secrets of employer branding. Despite its need for highly specialized skills, Google has an endless supply of qualified applicants begging to be brought aboard. Does your company?

Companies committed to realizing their growth potential are wise to follow Google’s lead. The best employees have options, so your employer brand is vital to your success in attracting them.

You might be thinking that your brand is something better left to the marketing department, but it’s important to distinguish between your company brand—the way the general public perceives your company—and your employer brand. Your employer brand is your reputation as a place to build a career, along with how people perceive working for your company.

Based on the fact that Google receives more than two million applications per year for a mere four thousand hires, it is clear that the pool of candidates is well-aware of Google’s innovative company culture.

Attracting the Right Candidates

A LinkedIn study found that when it comes to attracting great job candidates, a strong employer brand is twice as likely as a strong company brand to impact candidates’ decision to accept a role. Your company brand is an important contributor to your visibility, name recognition, and top-of-mind presence among candidates—and it goes a long way in attracting them.

Even if you’ve never considered your employer brand before, you probably already have one. What do your employees tell others about their workplace? What reputation do your people have within your business community? This is your employer brand. With that in mind, how can you best shape the conversation?

3 Employer Branding Action Items

There are three simple areas you can focus on to strengthen your employer brand, according to Deloitte analyst Madeline Laurano.

First, use non-monetary incentives to build a culture that’s interesting, engaging, and fun to work in. Consider these examples of unique methods Google uses to ensure happy staff members:

  • Follow Your Passion. Google staff members are encouraged to explore their ideas via the 80/20 rule, in which 20% of the workday is devoted to personal projects that might benefit the company.
  • Bring Your Dogs to Work. A little fuzz therapy goes a long way to improving stress levels, and Google employees appreciate their canine companions’ reminders to go outside periodically during the workday.

Second, do whatever you can to avoid layoffs in difficult financial times. Going the extra mile to retain staff shows that you care about the people in your company, and respectful handling of unavoidable layoffs is key. While Google has had an occasional reduction in force, the company managed to retain its employer brand by publicly discussing the need for downsizing, expressing sympathy to reduced staff members and their families, and praising impacted employees for all of their contributions to the company’s success.

Third, implement forward-thinking policies with respect to flexibility. Younger workers increasingly expect to have autonomy over their schedules and to have access to remote working arrangements where appropriate. Flexible scheduling allows employees to contribute their best work even while going through transitions in their personal lives. Google has been recognized repeatedly for impressive employee work-life balance by encouraging staff members to make their own decisions when it comes to managing workload.

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