Employer Branding for Small & Medium-sized Companies

When talking about employer branding, most of the time we think of it as a complicated, expensive and long-term activity. Indeed, it is a long-term activity, but with good planning it could be simplified and implemented with less money.

This article is dedicated to this exactly.

How are we to implement a long-term employer branding strategy, if we do not have big budgets?

Even more, how to make people fall in love with our employer brand with a couple of simple steps?

There are three key elements, when it comes to creating an employer brand:

CREATING STORIES

TELLING STORIES

SHARING STORIES

Good news is, everything can be done by the company in question’s team, as the creation of stories comes exactly from the corporate culture and employees’ desire to tell stories.

The first and most important thing is building and sustaining a good, diverse and unique corporate culture. You may ask why? The answer can be found in this popular line: If you don’t go within (corporate culture) you go without (employer brand). Thus, a good employer branding strategy is build upon the corporate culture and the stories we tell about the company.

And the stories we tell are born from the people and their work experiences. You may ask which are the strongest and most truthful stories? The ones born from shared values.

Values should not come from the management. Rather, they should come from the people in the company. Still, if your company does not have values yet, you may try this simple exercise: gather your team and give them a 30-minute task, during which everyone will write down things they admire in their colleagues. The ones, which repeat the most will become your company’s values.  After we have these values, do not just hang them on the walls, as in many big corporations. Visualize boldly! Bring them to life!

Here is an excellent example from a company:

How do we bring these values to life?

We create a plan, which will help us live the values every day and encourage everyone, who demonstrates them. This way stories are born. Every single day.  

Nowadays we cannot create fake stories if you want to build a sustainable brand. In order to build good reputation, we need true stories and meaningful content. So, we need to constantly think about our corporate culture and the way we can develop it.

We have to consider experiences, which create stories about the company, the people and their life. Truthful and emotional stories, which resonate with the employees are born from good corporate culture. What is more, employees will want to share these stories. Because they want, not because they have to.

So, how do we share them?

If we do not have big budget, we have to rely on our own channels. LinkedIn and Facebook are a bare minimum to have. Instagram and a corporate blog are a big plus as the importance of content marketing has been in the news for quite some time now.

The next step is to identify a couple of employer branding ambassadors. People, who love telling stories. Train them and motivate them to tell stories about the company. They can rotate and create content for the organizational social media channels. Who can be the team leader? Everyone can apply to be the team leader and with the help of the HR or CEO to define what amount of time this person will spend for this extra activity. Team leaders can also rotate. It is also good to have encouragement from the team when good results are achieved.

Another interesting approach would be to use the gamification approach. For example, you can have internal campaigns, involving all of your employees. The more people share your organizational stories – the bigger your audience is.

And are there more benefits when involving your employees? They are 10 times more digitally connected than your brand. Their posts are shared 24 times more. And 90% of people trust their acquittances’ recommendations.  

How to make a shareable campaign? The 3 main steps are: content, share and results. A dedicated team from your company creates weekly/monthly social media content. After that, all of the other employees have access to it and can choose where and how to share it. With every post shared – they gain points. Points can lead to different rewards. As always, results come at the end: different audiences have seen your content and are willing to trust it and even, engage with it (e.g. apply for a job opening).

When creating campaigns, we should think in the long-term as nowadays people – especially millennials, will agitate more about companies with character. Therefore, try to create such content for your brand.

Good news is, you do not have to be a graphic designer or a video maker in order to make likeable content. There are many tools, which can help you create an employer brand if you have a small budget. Hubspot is a content marketing software, which has a free trial for smaller companies and a special one for startups.

There are also a lot of tools for the visual part of your content. Canva is a platform, which will make graphic design easier. Envato is another lifesaver for photos and videos. If you want to shoot your own video, biteable will help you with the editing. Last but not least, Hootsuite is a nice social media manager for multiple channels.

In sum, what you need to remember is corporate culture is your company’s heart. People are its soul. The heart and the soul are what attracts. Yes, employer branding seems a lot like falling in love. If you want to make people fall in love with you and become part of your company, it is important to have a well-developed employer brand. Brand, which will attract people with the same values. They will stay longer exactly because of those values.

Learn more about Employer Branding