Negative publicity – whether it’s bad press or a disgruntled employee posting on social media – may be more harmful than you think. It can hurt not only your company’s reputation and sales but also your ability to attract and secure top talent.
In fact, 71 percent of American workers said they would not apply to a company experiencing negative publicity, according to a recent survey by CareerBuilder. Also, employers reported fewer job applicants, accepted job offers and candidate referrals from employees. Other noted consequences were lower employee morale and higher voluntary employee turnover, in addition to a decline in sales. On the flip side, employers who experienced positive publicity saw an increase in job applicants, accepted job offers and candidate referrals from employees, as well as higher morale among workers and a boost in sales.
In bad times – and in good times that could come with a false sense of security – all of this can be mitigated with a comprehensive, ongoing employer branding campaign.
To prospective and current staff, comprehensive employer branding – from job ads and onboarding materials to internal messages and events – communicates your company’s:
- Core values
- Business model and outlook
- Culture, meaning what the managers and employees are like, what the experience as an employee is like
- Opportunities for advancement and professional development
Traditionally developed and managed by human resources, employer branding could get a boost from public relations. Here are five ways taking a public relations approach could be beneficial:
- Identify the target audience. PR pros use several different strategies to determine the best target market for prospective employees for your company and how to reach them. Keep in mind that employer branding could also target current employees.
- Develop the best message. Employer branding is about telling your company’s story, what it’s all about and what it’s like to work there. PR pros know exactly how to develop that message and direct it to the target audience. Reaching current employees might entail finding ways to continue to communicate your company’s culture and values.
- Ensure the message has integrity. Good communication is consistent communication. Employer branding messaging needs to be weaved into all threads of communication, including job ads, onboarding materials, internal emails, corporate events, etc. A PR pro would advise that the messaging also be true. It must portray your company and employees are they really are; otherwise, all your efforts could backfire.
- Create and maintain a comprehensive set of materials and assets. PR pros know the value of preparing for communication. They also can assess exactly what is needed, whether it be an ad, email, video or some other sort of message, to make the greatest impact with your audience. Materials and assets also need to be maintained and refreshed, probably on a yearly basis.
- Keep your employer branding story alive. Beyond orientation, employer branding should continue to reach your employees through internal communications. One great way to reiterate your company’s mission, values and culture can be through telling the stories of the employees who exemplify those aspects.
With a boost of public relations, a comprehensive employer branding campaign can create very positive internal and external exposure for your company. At RoseComm, we have helped many clients customize their strategies for targeting the right talent and creating a message that tells the story prospective and current employees need to know to ensure your company secures and retains its most important asset, its people. For example, we applied our expertise to assisting a client with a matter that can very difficult to navigate and communicate, a merger.
Employer branding is for much more than recruiting. It helps a company maintain its narrative and relationship with its employees. Every company needs to create – and embody – its story and make sure its employees know it, especially in preparation for tough times.