Why employer branding is so important in attracting millennials

Young Professionals

Today’s talent acts more and more like consumers than job seekers. The range of resources people can draw upon for career decisions is bigger than ever before and growing.

For the millennial generation (broadly those born after early 1980s), this is particularly acute. Having grown up in a highly connected world, millennials are used to comparing everything from their shopping to their holidays at the click of a few buttons. And the world of work is no different.

As recently as 2000s, there was little information on what companies were like to work for beyond asking an employee if you were lucky enough to know one. Now, however, almost all information that’s available on your company - from your careers site, social media and online presence to what current employees say about you - is used by job candidates and directly impacts your employer brand.

“Employer brand” is a bit of a buzz word but at vanna.com we simply define it as what current and prospective employees think about your company, independently. “Employer branding” is the process of communicating who you are as an employer. And now, more than ever before, effective employer branding is essential to attracting millennials. Here’s why.

1. Choice, choice, choice

The world of work has changed. Whilst companies have mostly had the upper hand in recruitment, the balance has swung towards job candidates. Increased employee mobility, the wide availability of training online, the rise of flexible working and the gig economy, the dramatic decrease in the costs of starting a business and the ease of working online have all contributed.

Perhaps most importantly is the information that is available to job candidates – it’s free, easily accessible and growing. With today’s tech savvy millennial candidates having more choice, information and generally being better informed, companies have to do more to stand out and attract the right staff.

2. Changing considerations

Whilst salary has historically been the most important factor in career decisions, this is no longer as clear cut. The rise of culture, values and environment as key drivers in decision making for millennials presents a new problem for companies. Salary and job description fit easily on a job posting but how do you effectively communicate your culture and work environment? These factors are equally important to pay in attracting top talent but much more difficult to communicate.

3. Staying relevant

Having grown up with the internet and social media, millennials are demanding more information and expectations are high. And more than ever before, it’s not just what you communicate but how you communicate it that’s important. Clues are on social media, with Twitter’s character limit or Facebook and Instagram feeds full of photos and videos. Millennials engage with visual, accessible and easily digestible content. You can have the best message that hits all the right points on culture, environment and development opportunities but if it’s communicated via dull text rather than rich visual content, it’s not going to be effective.

Without effective employer branding it’s becoming more difficult for companies to hire and retain the best millennial talent. Just as job candidates are acting more and more like consumers, hiring managers need to move beyond the confines of HR and act more like marketers. For this they need support from management.

At its heart, employer branding is about improving the profitability of your business. There are obvious savings in the recruitment phase (effective employer branding will act as a pre-filter for many candidates, saving time by helping to ensure the culture fit is right). However, the biggest contributions of employer branding – and the ones that need to be communicated to management – come later through increased retention and productivity. By getting the right staff who understand your business, your culture and what it takes to succeed, you’ll build great teams and a workplace that people want to stay at and do their best work.

James Lewis

Vanna co-founder and employer branding expert

3 min read

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