Employment Brand? Study Says Half of Companies Don’t Have One

Article main image
Aug 24, 2011

Employment branding is one of the most talked about topics in the HR world. Yet, according to a new study from CareerBuilder, nearly half of HR managers (49 percent) reported that their company does not have an employment brand. Twelve percent said they are still in the process of developing their brand.

So what is the potential cost to these employers?

A separate, joint survey from CareerBuilder and Inavero of 4,500 job seekers nationwide shows the impact a positive employment brand brings not only to your talent bench, but to the bottom line.

Applying for more than the paycheck

For most job seekers surveyed, starting salary is less important than the perception of the organization with which they are interviewing.

When asked whether they’d take a job for less money at the organization they’d most like to work for, 70 percent said they would accept even if the salary offer was five percent less than their lowest acceptable salary. Fifty-eight percent would accept an offer 10 percent less than their salary floor. Remarkably, half of job seekers (51 percent) would still take a job at their ideal company for 15 percent less.

What might prompt job seekers to take the lower pay? Those who would take the job for lower than their salary floor said they would consider if:

  • Company has a lot of recent positive press – 78 percent;
  • Your friends say the company is a great place to work – 74 percent;
  • Company created great impression through hiring process – 74 percent; or,
  • Company has very positive reviews online – 72 percent.

This doesn’t mean employers should immediately start slashing pay levels because people want to work for them either way. The findings are a testament to the competitive recruiting power of an employment brand that conveys a desirable work culture, stability and growth prospects.

More than half of the survey respondents (52 percent) said they are searching for a fulfilling career and not just a job, and they will use a variety of resources to gather information on an organization before they submit an application:

  • Search on Google or other search engine – 70 percent;
  • Read the company website – 55 percent;
  • Read recent news about the company online – 48 percent;
  • Ask friends or family about the company – 48 percent;
  • Research the company on Facebook – 40 percent;
  • Search on Yelp, Glassdoor or other rating site – 40 percent; and,
  • Follow the company on Twitter – 36 percent

Regardless of the information source, a strong employment brand attracts employees who will be more passionate, creative and productive because workers who believe in their employers’ mission are naturally the best people to carry out the mission.

What’s more, the employment brand will help the organization attract and retain the best talent year-after-year and become less likely to make a bad hire – a leading factor of employee turnover. A single bad hire, according to a 2010 CareerBuilder report, cost one-in-four employers more than $50,000.

Strong employment brand leads to healthy consumer brand

The CareerBuilder and Inavero survey also illustrates how negative perceptions of a company’s employment brand can directly affect the company’s consumer brand. Meaning, job seekers who are disappointed with their experience applying for or interviewing with a company are more likely than others to not support that company in the consumer marketplace:

  • 78 percent of dissatisfied job seekers will tell friends or family about the experience with the company.
  • 25 percent of dissatisfied job seekers will buy less of the company’s products or services.
  • 17 percent of dissatisfied job seekers will post something about the company on social media.

A poor experience with a company representative or a lack of follow-up with passed-over candidates can risk alienating potential customers, as well as their friends, family and expansive social media universe.

Developing and maintaining a strong employment brand that is consistently carried through all internal and external touch points of the organization is critical in sourcing the right human capital and preventing an unnecessary hit to customer loyalty and a company’s consumer brand.