How can your organisation harness the world’s largest professional network to attract talent?
The answer lies in employer branding, or talent branding as the folks at LinkedIn prefer to call it. Chris Brown, Director of UK Talent Solutions at the world’s largest professional network explains how to use LinkedIn to boost your employer branding.
What are the top 5 factors that contribute to a positive employer brand?
There’s lots of research out there already externally and from us explaining the power of a positive employer brand and how that can affect positively the way organisations attract talent and retain talent. But this research we did to highlight how a negative brand might impact, so what we did, we researched loads of people in the UK and asked them what convinces them to work at a company when they’re looking for a job. And the five things which came up as positive factors were about job security, around development opportunities, the way they can work with new teams and also companies sharing their own values. That much is there, that kind of purpose, and also just positive perceptions about the company which they’ve heard in other places.
- Increased job security
- Increased professional development opportunities
- The opportunity to work with a better team
- A company sharing their own personal values
- Positive impressions of the company from past and present employees
What are the top 5 factors that are most likely to put professionals off taking jobs?
I’ve seen so many of the exact opposite, so concerns about job security is one. Poor leadership, bad teams or dysfunctional teams, and then negative impressions that they have or perceptions they’ve heard elsewhere, and a bad reputation among that industry. So they’re the five things that put us off those types of employers.
- Concerns about job security
- Dysfunctional teams
- Poor leadership
- Negative impressions of the company from past and present employees
- A company having a poor reputation among its industry peers
How can you calculate the cost of a bad reputation for a company?
We tried to put a figure on it, and we worked out that the cost of attrition, if you like, or the percentage additional that companies would have to pay is 10% to find and attract talent to replace those people that were leaving. And we worked out, for a company of 10,000 employees, that can add up to more than £4 million a year. So we’ve actually put a figure on the cost of a bad reputation.
What are your best tips for companies that want to boost their reputation online?
This is a question we’re asked a lot, so this is based on my experience and based on all the companies we are working with in the UK. First one I’d say is having a strong presence. What I mean there is having your company and your brand presence built. Having a profile on LinkedIn, Twitter, any other social media, building out that content so it’s interesting, sharing updates through social and through LinkedIn that aren’t just about talent but about all sorts of things that your company might be doing.
The second piece is about involving everybody. The companies we’re working with that seemed to be doing this the best or seemed to be having the most progress with their employer brand are getting their employees – that’s right from CEOs right down to every single employee in their organisation – engaged as well. And what I mean by engaged is companies writing about their experiences, sharing news about their own company. And by doing that, that helps companies amplify the brand and in some respects, accelerates the network effect.
And then the third thing is to be authentic. Over the years at LinkedIn, talking about employer brand, we’ve seen lots of organisations start to build their brand – that presence I talked about. And it’s very easy for all of us to spot authentic content, so you can tell it’s been written by an employee rather than by, for example, a marketing or commerce team. That authenticity, I think, gives those potential candidates real insight into what you can offer.
How exactly does a company get LinkedIn followers?
There’s lots of different ways. Harrods for example just engage their employees. So Harrods, and what we see this quite often, in recruitment teams, for example, would have the internal communications around the fact that we’re now using social media to recruit. This is a big part of our hiring efforts this year, for example, and we value your input as employees and we invite you to share the news that we’re posting. And that’s right up by CEOs. If senior executives are starting to share, build profiles, write blog posts, they start to encourage all their employees to do the same. So at that volume of engagement, this is where the effects really start to show.
There are other ways too. You can put ads around the network. You can direct people to the LinkedIn company page whatever the source is.
What is LinkedIn’s Talent Brand Index and how is it calculated?
Talent Brand Index is a really good tool. We’ve talked about the power of employer brand or talent brand for years and we’ve been talking about it for the last 10, 15 minutes or so. The question we’re often asked in the past is, “It’s all very well, but it’s very intangible. How can I measure it?” and the Talent Brand Index is one of the first ways that we’ve developed, but more broadly could be that anyone’s developed, which actually allows companies to measure it – to measure the impact of their talent brand, and see how it progresses every time. So how it works is we can measure the reach that a company has on social media or LinkedIn by looking at certain activity, in aggregate, in the background. And that activity would be, how big a reach a company has is essentially based on how many employees they have and how many people are connected to those employees. X thousand people are aware of that company is an employer, so we have this number, and then we also look at engagement within that reach.
Of that pool of people that are aware of the company as an employer, how many are engaging with them? And the engagement means are they looking at jobs, are they looking at the assets, the company pages, and so forth, or are they connecting with their employees or viewing their profiles? And then from those two numbers, we divide one by the other and we create an index which essentially is that brand index.