HR meets marketing

15 january 2018

Establishing a distinct employer brand is paramount in today’s recruiting landscape... More and more companies are realizing that job descriptions don’t work anymore. So instead, employers are taking a page from marketing and developing employer brands that position their firms as most-desired landing spots for (prospective) employees. The value of branding will always be hard to track, but in the long run, creating a brand that candidates remember and identify with will be hugely valuable to your company. The issue is, to justify investing resources in branding, you need to show that it’s working. That’s why HRbuilders has chosen this topic for our next monthly workshop for our HR freelance community. Tonight we’re expecting almost 40 HR freelancers eager to learn more on Employer Branding and how to increase ROI on EB campaigns. To get warmed up, we dove into some great content on employer branding. Enjoy! (long read!)

Recruiting has exploded into full blown marketing.

"Recruiting is a process of figuring out where your potential employees are, and encouraging them to apply. This is no different than marketing, which is the process of figuring out where your potential customers are, and encouraging them to buy”.That’s how Rabi Safi kicks off his publish on ROI on employer branding that we read.

Start with strategy!

Employer Branding has become top of mind for most forward thinking Talent Acquisition and HR teams. However, many of these efforts fail due to a lack of clearly defined strategy.

It’s key to know what you’re measuring, before you can measure it.

Align Metrics with Talent Acquisition Goals

So how do you measure? There are a number of ways to measure the benefits of your employment branding efforts, and as the field evolves, more metrics are bound to develop:

  • Retention Rate
  • Employee Engagement
  • Quality of Hire
  • Cost Per Hire
  • Number of Applicants

Which metrics matter most?

But which metric do you use? If your business is filling top executive positions, the number of applicants will not fit your particular business objective. If you are filling positions for an industry with a traditionally high turn over rate, you might want to focus on cost per hire. So it all depends on your objectives and talent acquistion goals.

The number of applications is the standard metric by which many Employer Branding programs are judged. And the logic is simple. A better Employer Brand attracts more applicants. The problem though, according to this article, is that there are a lot of other reasons why application numbers can fluctuate.

That’s why you could also try these 3 (more accurate) ways to measure your branding programs and track their value:

1. Building your Talent Promoter Score (TPS)

TPS (or Talent Promoter Score) is a measure of how likely a candidate is to refer friends or colleagues to your organisation. Turning candidates into brand advocates is possibly the best indicator of branding success. It shows that their interactions with your company have been so positive that they’re actively spreading the word and promoting your brand. To measure your TPS, you could send candidates a simple survey asking them how likely they are to recommend your company to their friends. Candidates can select a score between 0 and 10 that shows their willingness to promote your brand to their friends.That way you can find the detractors (0-4),the passives (5-8) and the promoters (9-10). The ROI of employer branding initiatives can be seen clearly by an increase in the number of brand promoters over time.

2. Tracking your Employee lifetime value (ELTV)

A strong Employer Brand doesn’t just apply to your candidates, it has an incredibly positive effect on employee engagement and retention, two other key metrics that companies use to measure the ROI of their brand. ELTV represents the total net value over time that an employee brings your organisation. It’s a great way to track the effect of brand on your team. Every person’s ELTV spans across their entire lifecycle as an employee, starting on Day 1 and ending when they leave the company. The employee lifecycle at most companies is getting shorter every year and this has sparked a growing concern around employee engagement and led many companies to turn some of their employer branding efforts inward to improve retention. This is highly effective. Good employees want to feel valued, they want to work at great companies, and they want to do something meaningful with their careers. A compelling employer brand ticks these boxes.

Companies with great culture and a powerful Employer Brand
can get big returns on employee engagement,
productivity and ultimately ELTV.


Here are a few ways to spot Employer Branding ROI by measuring ELTV:

  • Reduced ramp time (i.e. time before someone is adding value)
  • Increased level of value that employees provide
  • Prolonged increased level of value over time
  • Increased retention and average employee tenure

3. Measuring quality of hire

Employer branding can’t solve poor hiring decisions.

Bad hires can be hugely destructive to your organisation and can’t be solved by employer branding. What employer branding can do though, is help a company start relationships with the kinds of candidates that they really want to get in their building. This is where candidate personas come in: what does the ideal candidate look like: what are skills, experience and characteristics that make up your ideal new hire.

Next, if you have a good idea of your target candidate, you can craft employer branding campaigns that will help your company stand out to that kind of person.

Allocate Budget Based on Past Successful Hires

According to this article you should also mine the data you have about your employee base to discover trends that match up with your selected metrics. If an employee referral bonus is pushing your cost per hire above target with little difference in the quality of hire, perhaps you should consider relocating those funds.

And it is key to look beyond sourcing channels, too: your highest employee engagement rates may come from those who experienced highly employer-branded interviews and thus had a head start in onboarding compared to employees hired through less differentiated interviews.

Employer branding, too many cooks in the kitchen?

The number of people involved in approving your employer brand: Is it one? Three? 27?

The more opinions assessing a creative idea,
the less unique the final idea will be.

In the world of employer brand marketing, this is called “having too many cooks in the kitchen.” The point is this: More often than not, a great creative idea “gets through” because that decision was made by one or a few individuals who felt free to be bold …

A recent survey mentioned in this article found that a majority of CEOs believe they have the primary responsibility for building their firm’s employer brand, while both Marketing and HR perceive that they each hold the majority stake

The best approach is to invite all of these stakeholders to the approval table,
but establish clear lines of final decision-making.

Ideally, your approvers should be small in number, thoroughly informed, and have 'some skin in the game'. But that still leaves us with our original question: Exactly how many people should be involved in approving your ad agency’s employer brand creative product? The answer: One less than as few as possible :-)

Employer Branding 2020

In this study we found that SoMe will become the most important digital channel and that the future of employer branding will be all about unifying your employer brand with your consumer brand. And this change will require a much closer cooperation among different stakeholders, especially between marketing en HR. we guess this explains why more and more freelance marketing and communication specialists are reaching out to HRbuilders to join our HR freelance community. And we get extremely excited by this trend :-)

So where does your company stand?

We found this great graph on Talent acquisition maturity. What level is your company currently at?

Talent acquisition maturity model
And if you want to dive all in be sure to also check out this article!

Let’s connect!

At HRbuilders we are committed to connecting great people in HR and we get our kicks out of shaking things up in HR.

  • Are you a freelance marketeer, eager to implement your marketing wits in HR, be sure to reach out to us!
  • Are you looking for an expert to help you roll out your employer branding campaign or to support you in creating the ultimate candidate experience, call us! For sure HRbuilders can connect you to a seasoned freelancer that adds value from day 1

Have a great day!

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