As a versatile project manager and HR content writer, Michelle develops successful organizational development programs and shares insights with the world at large to facilitate healthy workplace cultures of diversity, inclusivity, and advancement. She has written about manager development, remote work, project & time management, employee well-being, and other relevant topics to help people excel in the modern workplace.
Pub: November 20 2020
Upd: May 17 2022
Did you know that 75% of job-seekers consider an employer’s brand before applying for a job? With Glassdoor, social media, and other company review sites, it’s become effortless for employees to share feedback about their experience working for a company - and it’s something that weighs heavily in many candidate’s application processes.
Table of Contents:
- How L&D Opportunities are Linked to Employer Brand
- How can you use L&D to build your company’s brand?
How L&D Opportunities are Linked to Employer Brand
When thinking about your personal experience at your company, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? This employer brand is your company’s first impression - it tells people what they can expect once they sign a contract saying they will contribute to your workforce. This is a crucial piece of information since the #1 obstacle candidates experience when searching for a job is not knowing what it is like to work at that organization.
Strong employee brands attract and retain top talent by showing those employees that their work is valued. And what’s the best way to reward strong work? A substantial compensation and benefits package, maybe - but top performers are always hungry to improve. By satisfying their hunger for growth with development opportunities, mentorship, and coaching, therefore fulfilling those needs, you’ll never have a shortage of people knocking down your door to join your team. A good corporate learning strategy becomes a critical part of the company and HR strategy.
According to a recent LinkedIn study, the following metrics are most often used to assess the quality of an employer’s brand: retention, quality of hire, cost of hire, and # of applicants for the position. High employee retention is a strong indicator of a powerful employee brand. When you have disengaged employees looking elsewhere to fulfill their need to grow, it costs the company in recruiting time and productivity. Additionally, 72% of employers agree that employer brand has a significant impact on hiring.
Another study from HBR analyzed the driving forces of retention and engagement. Not surprisingly, growth opportunities, a positive work culture, and fair compensation were at the top of the list. When top performers leave a company, the most common reason is, “I just didn’t see the right opportunities here.” This impacts operational strategy in several ways - lost talent, lost productivity, and potentially lost recruitment opportunities. When you think about your employer brand, how does learning & development impact it?
The new workforce wants to keep and grow their personal skills. According to a recent Deloitte study, more than two-thirds of millennials “believe it is management’s job to provide them with accelerated career development opportunities in order for them to stay.” The retention and development of existing talent feed directly into your employer brand, which then attracts high caliber talent.
From a numbers perspective, strong employer brands save companies money while generating more profits. Attracting higher caliber employees and developing them with a successful organizational learning strategy leads to increased employee engagement numbers, which leads to increased dedication. This translates itself directly into increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, which equals profits. There is a positive correlation between brand satisfaction and performance.
But how do we get there?
Learning and development opportunities are directly tied to employee performance and engagement. Employees want to know that their company cares about them, their development, and their future growth opportunities. This kind of strong engagement helps build an employer brand as a place where people want to work and contribute.
It is a reciprocal cycle that attracts and develops top talent - employees come and stay for the growth. If your employees are not engaged, it becomes infinitely harder to present yourself as a desirable place to work. A Glassdoor study shows that when people leave their companies, they often move on to organizations with a higher Glassdoor rating or a more substantial company brand. In fact, job portals these days are leveraging technology in creative and meaningful ways to provide genuine and as much information about a company as possible. For example, here is a job post from Urban Outfitters, which includes vital information for potential candidates from ratings about work culture, growth, and work-life balance to data about different industries their employees have experience in, size of the business they previously worked in, gender ratio and age distribution.
So how can you use L&D to build your company’s brand?
- Offer continuous professional development opportunities.
Having an L&D program that offers continuous professional development opportunities help employer brands stand out as a great place to work. OverDrive, a digital distributor, provides employees with a professional development handbook that showcases different L&D opportunities throughout the company. It helps employees determine a schedule for their learning and development activities with frequent encouragement and reinforcement from their manager.
- Cultivate an environment of learning.
Another way to build your employer brand is to cultivate an environment of learning. This needs to come from the top so that senior leadership is on board with learning and development initiatives. Suppose you don’t have your leadership team on board. In that case, it’s possible that employees might feel like they need to continually sacrifice learning opportunities in favor of taking on more projects or attending non-essential meetings. If your company culture encourages employees to take time for L&D activities, employees come back with more skills needed to excel in their positions and grow within the company.
- Develop all employees regardless of tenure or position
Learning initiatives should not be restricted to managers or employees with more seniority. For L&D programming to have a positive effect on your employee brand, opportunities should be available throughout the company to whoever might want them. Junior employees need just as much encouragement and attention as senior employees. Cultivating the skills of your management team while ignoring the development of entry-level employees or individual contributors is a recipe for disaster. This can lead to greater employee retention and longevity, ensuring that those entry-level employees remain and grow to larger roles within the company.
- Focus on human elements
Companies using L&D programming and technology to facilitate more human engagement and interaction will see a higher return rate than those who are just doing it to tick off a box. Learners need to be part of the decision and creation process by giving feedback on what will resonate most with them or provide them with a chance to share their knowledge with their colleagues. Etsy does an excellent job with this in their L&D programming by letting employees showcase their skills with interested learners throughout the company.
It’s essential to think of L&D as an investment in your employer brand to be considered as an employer of choice. As large parts of the workforce begin to retire, employers must work even harder to carve out their share of a shrinking value pool. To do so, they must communicate the value they provide through a strong employer brand and value proposition. Upskilled employees provide better service, leading to increased customer loyalty and engagement.
Employees themselves are also the most important brand advocates that you could have. If your teams are engaged and focused on growth, they’re more likely to rate the company positively. This is one of the most influential tools you have for creating a strong employer brand - potential employees are more inclined to trust the feedback of current employees over how a company brands itself.
Make sure you’re having consistent career conversations and getting feedback about what’s working for your team or not working. Learn how you can continue to support them in their career goals. With Hirebook’s check-in and 1-on-1 features, you are equipped with the tools you need to not only keep performance and engagement high but to help you develop substantial learning and development strategies to retain and attract top talent.
Hirebook is designed to be your partner in employee performance and engagement, empowering leaders to create more positive employee experiences while improving employee advocacy and organizational performance. Try out Hirebook today to support learning & development at your company while building your employer brand.
Photo credit - wayhomestudio