Some people think that an employer’s image can only be developed with extravagant recruitment campaigns and advertising. Not so.

Developing their employer brand is something that has been on the minds of communication and HR personnel, and recruiters for years. However, many are held back by tight budgets, lack of time, and the challenge of distributing responsibilities. What can be done if the budget won’t cover this extremely important work?  Some people think that an employer’s image can only be developed with extravagant recruitment campaigns and advertising. Not so. Even if the current budget doesn’t allow for developing the organization’s image as an employer, that is no reason to give up trying. Below are a few hints for meeting the challenge on a low budget.

How are we doing?

According to a recent study by Universum, 43% of experienced professionals plan to change jobs within the next year. Wow! That’s a pretty eye-opening number. So when it comes to finding the best people and attracting them to your organization, you definitely shouldn’t overlook the employees you already have. After all, if the existing staff are not inspired by working for you, why should others be any more enthusiastic? What’s vital for the organization’s image as an employer among the target audience is your existing employees. These are your most important mouthpieces and brand builders.

Look in the mirror, learn from what you see

Who are we really as a company? What inspires our employees? What sets us apart? Sometimes it’s a good idea to stop and get to the heart of your business, to get a clear picture of the organization’s employer image among people within the company. This involves examining what makes your organization most distinctive, for example. Surprisingly, many organizations still haven’t developed an employer value proposition (EVP) based on facts and crystallized thinking. 

Assumptions can be very misleading. So ask your staff! It’s effective, and it costs nothing. And if this look in the mirror turns out to be less than flattering, you shouldn’t be surprised that the best candidates are not exactly beating a path to your door.  Without a clear view of your own internal employer image and of the experiences of your employees, it’s really hard to stand out from the crowd as an employer, not to mention understand what message to send. We were visited last week by Hannes Snellman and Jenni Ristiniemi, who shared their story about crystallizing an employer value proposition. You can read hints from Jenni’s blog here (sorry :(, only in finnish).

#us

Job seekers are eager to find out what the working environment of a prospective employer is really like, and about the people they would be working with every day. Fortunately, the best and most affordable advertising and communication channel is accessible from every laptop and smartphone – social media. Social media is great for communicating the feel of a workplace through photos and videos. Social media channels are constantly developing new features, such as video content editing. What’s more, content can be created very easily, anytime and anywhere. Funny social media campaigns can arouse the interest of even the most passive jobseekers, as well as reaching those actively searching for something new.

However, cold and impersonal content will impress nobody. The organizations that are most successful in attracting applicants through social media are those that get their staff to produce content together. Take a look at Psycon’s new Instagram account. The frequently updated content is produced by our own staff.

All hands on deck

However, good content is not enough by itself. Networking and sharing content ensures that it reaches the broadest audience possible. It’s a good idea to use employee networks to spread the message, and to encourage your organization’s staff to spread the word through the grapevine.

So, in short, there’s no reason to lose heart if the budget doesn’t (yet) stretch to development of your organization’s image as an employer. For one thing, your employer brand can’t be built with money alone. The task is not a marketing campaign – it’s hands-on work. Remember that perceptions are created and developed by many means: activities, interactions, people.