Find out how your employer brand really impacts your talent, and what impact mobilization, and trends like the gig economy is having on employers.

In today’s fiercely competitive job market, establishing and maintaining a consistent employer brand is a crucial tool for attracting and retaining the right kind of talent in the long term. A strong, independent profile and positive perception as an employer makes it easier to recruit the very best candidates. By increasing their identification with the company and creating an emotional bond, it enhances the loyalty of highly-qualified and committed employees.

Richard Jager, Chief Sales Officer with Randstad, discusses the importance of your employer brand to attract, and retain talent, and what impact mobilization, and trends like the gig economy is having on employers.

Q: Richard, given your company's extensive research on the subject, and based on insights from the Randstad Employer Brand Research, how is talent mobilization changing the market for potential employees today, in your opinion?

A: The employment landscape is far different than it has been in the past and it continues to change every day. The vast improvements of both computational as well as communication-based technology have made it possible for modern employees to perform essential tasks thousands of miles away from their employers.

With the growing trend of virtual employment comes a higher rate of talent mobilization. As geographical boundaries are becoming less and less prohibitive, globalization makes it easier to seek out new employment opportunities. The result is a larger job market with more intense competition.

From the perspective of the employer, the growing market makes it more essential than ever to find ways to attract and retain top talent. It also means employers need to spend even more time and resources on talent acquisition measures such as improving employer branding.

In our Employer Branding Research, we found that 70% of employee/employer expectations  are continually rising, due in part to the growing talent pool and number of potential employers that come with greater talent mobilization.

Because of this, it’s never been more important to stand out as an employer.

Q: How does the “gig economy” come into play here?

A: The growth of the gig economy is primarily driven by the same forces discussed earlier: increased talent mobilization as a result of globalization. Freelancers are no longer used simply to fill in staffing gaps and tackle rogue projects that have gotten off track. Instead, companies all over the world are beginning to realize the potential benefits of strategically leveraging the gig economy to meet their goals. In fact, we found that 70% of companies today say utilizing freelancers is influencing their business.

To put this growing trend into perspective, an estimated 20-30% of the working-age population in the U.S. and Europe are independent workers, a number strategic management consulting firm McKinsey & Company puts at 162 million. With numbers like that, no one can look at the rising gig economy as a simple fad.

As such, employers need to start systematically incorporating freelancers into the overall talent management process rather than categorizing them as a separate entity entirely. Managed Services Programs (MSPs) and Freelancer Management Systems (FMSs) such as those offered by Randstad can help modern companies get the most out of the growing gig economy and offer a whole new level of cost-effective and flexible staffing.

Q: With the rise of talent mobilization alongside the growing gig economy, what can businesses do today to attract and retain talent?

A: The result of rising talent mobilization and the growing gig economy is a higher rate of competition in the marketplace. Talent acquisition is no longer restricted by location, but neither are potential employers. It is becoming increasingly necessary, then, for companies to stand out to potential talent. 

One way to do that is by focusing on strategic employer branding. In addition to targeting your company’s “ideal employee” demographic, employer branding has been shown to carry a range of other benefits, as well. For instance, companies with strong employer branding have 10% lower payroll costs, 28% lower staff turnover, a 46% lower indexed cost-per-hire, and 84% of employees would leave their current job to work for a company with a better corporate reputation.

One of the key factors in mitigating rising competition, then, is a strong employer brand.

Q: What kinds of trends have you noticed when it comes to company branding in the past year?

A: The most surprising trend we were able to identify in the Randstad Employer Brand Research was that there is a major discord between core values sought by potential talent and the perceived core values of employers.

For instance, while salary and benefits continues to be the most important factor for potential employees when seeking out a position, long-term job security, pleasant work atmosphere, and work-life balance are the next highest values, in that order, for potential talent.

When we evaluated the top perceived core values of employers, however, they ranked highest on financial health, strong management, and good training. In fact, only one of the top core values for potential employees was in the top five values for employers.

The disconnect between employers and the talent they are trying to attract can be a serious downfall in such a competitive market.

Q: Do you have any tips for companies looking to increase the visibility of their employer brand?

A: The most important piece of advice when it comes to employer branding is to do your research. Connect with your target potential employee demographic and find out what values are truly important to them. Then, take the steps to see where your company values and their desired values align and adjust your company image accordingly.

Another crucial aspect of effective employer branding is regular re-evaluation. Many companies regard branding as a one-time project when, in reality, the most successful brands continue to evolve over time. Branding is a strategy, not a task. And when implemented and maintained correctly, it’s a strategy that can make your company stronger, more flexible, and filled with high-quality talent.