One of the most effective ways in which organizations can strengthen their employee engagement strategies is by enhancing their employer branding. In today’s highly transparent workplace, nothing excites candidates and employees about working for a company than to know its values, culture and mission are aligned with theirs. That’s why you should prioritize investments in your company’s employer branding efforts to attract the workers needed to drive growth.

However, one of the challenges with any employer branding initiative is building a sufficiently robust business case to justify investments. As with any brand work (corporate or product), the aim is to satisfy a mix of soft and hard targets. However, unlike a product brand, building a business case to support an employer brand can be difficult because it doesn’t directly deliver revenues. So how can you convince business leaders that your employer brand needs attention?

Building a robust business case isn’t as hard as it might seem. Facing talent scarcity on many fronts, especially when it comes to digital skills, many C-suite leaders in today’s environment understand the importance of talent attraction. Furthermore, they already understand the price of protracted hiring times: lost revenues, slowed product development and irritated customers.

To help you create a compelling business case, begin by compiling available evidence and data, state a clear goal for the funds you need and clarify what you will be measuring and reporting on. Only by clearly demonstrating the business benefits of a strong employer brand, will you be able to win over executive-level buy-in.

educating decision makers

Although c-suite decision makers today are more inclined to support investments in employer branding, they may need additional education and information before making such commitments. That’s because even though many see the connection between a strong brand and better recruitment results, they still want a better understanding of how your investments can lead to measurable results.

You may also want to help them understand so they don’t view your strategy as a one-time effort. Your employer brand is an ongoing, living entity, and as such requires regular attention. Campaigns may come and go, but they are all part of a continuous effort to maintain or strengthen your brand. You can’t do this without the constant support of human capital and C-suite leaders who need demonstrated value in these investments.

Furthermore, your employer brand is intertwined with your corporate brand, and often each has an impact on the other. Customers are less inclined to purchase from a company with a poor reputation for treating their employees, while candidates tend to stay away from companies with a bad corporate and product brand. By investing in employer branding, you simultaneously raise the value of your corporate and attract customers as well. The challenge, though, is quantifying the impact, which is difficult to achieve.

However, linking your employer brand to recruitment outcomes is more straightforth, and this should be part of the business case you build. By showing how a small investment in budgets and staff resources can have a significant impact on talent acquisition, you can build a strong argument for supporting your employer branding efforts.

So what are the benefits you can potentially gain by improving your employer brand and therefore strengthening your employee connection? Here are some common wins that companies report achieving.

  1. lower cost-per-hire
    Companies with a poor brand spend at least 10% more in salaries to acquire talent, according to LinkedIn. And Glassdoor reported that organizations that invest in their employer brand are three times more likely to make a quality hire.
  2. greater access to talent
    In the same LinkedIn research, nearly half of professionals surveyed would rule out joining any organization that exhibited one of three bad traits: low job security, dysfunctional teams and poor management. Only 28% would do so if they were offered a 10% premium over competing jobs. With a strong employer brand, you’ll have access to more candidates willing to consider joining your business.
  3. shorter time-to-fill
    When you create an attractive employee value proposition (EVP), it will be easier to sell applicants a role within your organization. Furthermore, you’ll likely to have a quicker time to productivity as well.
  4. enhanced engagement
    When you have a strong employer brand, you also tend to have a more engaged workforce. A poor brand can lead to lower engagement. Randstad Sourceright’s Talent Trends survey found that 46% of HR, procurement and C-suite leaders say a strong brand leads to stronger engagement and higher productivity.
  5. higher quality of hire
    Because a strong employer brand leads to a greater number of applicants, your organization can potentially attract more high-quality talent than otherwise.

an effective talent organization 

There are others way that an admired brand can make you a more attractive employer and, therefore, a more effective talent organization. However, you need to build a strong argument for investing in the brand early on. Only by establishing a clear return on investment will you be able to demonstrate to business leaders the necessity of investments and secure the budgeting needed to activate your brand. To do this, consider the following:

  1. set up goals and define project scope
    Because there are so many touch points that talent may encounter with your organization, tightly define what you want to achieve and how you plan to do it. Avoid vague deliverables and milestones; instead set up delivery dates and concrete metrics not subject to interpretation. For instance, you may want to grow followers on LinkedIn as part of your social strategy, so determine a realistic number to reach for.
  2. calculate the benefits 
    What’s the financial payback of your strategy? Can you quantify the enhancements you hope to achieve with your brand? If your brand results in using fewer headhunters or agencies, can you concretely define the savings? There are many other indicators such as increased traffic to your career portals or referrals that lead to successful hires, so consider all possible gains and quantify as much as you can.
  3. translate talent acquisition achievements into business success 
    While business leaders may understand how reducing time to hire leads to greater productivity, they may need clarification on how other benefits of a strong brand can produce better business outcomes. For instance, an effective brand tend to attract more promoters and earn better employer reviews, resulting in access to higher quality talent that raise performance.
  4. consider all costs expended 
    Whether you undertake a short recruitment campaign or overhaul your entire employer branding function, there are a number of internal and external costs to consider. Be realistic when assessing the resources you will need to complete your project. It’s always better overestimate than to under-prepare for the work ahead.

    Like any asset in your organization, your employer brand requires regular attention and investments to retain its value. By demonstrating how your company can gain considerably more than it would spend in this function, you can build a compelling business case that will sure to elevate your ability to acquire the quality talent you need for driving business growth.