Worried about retention? Learn how to improve employer branding

Feb 2, 2022 | Blog

Whether it’s the upset of the pandemic, the varied responses from different organisations, or something else altogether, it’s a candidate’s market at the moment.

Imagine yourself at a wedding. Mingling amongst 100-odd people, the majority of which you’ve never met (and will likely never see again). Conversation topics are limited to discussing the beauty and grace of the newlyweds, the quality of the food, where you happen to live currently, and – crucially – the “what do you do?” question.

You’ll see two camps here. The “I work in [marketing/sales/recruitment]” and the “I work for [Google/The MOD/the latest, most-popular FinTech]. For the latter, they’re working somewhere with a strong employer brand – one they’re proud to shout about, and/or confident the average wedding guest will be familiar with. 

Everyone wants their organisation to sit in the second category. And now, more than ever, it’s important that you make that a reality.

Recruitment & retention: the number 1 challenge for 2022

‘The Great Resignation’. The not-so-great people problem that’s been plaguing HR for months. Whether it’s the upset of the pandemic, the varied responses from different organisations, or something else altogether, it’s a candidate’s market at the moment. And that means resignations are coming, and there’ll be roles to hire for.

Employer branding could be the silver bullet for both retention and rehiring – using a positive public-facing image both to boost loyalty, and attract new employees. And some organisations have already recognised the relationship between the two, with 19% of companies with a focus on improving retention making an effort to promote their own brand to existing staff. 

What is employer branding?

Your ‘employer brand’ is the counterpart to your commercial brand – speaking to your existing team, potential candidates, and explaining what kind of employer you are to the wider market. It’s about what you offer to employees, how well they’re treated (something your customers care about too – see Brewdog’s challenges in June 2021), and your broader ‘culture’

The significance of employer branding

Some sectors have thrived, many have struggled, and the whole perception of work has shifted – as it always does when a world-wide catastrophe takes place. 

But employer brand is important in ‘precedented times’ as much as during a global pandemic. 

Like everything else, it comes down to the numbers:

  • Invest in your employer brand? Get top candidates, drop recruiting costs by 43%
  • Don’t? Expect costs of around $5000 per employee, and spend 10% more per hire

Why? For 50% of us, even a big pay rise won’t offset a bad reputation. And whether that’s because of how our employer reflects our personal ‘brand’ – in wedding smalltalk, for example – or because of the implications it has about how supported we’ll be, that’s something to consider.

3 employer branding examples from great places to work

1. Groupon & Employee Feedback

Groupon recognised the power of employee feedback, after seeing their Glassdoor company reviews page has 11x more visits than their own website. They jumped on this opportunity by updating their Glassdoor page to speak more closely to their company culture – doubling applicants, and reducing cost-per-application to under £10!

2. Tony’s Chocolonely & 360 Ethics

With a commercial brand identity rooted in human rights, Tony’s Chocolonely has aligned their employer brand to this mission too – with the 1st July off to mark the day slavery was officially banned in Suriname and the Dutch Antilles, with UK workers off on the 23rd of August to mark the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.

3. Etsy & Parental Leave Stories

Etsy offers 6½ months of paid parental leave for its employees – an impressive act in its own right, and one they were keen to shout about. To do so, they looked to their own teams. They ran a video campaign with real-life stories, both promoting their own employer brand and furthering the call for paid parental leave as an important tool for equality. 

The secret to developing an employer brand is simple… listening

Knowing how to develop, grow, or even fix your employer brand proposition is a daunting task – but there’s one simple place to start. And that’s with your current staff. They can tell why they applied to work for you, why they’re still here, why they’re happy or unhappy, and what the perception of your organisation is from the inside.

This means starting with a period of research – like employee surveys. This could be asking for general attitudes, lifecycle surveys for onboarded staff or leavers, or matching up “people performance” against the organisation’s output.  Whatever approach, developing and promoting employer branding  begins with listening.

It’s a team effort: employer branding = HR marketing

Think about your wider brand. That’s been created and promoted by every part of your organisation: product, customer service, marketing, leadership, even external agency support. It was honed and developed with great care, and the same approach should be taken here.

Think about employer branding as a human resources management strategy. You’ll need support from content and design teams, from the people who build your product itself, from the people who speak to customers, from your people team. It’s a big job but, as we’ve discussed, it’s a crucial one.

Your first step? Qlearsite Lifecycle Surveys

Every task has a starting point, and this one comes down to identifying what’s right and what’s wrong about your employer brand. And the easiest way to do that is by asking your newest employees, and the ones that are leaving.

  • Onboarding Survey: this tells you how well you’re communicating your brand. Are you developing that employer-employee relationship early on? What could be improved
  • Leavers Survey: learn from your mistakes by understanding why people aren’t sticking around. Are you offering the right salary and benefits? Is your mission not compelling?


It doesn’t have to be an ordeal to send these surveys. With Qlearsite, you can make an account and send a survey in under 15 minutes – and the results are analysed for you, to save even more time. Get started for free, and begin improving your employer branding strategy today!

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