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What are the benefits of employer branding for SMEs?

Tags: Employer Brand, Recruitment Process

A strong employer brand helps you attract, hire, engage, and retain more of the right people. Even in an increasingly competitive talent market; even when you’re not a well-known brand with a huge budget. Keep reading to understand the benefits of employer branding for SMEs. 

 

Recruitment is never a walk in the park, but recruiting for small businesses can be especially challenging. 

Hiring tends to feel pretty easy until you hit around 100-odd people. Then you exhaust your network and referrals, and suddenly you’re cast into the job board wildlands. 

Suddenly you’re competing with the KPMGs and Googles of the world. And you’ve got about zero-point-zero-one seconds to make an impression on jobseekers, who’re browsing thousands of almost-identical jobs.

The reason the KPMGs and Googles of the world don’t usually struggle for applications (although they’ve got many other challenges) is the strength of their brand. To start competing, you need to invest into your own brand. 

But is it even worth investing in employer branding when you’re competing with names everyone knows in their sleep? 

Yes, it’s worth it. Employer branding benefits everyone. Let’s talk about why. (And yes, EB is doable without a huge budget.)

 

9 benefits of employer branding for SMEs

Employer branding benefits recruiters, candidates, managers, and ultimately the organisation’s bottom line. Here are some of the biggest benefits of employer branding activity — even for small and medium businesses with limited time and money.   

 

1 – Attract more applications

Imagine you’re scrolling your mobile in five minutes of downtime during an absurdly busy day. Or during the fifteen minutes you get to see your kids, as you put them to bed for the only time that week.

Most jobseekers simply don’t have time to apply to every role out there. They barely have time to apply to any. So how do they decide?

Often the answer is employer brand. They apply to ABC Health Ltd because they’ve heard it’s a great place to work. Or because a cool careers video popped up on their Instagram feed last week. 

One of the most immediate benefits of employer branding is an increase in applications, as jobseekers know who you are enough to spend their precious and scarce time applying. 

 

2 – Get more offers accepted

As recruiters, we typically believe our business is special and unique. And it is. But unless you’re telling that story to candidates, they have no idea. And good people might have five, ten, or more offers to choose from. 

If none of those opportunities has a strong employer brand, they’ll look to transactional factors to guide their decision: How much can you pay? How much holiday do you offer? Few small businesses can compete on those terms, especially if you’re playing alongside bigger businesses in your space.

Building your employer brand helps you show candidates you’re a great fit for their career ambitions. And stops an endless race on money that you probably won’t win. 

 

3 – Improve quality of hire

Great employer branding doesn’t mean spraying budget at social media or using ChatGPT to produce generic content. It means really tapping into what makes you special and unique, and sharing that story with as many people as possible. 

When you do that, your employer brand becomes a beacon for the right sort of people for you. People who’ll thrive in your culture. People who’ll relish your management style. People who’ll be motivated by your mission and share your values. 

In other words, it delivers better-fit employees who buy into you as a business. Better-fit employees who stay longer, add value for longer, and help your business thrive. 

 

4 – Strengthen relationships with passive candidates

As much as 70% of the workforce consists of passive candidates — people who aren’t actively looking for a job and are unlikely to stumble on your job advert. 

The beauty of employer branding is that you’re creating (hopefully) engaging, interesting content that anyone in your target audience can enjoy — and remember. So you’re more likely front of mind when they are looking for new opportunities. 

That needn’t take huge budgets and great production values. Some of the most popular content on Instagram are day in the life videos, often snapped straight from a phone. Employer branding benefits your passive pipeline because you’re building relationships and forging positive associations in a natural, engaging way. 

 

5 – Hire faster

When you have a strong employer brand, you’ll typically get more applications from more, better-fit candidates faster. And they’ll often be more inclined to accept offers fast, rather than waiting and seeing what comes in.

When candidates really want to work with you, hiring can be surprisingly fast and easy. That’s one of the big benefits of employer branding, certainly longer term as momentum starts to build. Fewer fence sitters; more hot-off-the-press opportunities.

 

6 – Save £££ on advertising 

Imagine the next time you hire, you don’t even have to advertise. You have a pool of ready-to-call contacts, some who’d even leave an existing role for the chance to work with you. 

With strong employer branding, great pipelines aren’t a pipe dream. A strong brand makes you an employer of choice among your employees of choice. Less money on advertising; more great hires. 

That’s one of the major benefits of employer branding, especially for small businesses where every penny counts.

 

7 – Cut out agencies

Recruitment agencies tend to charge around 15% to 30% of salary depending on factors like seniority and role difficulty. To state the obvious, that’s a big cost. And an unsustainable one. 

Say you’re hiring for three developers and hoping to pay a market average salary of £50,000. If you wind up going to agencies, that’d cost you somewhere between £22,500 and £45,000. And that’s if you successfully hire at £50,000 in the first place. Without a strong employer brand, you’re more likely to get pushed up on salary to compete, with the corresponding increase in agency fees.

When your candidate attraction is strong, you can save the agency support for if/when you really need it. 

 

8 – Boost employee retention

The benefits of employer branding aren’t only positives for recruitment. A strong, authentic employer brand is a major prong of great hiring, but it’s the external reflection of an internal truth. (Hung Lee hosted a great panel talking about this recently: read the write-up here).

That is, your EB tells the story of how you treat your employees. How your people feel about working with you. When you start codifying and strengthening your employer brand, you’re tapping directly into your employees’ experience. 

The stronger your brand, the happier, more productive, more engaged, and more loyal your existing workforce. Which in turn, reduces the need for replacement recruitment, making recruiters lives easier. 

 

9 – Improve business performance

When you have happy, productive, engaged employees, and you’re able to hire happy, productive, engaged employees-to-be consistently and fast, you’ve built the gold standard people function. 

When that happens, it means the business is better placed to meet its organisational goals. Better delivery for customers. Better project fulfilment. Better ideas. More resilience. More adaptability. A stronger culture. 

Employer brand benefits everyone because it’s the foundation for a thriving organisation that understands its identity; who it serves; it’s mission and values; and everyone’s pulling in the same direction to deliver. 

 

Employer branding is the lynchpin of better hiring

Investing into employer brand can feel like a luxury for SMEs with limited recruitment budgets. If you’re a small team, or even a team of one, taking any strategic step back can feel impossible. (Especially if you’re still relying on spreadsheets 🤢).

But hopefully this list has shown that the benefits of employer branding are too enormous to ignore. Employer branding is the lynchpin of overhauling how your hiring works, to build a talent function that’s much better able to meet the growing demands of the business. Faster, and for less.

 

Not sure how to get started? Read Hung Lee’s five tips to employer branding on a budget. 

Tribepad Gro is ready built, ready-to-go recruitment software for growing teams. Take your recruitment to the next level. Get your free recruitment diagnostic session with Tribepad consultants Dan and Hayley to learn what could be stalling your growth.

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