How to Grow Your Tech Startup With Effective Employer Branding

Effective employer branding boasts the ability to halve your average cost per hire and reduce employee turnover by almost 30%.

At the startup stage you may feel stretched thin and dismiss employer branding as something you can put your time into later down the line. Don’t make that mistake. In today’s competitive talent market, it could make all the difference in attracting the right people and achieving your business growth goals.

In essence, employer branding is your reputation as an employer and your value proposition to your employees. Whether you actively work to create an employer brand or not, you have one, so you might as well make it positive.

So, what is effective employer branding?
And what steps can you take to improve yours?

Have a Clear Mission

Every company has a reason for existing, the key is keeping the ‘why’ at the heart of the everyday life of the business. Having a clear mission statement that everyone can get behind is essential to building strong internal employer branding.

Nuuvem, the biggest online gaming store in Latin America, is a great example of a company with strong employer branding. On their careers page their mission of creating a global impact through game is the first thing you read. The colours, images and writing style reflects Nuuvem’s passion for gaming; a passion they are looking to find in a future employee.

Another great example of employer branding is Airbnb. Their careers page has a clear message that ties in with their company mission. Their mission installs the belief that your job at Airbnb really can take you anywhere. This is exciting, and this love of travel and discovering new areas of the world is what they want in an employee.

It is easy to look at these big companies and think that they have the time and money to invest into branding, but they wouldn’t have got where they are without a clear, shared mission. Shining a spotlight on your core values in the early days of your company will allow you to grow it right from the start.

A great way to keep your mission at the heart of your team is by setting OKR’s to help you to monitor your progress and introduce staff incentives to keep everybody on the same track. Ensuring that you share these core values in the startup stage is key; it is easier to ensure that a team of 5 value the same goals and milestones than a team of 50.

Candidate Persona

A clear mission will help with hiring, you need clarity on what you want and need. Use this clarity to build a candidate persona and improve your external branding. Talk about the projects the candidate will be working on if they join your company. What would last week have looked like to them? What next week might look like? How will the candidate be important in the future of the business? Is there ample opportunity for career progression? These are the questions you need to be answering to get the best results.

As an exciting startup, this is where you can highlight serious opportunities for personal and professional growth and showcase the benefits of working in a fast moving and varied role.

Career pages need to include photos of the team both in and outside of the office environment. If the candidate opens the website and is met with a sea of smiling faces, it immediately creates a good impression of the office culture and brings your team to life. Even something as simple as how the team are dressed could help any prospective employee envisage how they will fit into your team dynamic.

Video is another great way to capture testimonials from your current employees. Your careers page needs a clear call to action. How will an interested candidate communicate their interest? Make it clear and simple.

Good Company Culture

Our Retention Report for tech scaleups proved a good company culture is the most important factor in retaining talent. But how do you go about building one?

Expecting good employer branding to be a by-product of a great culture is not enough. You need to use your employer branding to bring that fantastic culture to life and let prospective candidates see what it feels like to be part of your team.

Encourage the use of employee run social pages, promoting the day-to-day life of your company. These accounts are free but work as great advertisement. The employee voice is 3x more credible than the CEO in painting a picture of life in your startup.

Posting regular content such as images and videos that consistently reinforce your company’s mission is a great way of boosting your employer branding. Setting up a content calendar to keep on top of your marketing can help alleviate some of the pressures faced in creating and sharing consistent content.

Money can be tight at the startup stage, but social media is an affordable tool that can boost your talent pipeline. Perhaps you aren’t looking to expand right now but establishing these good relationships early on can help you scaleup in the future. Keeping in touch via social pages, attending industry events and networking allows you to get to know your community. Help them see your vision and the role they can play in this journey.

Social media spans so many different platforms from Instagram to LinkedIn and the opportunities this presents in terms of employer branding is invaluable. In fact, 73% of millennials found their last position through social media. It is important to be consistent across all these platforms. For example, use a recognisable colour or logo. Sticking to one colour palette across all platforms, products and digital services can increase your brand recognition by 80%.

Regular employee engagement activities, such as meals or team drinks really help bring everyone together outside of the office environment. Establishing a strong EVP (Employee Value Proposition) through regular feedback can help you tailor your employee experience and maximise the efficiency of day-to-day work. Set milestones that you can celebrate together as a team.

In a small startup team where roles can be broad, it is important that everyone feels supported. Encouraging regular feedback, listening, and acting on any suggestions, is vital in keeping an open conversation and plays an important role in forming an inclusive culture.

When hiring new people, including everyone in the onboarding process will improve hiring experience and help boost employer branding. It is everyone’s job to create good culture.

Honesty and Transparency

It can be hard to cut through the noise during a job search, so by being transparent you are enabling the candidate to trust the process. There are many uncertainties at the startup stage. For some this is the appeal, but for others signals reservations that need to be discussed. Employees value honesty from a company, they don’t want to get the job and turn up on day one and feel as if they have been lied to.

Employer branding is becoming more and more important as our use of social media changes with the times. News travels fast, and bad news travels quicker. Don’t set yourself up for failure before you’ve even begun.
Your budget for marketing may not be a priority just yet but appreciating and celebrating your employees is free.

By holding your why at the heart of what you do, you are pushing for strong internal branding. Taking this culture and translating it in your customer and candidate experience will grab the attention of the right people to join you in your path to success.

We’d love to help you on this journey and share more about how we’ve helped startups and scaleups with their employer branding. If you want to discuss any of these topics further don’t hesitate to get in touch: 01174 280600 or email alan@isluk.co.uk

Resources, Startup & scaleup resource hub

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