Recruitment marketing is quickly becoming one of the hottest topics in business. And for good reason, too.

Believe it or not, 94 percent of candidates are more likely to apply for a job if that company actively manages their employer brand.

My company recently conducted a research study into candidate experience and the power of an effective employer brand. Get this: Over one in four candidates would immediately switch to another brand if they had a poor candidate experience with that company.

This means your employer brand is directly influencing customer decision-making, not just career choice.

There's good news. Simple, powerful and clearly articulated brands can not only attract and retain the best talent--they can even win new customers and radically improve brand image.

To put these ideas into context, I've selected five real-world examples of effective employer brands from LinkedIn's annual TalentConnect Conference in Las Vegas last week:

1. Virgin Media

Graeme Johnson, Virgin Media Head of Resourcing, spoke at TalentConnect about Virgin Media's incredible transformation process.

In 2014, Virgin had a -29 Net Promoter Score and a costly, inefficient recruitment processes. This simply wasn't good enough for a brand that prides itself on exceptional customer (and candidate) experience.

Even worse, thousands of potential candidates (who were already existing Virgin customers) canceled their subscriptions due to poor candidate experience. This was costing Virgin Media an astounding $7 million in lost revenue every year. Talk about proof in the value of an employer brand.

Since then, Virgin has committed itself to becoming a leader in the talent attraction space. Through a series of workshops, Virgin identified the messaging and tone to convey why it's unique and exciting to work for the company.

Their careers website, newly designed app and social recruiting strategies all share that same messaging and tone. As a result, Virgin are now one of the highest rated employers in the UK according to LinkedIn.

2. SAP

Robin Dagostino (Social Recruiting and Creative Media) and Matthew Jeffery (VP, Head of Global Sourcing and Employment Branding) talked about SAP's talent acquisition strategies.

In recent years, SAP realized it needed to take creative control over its employer brand and build an in-house team around their newly defined identity.

This is an important first step. You need to have a clear, simple understanding of your own unique employee value proposition in order to share that message with potential recruits.

It's the human element that makes it so great and successful. This became the mantra for future attraction strategies.

Running with the "humanization" theme, SAP filmed employees across a number of positions.

Why? Well, this helps to break down barriers and create a stronger connection between employer and applicant. When candidates see, hear and experience the stories and lives of other people, it triggers an emotional response, which is key when attracting top talent to your brand.

3. Hulu

Jessica Wheeler (Talent Acquisition Manager) and Mike Rocco (Internal Communications Manager) took to the stage to talk about Hulu's employer brand.

Hulu has grown from a small start-up to a billion-dollar company in less than ten years. In 2008-2015, the company found itself in a state of flux, as headcount continued to soar and demand for top talent increased. With offices shooting up in new states and cities, Hulu realized it needed to maintain a core identity if it was to remain true to its founding principles.

The company's Talent and Organization team honed their focus by recruiting storytelling, social media, sourcing and data experts. This fueled the creation of Hulu's employer brand: "Powering Play", a reflection of Hulu's culture code and the mission statement by which employees live and work.

Hulu now uses this employer brand as a guiding force to direct and inform hiring decisions. It allows Hulu to create a messaging framework that tells their brand story in words that can be understood by their star, ideal candidates.

4. Netflix

Nellie Peshkov, VP of Talent Acquisition at Netflix, gave an inspiring presentation about securing the right talent--and how Netflix's success stems from a strong relationship between business and culture.

Peshkov says that Netflix believes company values are "behaviors and skills that are valued by fellow employees." The employer brand is rooted in the people that collectively make up its workforce, which feeds into talent attraction practices.

When Netflix recruiters talk to each other about what they're looking for in a candidate, they use words like "stunning colleague" or "partner." Hires are meant to be much more than just another "employee."

Netflix's employer brand bleeds through to all of their talent acquisition strategies. Teams are encouraged to talk and collaborate at unprecedented levels, and everyone is given a voice to contribute.

This reflects Netflix's culture principles of freedom and responsibility, the so-called yin and yang that define how the company's decisions are supposed to be made.

5. Cisco

Macy Andrews (Director, Culture & Global Employer Branding at Cisco) and Carmen Collins (Social Media Lead, Talent Brand at Cisco) had a powerful story to tell about Cisco's employer brand.

Since the social media explosion of the late 2000's, Cisco was looking outward-in, using PR and marketing to try to work their way to an effective employer brand. This all changed in 2015.

To arrive at the truth, the company embarked on a mission to give employees a "bigger and better voice." Cisco built an employer brand based on trust and authenticity. Then everything suddenly clicked.

Social channels were given a human voice. Cisco began to adopt a "co-worker" tone that highlighted its people and their passions. Cisco even rebranded their social channels from @CiscoCareers to @WeAreCisco. The "We" helps instill a collective sense of belonging, for both current employees and future candidates.

These changes began in the spring of 2015 and took immediate effect. By early 2016, engagement soared: Cisco's Twitter followers grew 400% in six months. For the first time ever, Cisco landed on LinkedIn's InDemand North American employers list at #26.

Using the power of storytelling, Cisco let its employees shine and do all the "selling." The results speak for themselves.

Published on: Oct 20, 2016
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