What is employer branding?


Employer branding is the process of building, maintaining, and promoting a company’s values and culture to existing and future employees.

Employer brand is a company’s perception amongst past, present, and future employees and is based on three factors: reputation, employer value proposition (EVP), and employee experience. 

As employer brand is key to attracting, retaining, and engaging top talent, companies must build and maintain a well-developed employer branding strategy to differentiate their organisation from competitors and present their company as a great place to work.   

History of employer branding 

The term employer branding was first coined in 1996. According to Simon Barrow and Tim Ambler, the term referred to “the package of functional, economic and psychological benefits provided by employment, and identified with the employing company.” While the definition of employer branding has not changed significantly since 1996, the introduction of new technology (such as smartphones and social media) and new mindsets (brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic) has changed the way that many companies go about employer branding.  

Recent trends in employer branding 

Key to employer branding is the employer value proposition (EVP), which encompasses the organisation’s mission statement, values, and culture and defines the relationship between employer and employee. In the wake of the pandemic, many employees have started expecting more from their employers and from the employer value proposition. Today, it’s no longer enough for companies to simply communicate their values. Instead, employees and potential candidates want to see a company’s values demonstrated through their policies and actions – and will search online for photos, videos, articles, employee testimonials, social media posts, and more to ensure that they are holding up their end of the bargain.  

While the pandemic pushed employer responsiveness and corporate responsibility into the spotlight, and revealed the importance of organisational purpose, team cohesion, and employee experience, the Great Resignation is ensuring that these remain top of mind for C-suite executives. According to MIT Sloan Management Review, more than a third of all employees expect to look for new opportunities within the next year. To go further, Glassdoor reports that 92% of employees would consider changing jobs with no salary increase if the opportunity was with a company with a good reputation – and 86% would not even consider working for a company with a bad reputation. Therefore, as skills shortages and competition for talent continue, employer branding is becoming increasingly important for organisations looking to hire, and keep, top talent.   

Advantages of employer branding 

  • A well-developed employer branding strategy can attract, retain, and engage top talent. 
  • In times of economic uncertainty, employer branding can give companies a competitive advantage. 
  • Employer branding holds companies accountable and ensures that they are fulfilling their side of the employer value proposition (EVP). 

Disadvantages of employer branding 

  • Potential employees may forego an opportunity if the company’s employer brand appears not to align with their personal values.  
  • Employer brand is heavily influenced by conversations happening online. If a former employee had a negative experience with the company and is vocal about it on social media, they can significantly impact the company’s reputation and prevent potential employees from applying in the future. 

Use Case 

Salesforce is a global leader in CRM and prides itself on bringing companies and customers together in the digital age. Salesforce has been widely recognised for how it conducts business and treats its employees and has won multiple awards from organisations such as Great Place to Work and Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For. In 2022, Salesforce placed #1 for the UK’s Best Workplaces Super Large (1,000+ employees) and #2 in the US for Fortune’s Best Workplaces in Technology (Large).  

Employee testimonials praise the company for providing opportunities to learn and explore different roles as well as for the support and encouragement they receive from managers and other staff members. When comparing these testimonials to the company’s mission, vision, and values statements, there is significant overlap – meaning that everything Salesforce promises to do is being done. This shows potential employees that Salesforce is a company that follows through on its promises and creates a positive work environment where everybody benefits.