Is employer branding necessary for a startup?

We all know that a startup founder has plenty of other things to think about like cash-flow and revenue. And whenever one hears the term “employer-branding” you get this picture of expensive marketing campaigns which of course no one can afford while starting up.

Yes, this is the picture portrayed in front of us by different media agencies.

But at the same time, as your startup grows(of course that’s your aim!) you will need more and more awesome people to join your team. Either you can pay a lot of amount to the recruitment consultancies, or you can invest in employer branding in the early stages of your company.

A bad employer status in the later stages can cost up to $7.6 million in additional wages for a company with 10000 employees. You can save up to $4723 on hiring per candidate by focusing on employer branding in your early days.

So, you must be wondering, “Oh, that’s fine, but how do I start???”

This is how!

If you have a blog, leverage it

You can be a team of 100s and 1000s of employees or you can be a team of 10 people. In any case, having a dedicated company blog is a must.

Your company blog not only plays a major part in structuring our inbound marketing funnel but also showcasing your company culture and employee life. Besides offering growth, a challenging atmosphere and flexibility, every startup has a unique employee-life. Be it regular foosball matches, monthly/quarterly outings or internal hackathons,we try to reflect the same through various blogs.

This is how we leveraged our blog to showcase our work-life

How to build your employer brand with zero budget

Moments from our team outings including the time when our investor visited India to get to know us more.

How to build your employer brand with zero budget

A major problem that each and every startup faces, is hiring someone who would be a cultural fit and would believe in the mission as strongly as the present employees do. The inherent traits of a person are far more important than the skills that he brings to the table.

As said by Tom Peters, “Hire for attitude, train of skills.”

But, more often than not, startups end up hiring the wrong people in terms of cultural-fits. Why does this happen? After talking to a lot of recruiters as well as reflecting on our hiring-past, we realized that in most of the cases, it’s the result of a communication gap.

Somehow, the candidate fails to understand what the company is expecting out of him as an employee and the management fails to convey the same. Since closure is a big deal and everyone is aiming at getting someone to fill the chair as fast as possible, the main element is often neglected. And then, everyone complains about the high-churn rate.

What if, we, as a startup, provide a candidate with a fair idea of his future work life even before he joins?

All of us have been candidates, at how many points have you felt that the HR has not even given you the information that you are looking for, you are not quite sure what it is,but you are sure that there is a missing piece.

Again, your blog can do wonders here.

There was a time when we were trying to restructure the entire team, and given few past experiences, we decided to write a dedicated article on how life goes on in our team.

Here is the link to the article

Leverage on Social Media

According to a study conducted by Muse, almost 29% of the Job-seekers use social media as their primary tool while hunting for jobs. 14.4 million jobseekers, have used social media to look for a job. And this is the number in US alone.

That’s quite a whopping number!

Be it generating leads for marketing or for recruitment, it all boils down to your brand. To use social media for branding extensively, focus on understanding more about your brand.

Try to collaborate with your marketing team, specially if there is a separate person taking care of brand management, take some time out to sit with him/her. Rope them in with your recruiting plans and see if they can help you achieve the desired goals.

All candidates will prefer working with a brand which they love(an outcome of great marketing and customer service) and in the same way you can leverage your employee stories(an outcome of great recruiting) to provide more behind the scenes information to your customers.

Your candidates would not only like to hear about your brand, they would like to see it. You can always try to share candidate stories on your twitter, facebook and LinkedIn posts, but always try to provide some media with them.

Facebook is a great medium for sharing employee stories through photos or videos. Did you remember a video which had become viral a few days ago where a pregnant employee is provided a new office for her comfort amidst a lay-off phase? It immediately got the attention of a lot of users.

One example by Oracle

How to build your employer brand with zero budget

It won’t cost you much to create a series of similar employee stories or small videos which upholds your values and your culture. And the best part, it will not only help in your recruitment in specific but will push your entire brand as a whole.

Wingify, a leading product company in India have been implementing great strategies for employer branding since that time they were an early stage startup. They have successfully created their unique USP through their engineering blog where every week their developers post about the new challenges solved by them, the open source contributions made by them etc.

How to build your employer brand with zero budget

To quote Nupur Jain, the Senior HR Manager of Wingify,

“ I think, startup founders need to first understand and find out what kind of company culture they want to build. It’s very important, millennials choose companies they admire and whose values are similar to their own. And through our blogs (Wingify on Growth, Team blog, Engineering blog), events and online/offline presence, we try and showcase our company values. ”

The Result?

Last year, 75% of their tech-hiring was done through inbound applications and referrals. That’s indeed good statistics for any company given the present job market.

Employee testimonials

As startups, we all know the importance of customer testimonials when it comes to attracting new leads. The same applies to recruitment as well.

Marriott hosts employee [authored stories]( .) on their careers page to showcase what it is like to work with this global brand.The employees speak not only of their life in Marriott but also how they have fast-tracked their career while working for them.

How to build your employer brand with zero budget

No, who wouldn’t want to be a part of the brand that allows and helps them to grow as a person and a professional?

Now, these are the big companies. What should be your strategy as a startup?

Bill Gates was not joking when he told, “Content is King”.

If you are a startup, you must be having a person who takes care of content strategies. Spend few moments with him to discuss on how you can create innovate and eye-catching content to draw inbound applications. Get your designer into the loop as well.

Content can be a great way to show off why you are a great place to work. You needn’t need huge budgets for this, just some extra efforts and a lot of imagination, which shouldn’t be difficult given you are already well-aware of your mission. Create role specific stories/images/video for sharing your key value propositions to employees and attracting talent.

This is how Flipkart does it

There can be more ways to strategize your employer branding. Like marketing, analysis of your efforts is going to play a major role here. Measure the outcome of all your branding efforts consistently. This can be done by getting feedbacks from your present employees on what they like about your company and by looking at the increase in the number of inbound applicants.

Since the entire job market has shifted from an employer to a candidate-centric one, upholding your brand image from the very beginning is imperative to attract quality talent.

Looking for help with employer branding for tech-jobs? Let us know.