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How to Build a Strong B2B Employer Brand Strategy

By: Alyssa Dannaker

Employer branding has boomed in the last few years—and it’s certainly here to stay. After the COVID-19 pandemic, many B2B teams had no choice but to put recruiting on hold when business was uncertain, adjusting their strategy in a period of crisis. But others kept hiring, leaning on new employer branding tactics to find the right people who could make their company stronger.

Whether confronting new challenges or sailing smoothly, having a comprehensive employer branding strategy is key to creating—and promoting—your company’s resilience to job seekers and increasing trust among your existing employees.

Don’t have a formalized employer brand? Not sure if your current employer brand is as effective as it should be? Learn how to build a B2B employer brand strategy and leverage it to strengthen your workplace and support recruiting efforts for exponential growth.

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What Is an Employer Brand?

Employer branding, or what Sagefrog refers to as an Employer Brand Strategy, is how you market your company to both job seekers and current employees. It’s the messaging platform that describes why your company is the one people should want to work for and why current employees would want to stay.

This type of strategic platform should offer an inside look at who your company is fundamentally and contain content that inspires your team, builds a sense of belonging, and serves to motivate employees every day. That’s why it remains a tool for supporting recruiting efforts and retention goals.

Why Should I Build an Employer Brand Strategy?

There are countless reasons why an employer brand strategy is a crucial tool in the larger toolkit for feeding strong marketing, sales, and business strategy efforts. Its components can help you advertise your company to prospective employees, demonstrate your growth and culture to clients, and foster continued growth through new job applicants.

Better Quality of Applicants

Developing creative messaging that describes your company’s culture and workplace environment gives new candidates a good idea of what they can expect when they join your team. An employer brand strategy will contain the core values that existing employees embody, which are also traits that candidates should self-identify with before applying. You’ll see higher-quality job applications when you share the various components of your employer brand strategy across recruiting materials, like job listings, career portals, and relevant pages on your website.

Stronger Employee Retention

An employer brand strategy should house that all-important employer value proposition or EVP, which means it will contain the mission, vision, and core beliefs that drive your company. This helps to align and motivate team members because they clarify everything that your company stands for. What culture do you want to maintain? What difference do you want to make in your industry? What do employees contribute to the company, and what does your company offer them in return? The employer value proposition, and the other elements of a comprehensive employer brand strategy, will make it easier to retain employees and ensure they feel fulfilled at work.

Lower Recruiting Costs

Another tangible outcome of working on your employer brand is reduced hiring costs. Communicating your ideal employee to prospective talent and giving them more opportunities to examine your culture, environment, and objectives only helps refine the recruiting pipeline and bring in more qualified candidates. You’ll spend less time weeding through applications, which will save precious time and resources amongst your HR team. If you leverage your employer brand strategy to draft descriptive job listings, you may also spend less money on advertising and boosting those listings across recruiting platforms.

the essentials of effective employer branding

How Do I Develop an Employer Brand Strategy?

Creating an employer brand typically requires input from leadership, human resources, and—not surprisingly—the employees themselves. It should include some of the components below. Keep in mind that these pieces may be plucked from an internal document and shared externally on your website and across recruiting materials, so consider optimizing them for use cases that suit your company’s hiring needs.

  • Create Your EVP: The Employer Value Proposition (EVP) is a statement similar to your brand value proposition or business boilerplate, but in this case, it clearly outlines the appeal of your company as a potential workplace. It should contain your company’s core belief around direction and culture, your approach as an employer, and the benefits you offer to employees or your larger industry. Your brand’s mission and vision statements are often woven into the EVP as well.
  • Define Your Core Values: Core values are the fundamental beliefs or guiding principles of your organization. They often come in the form of three to five terms (these can be nouns or adjectives) that all employees embody, with descriptions of what that looks like for each. One example of a core value is Dependable: We get stuff done and do what we say, fostering an environment of trust without fear. Need some inspiration? 🐸 See how-tos and examples in our Branding Made Simple guide.
  • Share Your Company Story: Your company story is just that—a brief overview of how you got started, how your company has evolved over the years, and how you define and achieve your purpose today. Sharing this story with current and prospective employees can be inspiring, especially if your team had meager beginnings and grew to become the impressive competitor you are today. 🐸 Get inspired.
  • Build Out Your Employer Messaging: Get specific with three to five big reasons as to why a job seeker should want to join your team. Then build out messaging for each reason so candidates can more easily self-identify as someone who would fit right in. A great way to develop unique reasons is to focus on how your culture, environment, professional development, or industry impact creates a different and better experience than other employers.
  • List Your Top Employee Benefits: Another way to get granular with why employees should join the team is developing a shortlist of the top employee benefits offered at your company. Feel free to list standard benefits, such as competitive pay, health and dental insurance, and generous PTO, but take it to the next level by sharing a few more exciting benefits like remote work, training programs, work-life balance, and fun team-building activities.
  • Show Off Your Workplace Accolades: The awards your company has received over the years help prove that it’s a great place to work. Showcase some of your most recent accolades or exciting company characteristics to make an enticing first impression. Has your team won any local best business or workplace awards? Are you known for exceptional products or services? Are you recognized as a minority-owned business? These are all honors that job seekers would love to learn more about. 🐸 See how we do it.
  • Highlight Positive Employee Testimonials: The beliefs and perceptions that your existing employees have about your company’s culture and day-to-day work can be beneficial tools in advancing recruiting efforts. Collect team testimonials as you send out annual employee satisfaction surveys or encourage everyone to write anonymous reviews on Glassdoor. You should already be gathering this type of information to promote continuous improvement at your company, so grab a few positive, evergreen testimonials and let them shine!
  • Give an Inside Look at Your Culture: If you host fun team-building events, quarterly company meetings, check-ins with managers and direct reports, and other in-person activities, be sure to take photos! Today’s top talent wants to see what it’s like to actually work in your office, find fulfillment remotely, or just be a part of a positive, active team. Show off your culture with photos of employees getting down to business and enjoying bonding time together at happy hours and company getaways. 🐸 Get inspired.

Checklist: Evaluating Your Employer Branding Platform

Ways to Leverage Your Employer Brand Strategy

For Prospective Employees

Attracting and recruiting top talent, especially for positions that are in-demand today, can be a challenge. It’s important that job seekers get a comprehensive sense of your workplace culture during the recruiting process to get them in the door for an interview, and to ultimately choose your company.

    • Showcase your employer brand on your website’s career and culture pages
    • Showcase your employer brand on your social media, especially Instagram
    • Showcase your employer brand on your Glassdoor profile or other recruiting channels

For Current Employees

More than ever, when a crisis hits, your employees want to feel that they made the right decision by choosing your company to work for. Use this moment to step up for your employees and strengthen their trust in your company by showing them that you care.

    • Hold people accountable to your living your core values daily
    • Weave content into a larger employee advocacy program
    • Adapt your culture to accommodate for changes during a crisis

Other Ways to Leverage Your Employer Brand Strategy

    • Use relevant messaging in submissions when applying for awards
    • Include the content in motivating new hire onboarding handbooks
    • Have employees nominate each other for core values each quarter

Would it help you to see an example of a B2B company with a robust employer brand? Nixon Medical, a medical apparel and linen service provider, worked with Sagefrog to identify their EVP and align it with a unique design and visual identity. View Nixon Medical’s employer brand showcased on their Careers webpage.

Ready to Solidify Your Employer Brand?

When you’re entrenched in your workplace every day, it can be difficult to rise above the details to determine the real, root reasons that make your company a desirable workplace. At Sagefrog, we use a proven process to help our clients develop their Employer Brand Strategy. Think your company might benefit from a formalized employer brand and EVP? Let’s talk.

Let's strengthen your employer brand strategy

In the meantime, take a shot at gathering some of the elements on your own by downloading our guide, the Essentials of Effective Employer Branding or our checklist, Evaluating Your Employer Branding Platform. These can help you start drafting your messaging and identify where strengths and opportunities lie across your employer branding content.