How Has Employer Branding And Talent Attraction Changed?

By Tony Restell

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Kaitlyn Holbein InterviewI recently had the opportunity to interview Kaitlyn Holbein of The Employer Brand Shop. Kaitlyn has a wealth of insights about everything related to employer branding, talent attraction and recruitment marketing. If you're in any kind of recruitment position you'll no doubt find this really interesting. We discussed

- How has the role of employer branding changed since the outbreak of COVID-19?

- How has the rise (and increased appeal) of remote working changed employer branding and talent attraction?

- What type of recruitment marketing content seems to be attracting people right now?

Watch the full interview

Here's the full video, a transcript of which follows underneath

Interview Transcript - How Has Employer Branding And Talent Attraction Changed?

Hey, everyone thanks ever so much for joining us for today's session.

Delighted to be joined by Kaitlyn Holbein.

Kaitlyn would like to tell everyone a little bit about yourself and your company.


For sure, yeah, thanks so much for having this conversation today Tony.

Really excited to learn about employer brand marketing with you.

Yeah, a little bit about myself.

I am the Founder and Principal Consultant at The Employer Brand Shop.

The Employer Brand Shop is a boutique recruitment marketing and employer brand agency that is located in Canada, but we help organizations from all around the world to basically develop and express their employer brands as well as bring them to life through different recruitment marketing and internal communication initiatives.


So you've got to be the ideal person to ask: How has the role of employer branding actually changed as a result of COVID-19?


So we've definitely seen quite a few changes since the outbreak of the pandemic this year.

So for one thing, employer branding, I think has taken center stage in a way that it really never has done before and we see that happening.

And so far as for the first time a lot of consumers are starting to equate a companies' brand with the way that they're treating their employee base.

So they're starting to think about companies, think about where they're spending their money, and thinking about how those companies are treating the people that work for them a little bit more.

Of course, there were people who were doing this already before, but I think that COVID is really exacerbating this trend because organizations are really being celebrated or shamed, based on the way that they kind of worked to protect their employees during this period.

And I've also seen websites popping up as well, that are advising consumers on where to spend their money based on how organizations have protected their employees' health.

So that's a really big one and as a result, I think what I'm seeing and hearing from a lot of practitioners in the field, is that they really had to step up a little bit so to speak.

So employer branding historically has often been seen as like the little siblings to marketing in some way, and now they're being asked to kind of step up and have a new seat, a new role at the leadership table and advise on how to communicate with different talents stakeholders in order to protect the companies overall brand.

But really speaking from that expertise as an employer brand professional.

So we're seeing that change happening and another big change that's happened as well that I have observed is that employee experience and employee engagement has become even more so something that operates in a lot of cases under the real house of employer branding.

So employer experience and employer branding are related in so far as the employee experience that you have at your organization, really impacts your employer brand.

If you have a great employee experience, you're more likely to have an employer brand that people love and adore and want to work for, and the opposite is true as well.

But in the past, employer brand professionals often have a more, most of their responsibility has been on the external activation and recruitment side.

But now, since recruiting has slowed for a lot of organizations with COVID-19 a lot of practitioners have been asked to kind of take more of a hands-on approach, from that internal employee experience standpoint, and so internal communications and all that has become a lot more important for the employer brand professional.

And I don't think that's something that's going to go away even after the pandemic is over.

Sure, and one thing that we've all seen a lot all over the last months is a big rise in remote working, but not just everyone having to work at home.

But people talking about this could be the new normal that people are increasingly going to be asking to work from home, to work remotely.


How are you seeing that translating into employer branding and talent attraction?

Are companies adapting to that yet?

Yeah, I think there's going to be so many different changes with more and more companies coming out to announce that after the pandemic, they're going to continue to work remotely or to give employees the option of whether they want to come back to the office or not

So I think that's going to change a lot of companies talent acquisition strategies because there's a lot of benefits to working with remote talent and so far as suddenly your talent pool, it's just way, way larger than it ever was, when in specific markets.

So it's definitely advantageous from a talent acquisition standpoint.

And it also means for those organizations who choose to not move in that digital earth to the remote direction It means that suddenly their pool of hiring competitors has expanded in a very big way.

And no longer just competing against people locally, they're competing against organizations all around the world who are going to be going for the same talent as them.

So I think that it really positions employer branding in a way that it becomes even more integral because you really need to make it clear to candidates what sets you apart from all of these other options that they now potentially have for in-demand talent, you need to be able to show them clearly, here is what the key is. You need to show them this is what our remote employee experience looks like.

And this is also really important because historically, a lot of candidates have picked up on a lot of cues about what you're like as an employer about what kind of experience they can anticipate working with you working with your team from the in-office components of your hiring process.

But when the in-office components are no longer there and are no longer part of that process.

Suddenly, the way that you communicate your culture needs to change a little bit.

So you need to find opportunities and more digital touchpoints and channels and content types that will provide candidates with the information they need to identify if your organization is a good fit and to get a little bit more understanding about the way you work, how people interact, what types of personalities are on your team.

I think all of that becomes a lot more critical in this new remote work world.

Yeah, absolutely great insights, thank you.

And recruitment marketing content.

You know, if you're thinking about what kind of things you're seeing doing well at the moment, What does it seem like candidates want to see out there?

What are you recommending to clients?

So I think the candidate mindset has shifted in a big way as a result of everything that's happened over the past few months.

So talking about COVID here, as well as all of the social justice and social unrest issues that have kind of come to light.

From COVID specifically, I think candidates are craving maybe a little bit more stability and assurance before making a switch than was previously the case.

Finding ways to share how your company is still well positioned to thrive despite the pandemic and after the pandemic, and showing candidates in your job descriptions or in some of the content you're creating.

How a specific rule is well set to kind of help your organization forward and why this all matters so they understand the role is strategically important and not likely to sort of disappear in the near future.

I think that's important as well, and then beyond that other content types that I've seen performing really well that I think are worth adding to your sort of your content series lineups so to speak, would include content that shows that you're an employer that cares.

More and more people want to understand the employment choice that they're offering is going to be with an employer that cares about their health, cares about their well being, cares about them holistically. So showing content examples of the lengths that you're going to, to protect your workers health during this period is a really good example of that, as well as showing that you care about, again some of the major social unrest, social injustice.

Certain topics that everyone kind of needs to speak up and say something about right now.

Need to show how they're taking action and sort of supporting racial equality and so on.

So these are the content types that candidates really want to see, More and more they want to work with a company that has heart so showing the opportunities for positive impact, that employees will have working with you either in terms of what you provide for your customers in terms of product, service standpoint, or showing the types of CSR initiative that you participate in, all of that I think is going to be really, really important moving forward.

I've heard that a lot from people interviewing corporates, that they are hearing from candidates these kind of questions in interview as well.

So it's clearly a change in what candidates are looking for.


Some of what I'm speaking about right now has come from some conversations that I've had with chatbot vendors and some of the patterns that they're noticing in the responses that some candidates are giving to their clients through their technology.

So it's kind of interesting to see all these shifts happening.

In addition, one other area that I just want touch on it's going to be, it's already big, but it's going to become increasingly important, is employee-generated content.

Candidates want to hear directly from the employee about what their experience should be like if they come to work from you, work with you rather.

So finding ways to kind of amplify what your employees are organically saying, what their authentically saying, sharing diverse perspective form across the organization.

And of course, this is important too, going back to sort of the remote work conversation that we were having before.

Because when employees aren't in the office, it becomes a lot more difficult to shoot a quick video of some, or take a photo of an event, so you really need to find ways to sort of educate, and empower, and enable your employees to produce their own content that you can then amplify from your different corporate social accounts, for instance.

Kaitlyn, really fantastic insights.

Thank you ever so much for sharing those with us.

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