By now, most companies have accepted that employer branding is of strategic importance, but many are still not sure how to measure something they often consider intangible and belonging to what was historically viewed as tactical rather than strategic. According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), only 25% of companies have taken steps to measure the impact of their employer brand. Clearly, measurement (and thus the ability to demonstrate value) is integral to gaining internal support from senior executives and to the ultimate success of the initiative. Figuring out what to measure, however, is often the tricky part. There’s no one-size fits all and much depends on making sure you first have a well-developed strategy.
Certain results can be measured with a high degree of accuracy and according to the statistics found in Employer Branding International’s 2011 study there are several different possible metrics to use when considering the ROI of your employer branding:
- Employee satisfaction: closely related to employer brand because organisations with better brands are perceived to be better places to work
- Employee engagement: measured by length of service, turnover statistics and targeted surveys
- Quality of hire: the matching of ability, education and credentials of the qualified applicants to a position
- Time and cost per hire
- Job acceptance rate of candidates
- Number of applicants
- Employee turnover: a leading indicator and measurement of employer brand. In general, an increase in employee turnover is indicative of a weaker brand
- Increased level of employee referrals: clear evidence that employees believe the company is a good place to work
- Decreased absenteeism
The study found that retention rate is the most common metric used to measure ROI of employer branding, followed by employee engagement, quality of hire, cost per hire and number of applicants.
Other less traditional measures include promotion readiness rating, external/internal hire ratio, performance ratings of newly promoted managers and manager/executive failure rate.
So which metric(s) should you use? This will depend on your business and recruiting objectives as well as where you are in the evolution of your employer branding strategy. Make sure you have understood your audience/s and that your chosen metrics are reliable and predictive. Your objectives will change as your company grows and changes, and will be impacted by many factors such as market conditions, product innovation or employee engagement. Brett Minchington says “The link between creating employer brand value and financial (e.g. cost per hire, profit per employee, staff turnover cost) and non-financial measures (e.g. employee engagement, employee loyalty, employer brand awareness) is variable and must be evaluated on a case by case basis and re-evaluated over time as the strategy evolves.”
He goes on to offer an action plan you can share and discuss amongst those responsible for your employer brand strategy to improve your measurement and ROI:
- Clearly define your employer branding objective(s). Conducting a strategic audit of your employer brand is a good place to start to define your objectives and identify where your resources are best invested.
- Understand the key drivers of achieving your objective. If you can identify the cause and effect of how you attract and retain the best talent, you can focus your efforts on these activities.
- Develop an employer brand scorecard. Your scorecard should identify the financial and non-financial measures that drive employer brand value. It should allow you to track and report on those measures most likely to impact on achieving your objectives.
- Allocate responsibility. The responsibility for reporting on the performance should rest with the employee(s) responsible for the employer branding activity, whether housed in a single or multiple departments. Ensure everyone is on the same page!
- Obtain baseline data on your workforce. Gather data on your current workforce to obtain a solid understanding of your target audience. Seek information on hobbies, commuting patterns, family situations, interests and behaviours. Go beyond demographics and search for patterns amongst subsets of employees. Your most talented young employees may all share an interest in gaming so use that to your advantage rather than send them to a full day of training on a topic unrelated to their interests!
- Dispel assumptions. Share the data with your leaders and dispel assumptions they have about the typical employee. Break down employee likes and dislikes. Share intuitive data about commonalities you found amongst ‘A level’ talent. Create new personas that are data-based and not assumption based.
- Listen closely to employee feedback and observe behaviours. Pay close attention to the channels your current employees use and map marketing strategies to their preferred channels. This will ensure you have tactics to allow for a deeper, richer perspective into how well your employer brand and EVP strategy is resonating with employees.
- Evaluate your progress. Business conditions aren’t static, nor should your measures be! They’re ever changing and more valuable when measured over time. Make comparisons and don’t be afraid to report failures. They’ll drive change and show you’re paying attention to your investment.
As always, if we can assist in any way, please get in touch.