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How To: Use Data to Drive Strategic Employer Brand Decisions

Throughout this month, we have been focused on bringing you tangible insights on how to create a measurement strategy for your employer brand. The top of the year is an excellent time to establish the KPIs that will serve as benchmarks for the the success of your programs, campaigns and initiatives.

A couple of weeks ago, we shared a framework for measurement, anchored on four key levers: Market Position, Talent Engagement, Pipeline Health and Talent Attraction. This model engages each level of the recruitment ‘funnel’ and will enable you to measure employer brand health at critical stages of awareness, consideration and conversion.

It’s one thing to measure these things. It’s another to synthesize the insights into strategic guidance. Here is how you can translate the insights you collect in your measurement strategy into data-informed decisions to strengthen it:

Market Position

Mission-Critical KPIs:

  • Workforce Demographics & Talent Pools - consult reputable sources like the Government of Canada’s Workforce reporting or talent insights through platforms like LinkedIn to understand where your talent is and how they are currently being engaged by employers.

  • Relative Reputation Ranking - it’s best to engage a range of sources here like Glassdoor, Comparably and Indeed rankings and produce an average against your key competitors. Most platforms will enable you to ‘double click’ on specific areas like Diversity & Inclusion or Leadership. These are meant as directional guides, not hard-and-fast rankings.

  • Regular Competitive Pulse Checks - sweep social and digital platforms to keep tabs on how your direct competitors are engaging with talent. Who is the most innovative, bold employer in your niche and what can you learn from them?

Applying these metrics to strategy —

These insights will help you answer the question — “How can we differentiate our messaging and creative tactics?” Rigour around these KPIs will give you valuable data around talent behaviour and something we at Drift call “competitive whitespace”, or, where there is room for differentiation in the platforms you use and how to communicate your EVP to prime audiences of talent. This is not a one-and-done exercise. Leading companies will leverage their market position to determine how, when, why and where they should be present for audiences of talent.

Talent Engagement

Mission-Critical KPIs:

  • Audiences Reached - examine who is responding and engaging with your social content by location, job role, industry, seniority, etc. This will help you understand if your talent brand is resonating with the right candidates.

  • Clicks, Social Actions & Traffic - all of these metrics combined will give you a sense of the impact of your employer brand strategy. Pulse check your channels to ascertain how widespread your digital footprint is becoming. This is important when you are making strategic decisions around ramping up or pulling back on things like spend and content.

  • Earned Media Value (EMV) - explore who, in your company, is an incredible advocate and can lead by example. EMV will tell you how much you would have had to invest ($$) to get the same level of momentum generated by employee-led, organic content.

Applying these metrics to strategy —

These insights will help you answer the question — “What more can we do to engage our talent?” Regular benchmarking around talent engagement will show you how effective your strategy is, current-state, and highlight gaps in your toolkit. For instance, if you pilot a new advocacy program across multiple social channels, look at relative EMV on each channel. If one is underperforming significantly, cut it. If there is a clear channel-leader, encourage mass participation from your employees and leaders.

Pipeline Health

Mission-Critical KPIs:

  • Conversion-to-Pipeline (CTP) — most companies measure applicant conversion-to-hire in some way. Think of CTP as the layer before that. It’s just as important. Examining this on a regular basis will give you a sense of how powerful your employer brand messaging is for specific talent demographics. It can also highlight gaps in your candidate experience. If you are increasing your CTP, but the conversion-to-hire remains static, there is something awry that must be addressed.

  • Time-to-Fill Insights (TTF) — it’s important to recognize that TTF is impacted by a variety of factors and it is not an indication of employer brand impact, only. However, measuring TTF across employer brand initiatives and campaigns can illuminate how effectively your efforts are delivering talent that is purpose-aligned and informed about your company culture.

  • Diversity of Pipeline — this is particularly relevant if you are working to build an inclusive employer brand. It’s important to note that diversity is not confined to representation. Diversity means appealing to candidates from a range of backgrounds, working styles, worldviews, and communities. It means creating a strategy that fosters a sense of belonging for your candidates.

Applying these metrics to strategy —

These insights will help you answer the question — “Does our employer brand strategy have staying power?” The best strategies continually build your employer presence and foster awareness WHILE fuelling a proactive strive toward stronger, more diverse pipelines of your critical talent. If, after launching your employer brand strategy, you find that any of the above metrics are NOT growing, it’s time to re-look at your channels and messaging to figure out what needs to shift.

Talent Attraction

Mission-Critical KPIs:

  • Conversion-to-Hire (CTH) - this is the quintessential bottom-of-the-funnel metric that all to often, we tend to disproportionately focus on when it comes to making decisions about employer brand strategy. Discipline around these metrics should tell you how effectively you are bringing amazing talent into your organization through a focus on employer branding.

  • Talent Response Rate - there are many ways to measure this, and it can be owned by the talent acquisition team. With a strong outreach strategy and a powerful employer brand, you should see gains in terms of responses to proactive recruiter outreach.

  • Talent Experience & predictive eNPS - this is primarily qualitative or anecdotal data and should be gathered via talent survey. Ongoing rigour here will demonstrate trends in how your employer brand is perceived and whether or not talent feels the experience of engaging with your organization is aligned with what you are communicating externally as your EVP.

Applying these metrics to strategy —

These insights will help you answer the question — “Is our employer brand strategy positively impacting our bottom-line delivery?” It’s a valuable thing to be able to go to leadership tables of decision-makers and business leaders at your company and be armed with concrete data that speak to how their investment in employer branding is impacting how effectively you hire top talent. These insights will form the business case that will help you gain more investment and sponsorship for your strategy.

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