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June 28, 2018 | Recruiting Software | Posted by Ascentis Thought Leadership

Five Simple Steps to Perfect Your SMB Employment Brand

Employment branding means different things to different employers. If you’re a small to mid-sized business, you don’t have the budgets to do some of the higher profile employer marketing that a larger business would. But for SMB's, your choice of branding emphasis will be influenced by many different factors: your geography, your industry, your size, your competition for the best employees, and even by various budgetary constraints. But no matter what choices you make, paying careful attention to your employment brand is necessary for your company to attract and retain the best and brightest workers.

Step One: Leverage Your Marketing Department

A marketing team's expertise is often key to executing on a successful employment branding campaign. For this reason, a strong alliance between HR and marketing leaders can yield powerful results.

When discussing employer branding with your marketing leaders the first key objective should an honest comparison of the corporate brand and the desired employment brand. Marketing departments can offer a standardized toolkit comprised of key messages, value propositions and competitive differentiators for this purpose that align with the corporate messaging.

Great recruiting, based on great employment branding, involves doing precisely the same thing; it should answer questions like “why work for our company?” and “what can our company offer in employment that no one else can?”

In addition to collaborating with marketing on the strategic aspects of employment branding, there are many tactical details to successful branding as well. Marketing will be able to guide HR on the use of its style guide which will include logos, tag lines, and fonts and colors that reflect a unified look and feel between an organization’s careers site and the rest of the organization's web presence.

Step Two: Decide and Deploy

There are many ways to distinguish an employment brand, and step two involves choosing the one or two bases on which you want to appeal to the employment market at your door and what your ideal candidates would like to see. Here are some of the most popular employer branding concentrations:

Superior Compensation or Benefits

Do you benchmark your salaries, benefits programs, and/or other compensation to be in the upper 25% of your market? In some industries and/or geographies, this may be the single most effective basis for capturing candidate attention.

Employment Flexibility

In certain industries (health care and hospitality are good examples) the ability for an employee to set their own schedule, work part-time, job-share, or even to associate themselves with the firm as an independent contractor, might be very important.


Do you offer an on-site gym, dry cleaning, or a medical office? Free snacks or lunches? Bring your pet to work policies? Student debt restructuring programs? Depending on your primary target candidate pool these additional perks may not only be unique and valuable, but they could form a key ingredient of your branding.

Paid Volunteering

In some industries or communities, the ability for employees to take time off – paid or unpaid – for a day or service or a month-long sabbatical, may be one of the most meaningful perquisites an employer can offer.

Third-Party Recognition

Today, there are more “best places to work” types of lists than ever before. Many prospective job-seekers will see these as representing independent validation of an employer’s overall brand. The specificity of some of these lists may also help organizations target a specific desired sub-set of candidates.

Step Three: Know Your SMQ! (Social Media Quotient)

If your company has a social media profile; do you know whether it’s good, bad or in-between? In addition to the comments that employees, job applicants and former employees can post about you on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, there are, of course, dedicated employment review websites like LinkedIn that employers need to monitor, such as Indeed, CareerBliss, Great Place to Work, Comparably, The Job Crowd and, most notably, Glassdoor.

A predominance of indifferent or negative reviews can interfere with, or even ruin an employer’s brand. However, negative reviews can be overcome with a little effort. On most sites, employers can respond to negative reviews by posting comments on how they have addressed these concerns. To address candidate-specific complaints, employers can review and update their application processes.

It’s easier to anticipate what an employer’s social media quotient might look like if they understand how current employees feel about working for them, and key to this process is the administration of engagement surveys. Use the results of engagement surveys as your “early warning system” to address workforce engagement issues proactively, and the impact on your social media quotient will likely be very positive.

Step Four: Leverage Technology

With the right planning and decision-making, the process of executing on an employer branding or re-branding plan can be one of the easiest parts. These are the five areas in which organizations can leverage technology to simplify and automate employer rebranding efforts:

1. Recruiting

Since an employee’s first impression of most employers is found in their online Recruiting process, your brand should be clear from candidates’ first view of your Careers landing page, and consistent throughout the application process. Your recruiting software should adapt to your branding rather than expecting you to adapt to the software’s arbitrary or generic branding or style.

2. Benefits

If your branding revolves around benefits plan superiority among your peer employers, then a detailed and informative self-service open enrollment process is essential. It should feature and draw attention to the company cost of each benefit plan and option, to emphasize the investment you make into each employee. And a year-round total compensation statement should be a part of an employee's self-service experience.

3. Learning Management

Career development is an important concept supporting the idea of strong employment brand, but without an integrated LMS, most career development tools simply document plans, whether as envisioned by the employer, employee, or both. To execute on those plans, the most important set of tools an employer can provide employees is a robust learning management system, filled with available content tagged to the employees’ career interests and/or performance deficiencies.

4. Engagement Surveys

It's not enough to simply monitor employees’ engagement levels; HR professionals need to pay attention to trends and causes for emerging dissatisfaction among employees, and then address the underlying issues.

5. Empowerment, Millennials, and Bring Your Own Device (“BYOD”) Policies

Millennials are an emerging generation of workers who expect that HR support will be self-service, 24/7/365, and accessible on whatever device they pull from their pockets. No matter what approach your organization takes to employment branding overall, it should be delivered through HCM automation to remain appealing to the latest generation of workers.

Step Five: Start Again (and Again, and Again...)

Employer branding experts tell us that an employment brand that stands still is dying because the factors that animate and motivate both your current and prospective employees are constantly in a state of flux. Cutting edge technology, the latest innovations in benefits plans, and “best of…” employer recognition programs are constantly in flux. For this reason, employers wanting to make the most of their branding efforts review them on an annual, or at the very least, a biennial basis.

Build Your Employer Brand with Ascentis HCM Technology

Organizations whom have already put thought, creativity and investment into developing cutting-edge, unique employment programs, without the right strategy in place to find and engage the right candidates, will never experience positive ROI. When it comes to employment branding, the Ascentis HCM Suite of products has a lot to offer.

Ascentis Recruiting software harmonizes a client’s current careers page branding with our candidate self-service capabilities. And our custom onboarding forms allow companies to reinforce their brand with new hires who haven’t even started with the company yet.

Our SCORM and AICC-compliant learning management solution does so much more than merely track training courses. When populated with a client's chosen combination of authored, leased and/or purchased content, our software acts as the definitive toolkit by which employees can build out their careers, not just “plan” them.

We've also added a new engagement surveys capability which allows an organization to administer surveys on either an identified or anonymous basis, and we include extensive statistical reporting on the results of these surveys.

Ascentis solutions are uniquely positioned to appeal to millennials, particularly within the SMB community, by offering complete employee and manager self-service functionality, browser independence, mobile apps where appropriate, and a level of consumer-banking grade security that includes both multi-factor authentication and data encryption-at-rest rarely seen in other SMB-focused HR software suites.

Our products allow you the opportunity develop and support an employer brand, and the freedom to experience greater productivity while you develop and elevate your workforce, and grow your business. Explore our easy-to-use and incredibly powerful tools and learn how we can help you build your employer brand through HCM technology.

With more than 35 years of experience in providing Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions, Ascentis thought leaders have become a respected source for insights, tips, and innovations in the Human Capital Management (HCM) space.