Key Metrics for Employer Branding

It is common knowledge that any business should have a corporate brand; the company's mission, values, and objectives, but what about the employer branding? Employer branding is how a company presents itself to a potential employee. This includes its reputation as a place to work and the employee value proposition, which is created through current and past workers. In today’s competitive job market employer branding is crucial for the success of a company. Employer brand metrics helps a business grow, acquire customers, and most importantly, it helps with finding talent. The better your company looks, the better quality of hires you’ll attract.

The problem is, most companies think employer branding is just something that is created organically. While this is true to some extent it is important to understand that a company should always be working towards the brand reputation they desire and measuring how well their tactics are working. There is often confusion in the Talent Acquisition (TA) market about which KPIs should be used to track employer branding performance, and how to best leverage the analytics to improve positive brand association. Thankfully, there is no hidden secret or expensive and complex tools - it’s about tracking your employer brand, and distilling the right data out of your discoveries, and applying it to how you present your organization.

Click-through Rate

The click-through rate is one of the most basic metrics for assessing the effectiveness of an employer branding campaign. It measures how many people have clicked on your ad, link, or social media post versus how many impressions have run, and is expressed as a percentage. So, whether you’re relying on organic search, organic social, or paid media, you want to ensure that:

a) enough potential prospects are seeing it;
b) they’re compelled to click on it.

Paid or not, your employer branding metrics, as well as things such as keywords, placement, choice of social network, and frequency, will determine if your message is effective. Otherwise, you’re wasting time and money on branding and advertising that’s not offering ROI. 

Hence, watching the click-through rate on a variety of ads will show what type of content is the most appealing to your target audience. Then, based on those analytics you can adjust your strategy accordingly. Truthfully the goal is not always to have the flashiest ad or most expensive one, but to create a positive association and interest in your target demographic. 

Social media is also a great resource for improving corporate brand recognition. This medium is good to show the culture and personality of the workplace via employee highlights, catchy videos, as well as other social formats - if used correctly. While impressions, likes, views, retweets, and shares can be useful, many employers make the mistake of putting too much emphasis on the reach and basic interactions of their social media, and not so much on click-throughs and conversions. Instead, try focusing on how many social media viewers are actually clicking through and making their way to your applications. The click-through rate for social media posts can help indicate whether your social users are potential new hires or just there to browse. 

Cost Per Click

If you’re running advertising campaigns, another KPI to consider is the Cost Per Click (CPC). This is where an advertiser only pays if the ad is clicked on. Cost per click is a great performance indicator when you are looking into marketing and advertising efforts, as you can determine your ROI relatively quickly based on your average CPC bid. Again, as a company, you should be wary, as not every click is a qualified click. Instead, your CPC metric should be connected to, and compared with another key metric in recruitment and employer branding your Cost Per Hire.

Understanding Cost Per Hire, in tandem with CPC can be a great overall indication of whether your efforts at communication are being successful or not. If the right people are responding to your employer branding ads, they will cost less to source, hire, and retain. If you are not aware of your cost to promote your organization and to hire, or you’re not continuously monitoring it, you could unknowingly be spending money on ineffective tactics. It is crucial to compare the cost per hire to the industry benchmark so you can position yourself well compared to the competition, and adjust accordingly. 

Number of Organic Applications

Obtaining organic applications on your career page is the end-all goal for employer branding. It’s free and it relies on natural traffic between candidates and employers via a careers site, social media, or the employee's networks. Quality candidates are finding their way to you without investing too much time or money, and this is a great KPI to watch when discussing your branding. Monitoring this number will inform you relatively quickly if adjustments need to be made or if you’ve hit a sweet spot. With a successful branding strategy your trend line of organic applications will be positive.

On the other hand, if your site is receiving a low number of organic applicants it is time to adjust your approach and re-address your branding efforts. While paid advertising can be worthwhile, spending without any strong results isn’t sustainable. If your efforts aren’t leading to organic results, it’s probably not worth the investment.

RB organic

Number of Quality Hires

Finally, the number of quality hires is another great KPI because it physically shows you that your efforts are producing actual results. Applicants are great, but if they’re not quality hires that will pay dividends for your business, you’re just wasting your time. If you’re getting too many unqualified applicants, then you need to take a look at your branding and marketing efforts. Clearly something is missing in your message and the overall perception of the company, and calibration is needed. While you do need some volume of applicants to find the right ones, obtaining brand awareness and reaching a large number of people isn’t the point. Success should be measured not by your pile of resumes, but your reasonably-sized folder of job offers and contracts.

The quality of hires is specific to your company and the goals you have. Typically, quality is measured by how long a new hire is an active team member, whether they have performance problems, and the work they produce. This KPI requires a clearly outlined performance review process to definitively decide what your business deems a quality team member and monitor new hires long term.

Tracking Your Employer Branding Efforts

So, what does this all mean in a practical sense? Employer branding is a fickle thing, and generally isn’t the most favorite line item on the annual budget report. In fact, it’s generally a spend that is undervalued and underserviced. However, it should be more widely understood that this, and any other marketing efforts, should be of primary concern. After all, if your organization isn’t viewed positively by potential employees, you’re going to run into a problem.


Find the Budget:

A common pain point when trying to manage and improve your branding, is getting the budget to do so. In order to get the budget, however, you need to obviously make a case for why you need it. This is where these KPIs come into place. Presumably, you’re already doing some recruiting, job posting, maybe a measure of advertising. It’s time to start keeping track of your metrics as indicated above, and using them as evidence that what you’re doing is great but could be better or that you’re not doing any good at all, and need more resources.

Know the Benchmarks And Tools:

That said, it's one thing to know the most effective ways to measure and analyze KPIs, it's another to put them into practice. It’s highly recommended that you start by researching click-through rate and cost-per-click benchmarks for your industry. They are easily accessible online and will help you gauge how you compare to competing companies and your specific industry as a whole. If you’re working with an ad or marketing agency, then they’ll have the reporting as part of the contract. If not, then you can easily get access to the analytics yourself.

After having a better understanding of your positioning, take advantage of free resources online. Google Analytics is a convenient tool for tracking and reporting on your website traffic, and they offer courses to teach you the best way to implement the platform and analyze results. Without a large investment of time or money, Google makes it easy to track metrics with one customizable dashboard, and offers easy to understand reporting. This way, you can keep track of your branding ROI.

Ask For Help:

Of course, if you can’t do these things yourself, there are also potential partners in the recruitment space that offer software, automation, and KPI management to delight your potential applicants and lower your potential Cost Per Hire costs. By simplifying the process on the consumer side, and providing you with quality hires and metrics, the right application partner will help improve your branding. Once you have these metrics, then it’s easy to merge and compare them to your internal numbers such as applications, number of hires, and whatever performance related metrics you have in place, to understand your organic applications, Cost Per Hire, and the overall quality of your hiring pipeline.

With all this in hand, you should be able to present a strong case for why employer branding is of vital importance, and how you can further improve on any gaps in your current strategy. This will result in a better reputation for your business and let’s face it, people want to work for good companies. The first thing someone on a job hunt will do is search “best places to work”, so getting your company on that list is key. The result will be a better pool of candidates and quality hires.

Gaining good employees will then lead to more positive referrals. Elevating company culture by having a dedicated group of people will improve your reputation over time. There is also a pride that comes from working at a great company. Having employees that are passionate about the place they are working will boost morale and result in a better retention rate. High turn-over is often a red flag for applicants, so making the investment in EB will pay off in the long run.

Utilize SmartDreamers:

While monitoring web traffic is a great place to start, SmartDreamers can help you to take your data and insights to the next level. The secret to great talent acquisition is ongoing, strategic communication. Whether it’s automating your social media posts, managing job postings, importing CV’s and nurturing leads, SmartDreams helps you narrow the pool of applicants to hone in on quality leads through ongoing communication tactics.

Our tools take the guesswork out of employer branding and talent acquisition, to not only find the right fit for your openings, but to also report on a variety of metrics from email clicks to how long-term campaigns perform with different audiences. The more data you track, the more accurate and effective your targeting will be, and the better quality of hire you’ll get.

Whether you are currently seeking new talent or thinking long term, beginning to track your metrics today will be a tremendous benefit to company talent acquisition.