Employer branding isn’t something you have, it’s something you do. This is the reason that so many businesses struggle when trying to measure the effectiveness of their employer brand: they believe that they are trying to measure the effects of a thing, an abstract concept, when in reality they need to measure the effects that their employer branding actions have on their recruitment efforts. This means that things like social posts and everything that makes up the applicant and employee experience at your company all count towards the overall impact of your employer brand, and can be used to measure its efficacy.
1. Social Engagement
This first metric for tracking your employer brand leans heavily on the idea that branding is an action, rather than a concept. If your brand has a presence on social media (and it really should), you can measure its health by keeping track of followers, impressions, likes, and shares over time. Don’t think that the only thing that matters here is earned impressions, either. Paid impressions are proof positive that your employer brand and EVP have been seen by a certain number of potential candidates—this may not seem like much of an accomplishment, but in point of fact it is proof that you’re putting in the type of work that eventually leads to improvements in other key hiring metrics.
If your social media followers are increasing month-over-month, and your posts are getting increasing rates of engagement, this is a sign that your employer brand is attractive and engaging. More than that, it’s a sign that more and more people have heard of and remain interested in your business, which is proof of successful branding in the same way that paid impressions can be.
2. Quality of Hire
The other side of the employer branding coin is its impact on the actual candidates who take jobs at your company. While social media can help you measure the growth of your employer brand, quality of hire can help you determine whether or not it is attracting the kinds of candidates that fit in nicely with your existing culture, mission, and values. Your employer brand may be communicating your EVP to large numbers of people, but if it’s not calibrated to attract the kind of talent that will drive continued business success, then all of your impressions and applications will translate into sub-par hires.
Different organizations have different ways of measuring quality of hire, but generally speaking it should account for how long the average hire remains a productive member of your organization, i.e. how long that hire goes without either leaving or encountering any serious performance problems. Sure, some attrition is a fact of life, and turnover rates will be higher in some industries, but if your new hires are all leaving after a month then you can be pretty sure that there is a disconnect between how you’re representing yourself and what the reality of your corporate life is.
3. Employee Referrals
As we saw with the metric above, your employer brand’s strength is in part determined by its ability to accurate portray your company in such a way as to motivate not just applications from job-seekers but dedication from employees. A pattern of low quality hires can indicate a failure to do this, just as a generally high quality hire can suggest that your employer brand is doing its job. By the same token, the number of employee referrals that pass through your recruitment funnel can also be a good indication of whether your employer brand inspires a high level of engagement.
After all, no one knows better than your current employees what it’s like to work for your company. If they're excited enough about your mission or your work environment (two key elements of your employer brand) to try and bring their friends and acquaintances aboard, that speaks volumes about the health of your business in general and your employer brand in particular. In fact, one of the ways that your employer brand can spread from person to person is through the actions of your employees. If they’re talking about their great work experiences on Facebook or Twitter or bringing your business up in conversation with friends, they're helping to build your reputation in a conversational way that gets others interested in your company and the opportunities that it offers.
4. New Hire Salaries
By and large, the metrics that we’ve suggested above rely on you to track the differences in your numbers over time, meaning that your initial measurements won’t necessarily tell you that much. By examining your average salary for new hires, on the other hand, you can gain a fairly immediate snapshot of your employer branding. Why? Because companies with good reputations can get top talent to accept job offers for lower pay than employers with poor reputations. This means that by comparing your average new-hire salary to the industry median for the position, you can begin to gain a sense of whether you’re overpaying candidates to compensate for a poor reputation (i.e. a poor employer brand), or if you’re branding efforts have cemented you as a destination workplace worth taking comparatively less money for.
At last we get to one of the most important and most talked about metrics in the world of recruitment: cost-per-hire. Businesses rely on cost-per-hire to tell them a lot about the success of their recruiting operations, but what does it tell you about your employer brand in particular? When it comes to your employer brand, a low cost per hire (or a reduction in cost per hire) is, as usual, a sign that something is going right. If people are responding to your brand, it will cost less to source them, they’ll move through your application process more quickly, and it will cost less to hire and retain them. Conversely, if you find that your cost-per-hire is high (or increasing) it may be a sign that your brand isn’t resonating with its intended audience, or that you’re failing to gain enough impressions with your messaging. In either case, it's only by continuing to measure your efforts that you can gain clear, actionable insights into the state of your hiring and how to improve it.