If you were to guess what percentage of respondents to LinkedIn’s global job seeker survey cited an organization’s reputation as a great place to work as being the most important factor when considering a new job, what would you estimate that percentage to be? Tired of guessing? It’s more than half. Worldwide, 56% of job seekers — active and passive — cite a positive employment brand as the most important factor. Not just an important factor, but the most important factor.
This trumps the organization’s reputation for its products and/or services, a factor that only one-in-five respondents identified. And even fewer, 17%, pointed to an organization’s reputation for having great people as being a persuasive factor when considering a new job.
Why does brand, or reputation, matter so much to employees? When done right, an employer brand effectively conveys who you are as an employer, what it is you offer in terms of an employment experience, how you differ from the competition and, most importantly, why people should want to work for your organization. In other words, it gives potential employees a certain level of assurance that the change they are making by switching employers will result in a positive outcome. Making a job change, like any other major life change, is a risky proposition for many people. This is why employee referrals are so effective, too. Job seekers find it less risky to leave their current employer if they know someone at the organization they are joining.
It’s not any different from the assurance people get by making a purchase from a well-known product or service brand. Whether or not they end up being satisfied isn’t the point here — the point is that because the company they are purchasing something from has a great reputation, they perceive the purchase as less risky than purchasing the same item or service from a company that lacks a favorable reputation.
A strong employer brand will help to boost visibility for your organization among potential candidates and remind current employees of their own commitments, but think of it also as a tool. It is a tool that mitigates risk — the risk your organization takes on new hires (as you’ll be more effective in attracting higher quality candidates) and, more importantly, the risk that employees face when making a job change.