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Employer Branding: Strategies for Captivating Both External Talent and Internal Champions 

Happy employees as the face of a brand.
Company Branding for Talent Acquisition

In today's dynamic job market, where opportunities are plentiful and talent is fiercely sought after, the ability of organizations to stand out as employers of choice has never been more crucial. 

Welcome to a deep dive into the world of employer branding, where we will explore strategies that attract external talent and nurture and engage the internal champions within our organizations. In this digital age, where transparency and authenticity reign supreme, employers need to have a brand that resonates not only with the candidates they hope to recruit, but also with the employees they wish to retain. 

Developing a strategy for employer branding involves creating a compelling narrative and image of your organization as a preferred employer. This strategy typically targets both external and internal audiences, aiming to attract top talent externally while also engaging and retaining employees internally. Following through on and measuring those branding efforts ensures an alignment with broader organizational objectives and priorities. It allows organizations to gauge whether their branding activities are contributing to strategic goals such as talent acquisition and employee engagement. 

Here is how you can approach developing a strategy for both audiences: 

External Audience: Candidates 

1. Define Your Employer Value Proposition (EVP): 

  • Identify and articulate what sets your organization apart as an employer. 

  • Highlight your company culture, benefits, opportunities for growth, work-life balance, etc. 

Define the benefits and advantages that employees can expect from working at your organization. This includes not only tangible perks like salary and benefits, but also intangible elements such as career development opportunities, a supportive work environment, and meaningful work. Clarify and communicate your organization's core values and mission. Candidates are often drawn to employers whose values align with their own, so articulating these clearly can attract like-minded individuals. Determine what makes your organization unique in the eyes of potential candidates. This could be your innovative approach to industry challenges, your commitment to social responsibility, or your use of innovative technologies. 


2. Craft Compelling Brand Messaging: 

An infographic that states that brand messages reached 561% further when shared by employees vs the same messages shared via official brand social channels. Messages are re-shared 24x more when distributed by employees vs brand.
  •    Develop messaging that resonates with your target talent pool. 

  •    Showcase your company's mission, values, and impact in brand messaging.  

   To resonate with your target talent pool, it is important to understand the audience. Conduct research to understand the demographics, preferences, and motivations of your talent pool. This may involve analyzing data, conducting surveys, or even holding focus groups to gain insights into what matters most to potential candidates. Customize your messaging to speak directly to the interests and aspirations of your target audience. Use language, tone, and channels that resonate with them, whether it is through social media, email campaigns, or other targeted advertisements. Identify and emphasize the aspects of your organization that are most attractive to your target talent pool. This could include opportunities for career growth, a supportive work environment, innovative projects, or a strong company culture. 


3. Leverage Digital Channels: 

  •    Utilize social media, career websites, and professional networks to amplify your employer brand. 

  •    Share employee testimonials, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and success stories. 


Establishing a strong presence on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram helps increase and promote brand awareness. Share content that reflects your employer brand, including job openings, company news, employee spotlights, and culture-related posts. Encourage employees to share their experiences working at your organization through written testimonials, video interviews, or social media posts. Authentic testimonials provide valuable insights into your company culture and what it is like to be part of your team. Make it a point to share success stories and achievements of your employees and teams. Whether it's a project milestone, a successful product launch, or a recognition received, highlighting these accomplishments reinforces a positive employer brand and demonstrates the impact of working at your organization. 


4. Engage in Employer Branding Events:

A job fair with many people networking
  •    Participate in job fairs, industry events, and conferences to highlight your brand 

  •    Host employer branding events such as webinars or workshops to engage with potential candidates. 

Participating in job fairs, industry events, and conferences provides opportunities for your organization to increase its visibility within its relevant professional communities. Your presence at these events exposes your brand to a diverse audience of potential candidates, industry peers, and partners. Engaging in meaningful conversations and building relationships with attendees can help strengthen your brand presence and expand your network. Webinars and workshops offer platforms for sharing educational and informative content related to your industry, company culture, career opportunities, or professional development. By providing valuable insights and expertise, you can demonstrate your organization's thought leadership and attract top talent. 


5. Optimize Candidate Experience: 

A woman happy during a job interview.
  •    Ensure a seamless and positive experience for candidates throughout the recruitment process. 

  •    Provide timely communication, feedback, and transparency. 

Streamline the application process with a mobile-friendly career portal or application system to make applying easier for candidates. Provide comprehensive and accurate job descriptions that clearly outline the role’s responsibilities, qualifications, and expectations. Transparency about the job and company culture helps candidates assess how they would fit in and reduces the likelihood of mismatches or misunderstandings later in the process. Communication is key: keeping candidates informed about their status throughout the recruitment process, providing updates on the progress of their application, next steps, and expected timelines helps manage candidates' expectations and reduces uncertainty. According to the Talent Trends Report, 94% of candidates want to receive constructive feedback after an interview. Offer constructive feedback to candidates following interviews or assessments, regardless of the outcome. Providing specific and actionable feedback helps candidates understand areas for improvement and enhances their experience, even if they are not selected for the role. 


6. Monitor and Measure Your Efforts: 

  •    Track metrics such as candidate engagement, application rates, and employee referrals to assess the effectiveness of your employer branding efforts. 

  •    Gather feedback from candidates to continuously improve your strategy. 

  Measuring the success of your employer branding strategy includes tracking the awareness and attractiveness of your brand in addition to employee reviews and referrals. Monitor metrics related to candidate engagement, such as the number of visits to your career website, the duration of time spent on job postings, and the level of interaction with your employer brand content on social media platforms. High levels of candidate engagement indicate a strong interest in your organization and its opportunities. Analyzing trends in job application volume over time and across different channels helps identify areas of strength and for improvement in your recruitment strategy.  



Internal Audience: Current Employees 


1. Internal Brand Alignment: 

  •     Ensure that your internal culture aligns with the external brand image you're promoting. 

  •    Engage employees in defining and refining the employer brand message. 

    This is about talking the talk and walking the walk. Consistency between the external brand image and internal culture builds credibility and trust with employees. Leaders within an organization play a crucial role in shaping and reinforcing the internal culture. Leadership behaviors should exemplify the values and principles of the employer brand, serving as role models for employees and reinforcing the alignment between the internal culture and external brand image. Leaders encourage employees at all levels to embody the values and behaviors that are central to the brand. When everyone consistently demonstrates the organization's values in their day-to-day actions, it reinforces the authenticity of the employer brand and strengthens employee morale and engagement. Additionally, involve employees from across the organization in the process of defining and refining the employer brand message. This ensures that diverse perspectives are considered and that the resulting brand message resonates authentically with employees at all levels. 


2. Communicate Values and Vision: 

A female boss communicating values, mission, and vision to employees
  •    Regularly communicate the organization's values, mission, and vision to employees. 

  •    Show how each employee contributes to the overall success and impact of the company. 

      Utilize team meetings, company-wide emails, or internal newsletters to regularly communicate the organization’s goals and progress. Consistent messaging ensures that employees understand and internalize the core principles that guide the organization's actions and decisions. Demonstrate how each employee's work aligns with the goals and contributes to a company’s overall success. Connect individual roles and responsibilities to broader organizational objectives, emphasizing the importance of each employee's contributions to achieving shared outcomes. 


3. Employee Recognition and Rewards: 

A trophy next to a work report.
  •    Recognize and reward employees who exemplify the company's values and contribute to the employer brand. 

  •    Celebrate milestones, achievements, and successes publicly. 

   Share employee success stories and spotlights that showcase individuals who exemplify the organization's values and make significant contributions to its mission and vision. Highlighting these stories demonstrates the impact of individual efforts on the overall success and culture of the company. Fostering a culture of public appreciation, motivation, and pride drives employer brand forward and reinforces a reputation of an employer of choice.  


4. Invest in Employee Development: 

A tree in all stages of growth across a book.
  •    Provide opportunities for learning, growth, and advancement within the organization. 

  •    Support employees in developing their skills and pursuing their career goals.  

   Provide opportunities for employees to develop their skills, grow professionally, and take on new challenges that align with the organization's strategic objectives. Investing in employee training, mentorship programs, and career development initiatives empower employees to contribute meaningfully to the company's success. Investing in employees is investing in the organization. 

5. Gather and Act on Feedback: 

  •    Regularly solicit feedback from employees about their experience with the employer brand. 

  •    Use this feedback to identify areas for improvement and make necessary changes. 

The simple act of regularly checking in on employees can make a significant difference in overall job satisfaction. Establish multiple channels for soliciting feedback from employees about their experience with the employer brand, including anonymous options. This could include surveys, focus groups, one-on-one meetings, suggestion boxes, or dedicated feedback sessions. By regularly gathering feedback from employees about their experience with the employer brand and using this feedback to identify areas for improvement and make necessary changes, organizations can demonstrate their commitment to employee engagement and continuous improvement. This proactive approach fosters a culture of listening, responsiveness, and collaboration, ultimately enhancing the employer brand and strengthening the organization's reputation as an employer of choice. 


By developing a comprehensive strategy that addresses both external and internal audiences, you can build a strong employer brand that attracts top talent, fosters employee engagement, and drives organizational success. 


Kathy Panaro, Founder and CEO of The Panaro Group LLC
Kathy Panaro, Founder and CEO of The Panaro Group LLC

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