Using PR to Grow HR: Why Your Employer Brand is Your Most Important Tool for Attracting Top Talent


Research shows organizations that invest in employer branding are three times more likely to make a quality hire. [1]

What does this mean for you?

Your company’s reputation and the perception of its leaders can make or break your brand’s ability to land and retain top talent.

But how much control over its reputation does a company have—and what can be done to elevate or maintain it?

Establishing a positive and attractive reputation starts from within, and you have more control over the result than you think.

In this era of digital media and networking, it’s critical for brands to own and steer their public perception. Online company and job review sites make it easy for prospective talent to observe feedback on a company’s culture, employee pride, benefits and even approval of the CEO before they consider applying for a position.

Have you conducted an audit to see how your company stacks up?

Why Invest in Your Employer Brand?

Before diving in to the ways you can shape your employer brand, it’s important to understand why all of this matters.

Notice above I used the word “talent” to describe the audience you’re looking to attract. Most companies are seeking more than just any warm-blooded individual to plug into a role. Instead, they likely want an inspired, qualified employee who will bring ideas and solutions to the table while fostering a positive culture.

A clear picture of an organization will only help encourage top talent to reach out.

If that’s not enough, the Harvard Business Review points to the expense of a bad reputation: Companies with a poor employer brand spend at least 10 percent more per hire.

While a positive employer brand should be an everyday focus, it is also beneficial when large organizations need to make multiple hires very quickly. Borrowing from today’s headlines, companies like Foxconn in Wisconsin and Amazon in a yet-to-be-named second headquarters will need to bring upwards of 30,000 employees on board—and fast.

Quickly understanding that they’ll benefit from culture, offerings and potential growth in a new opportunity can expedite the recruiting process.

How Do You Build an Employer Brand?

It’s never too late to take back control of or proactively build an employer brand.

We’ve worked with clients large and small to implement a customized PR program designed to help companies thrive. Here are just some of the ways an experienced agency partner like Approach can help:

  • Claiming and Growing Company Review Channels—Sites like Glassdoor, Indeed and LinkedIn allow owners to “claim” their organization and maintain their profiles. This is a must-do for every brand.
  • Driving Positive Reviews—Most people are driven to share an online review when they have a significant reason to do so, perhaps after experiencing something good or bad on their way out the door. This often equates to polarized reviews that leave a prospect unsure of what to make of a company. Brands don’t usually think to ask or incentivize current employees to share an honest review. But this should be an integral part of a proactive employee communication strategy. It can also help to balance out any existing negative reviews.
  • Employee Social Media Sharing—Beyond reviewing their jobs online, do employees have reasons to share about what they enjoy about their position? Facebook and Twitter are laden with posts like, “Ugh, I wish it was 5:00.” How about incentivizing employees to share about what’s good? Their friends and family could one day become a talent prospect if they’re inspired by the culture.
  • Employer Social Media Channels—Illustrating the culture, pride and benefits of an organization can attract talent who scour its profiles to get a sense of what it’s like to work there. Brands are the best resource for bringing this vision to life, which can be done with strategic content.
  • Workplace Awards—Many media outlets and organizations recognize companies on Best Places to Work lists, including Glassdoor itself. Receiving and sharing about awards can build brand awareness and credibility for companies.

Establishing and maintaining a positive employer brand benefits current and future employees. A strategic PR plan and concerted effort can make noticeable strides for an organization within weeks.

[1] Source: Brandon Hall, The True Cost of a Bad Hire, September 2015