Budget-friendly employer branding: cost effective tactics for success

As employer brand management consultants, we understand the importance of creating a strong and cohesive brand image. This is difficult, particularly in today’s highly competitive job market. However, many companies feel that building a strong employer brand requires a substantial budget. The good news is that there are many cost-effective tactics that can help you build a strong and compelling employer brand. And you can do this with minimal budget and internal resources! Here are 11 budget-friendly employer branding tactics for achieving quick results.

1- Implement Careers On Social Media

With over half the world being active on some form of social media, it has become an industry standard for cost-efficient and targeted marketing. As a result, it’s important to implement careers social media to enhance your employer brand communication. This approach allows candidates to research employers, potential teammates, and leaders to get a sense of their work culture and benefits. Furthermore, it has become a showcase for organisations to highlight their people, culture, benefits, achievements, and more. In addition, utilising social media for employer brand communication has numerous benefits, including a better reputation, improved recruitment processes, and cost-saving.

It’s important to remember that social media is a two-way channel. This communication involves more than just one-way messaging, but also engagement such as liking, following, replying, and reposting. Utilising social media as part of your employer brand communication has numerous benefits, including a better reputation, improved recruitment processes, and cost-saving. Employers who effectively use social media for employer brand communication will have an advantage in the talent market. This is because it allows them to differentiate themselves from the competition and attract the most suitable talent for their culture.

  1. Define your target audience and the social media platforms where they are most active.
  2. Develop a content strategy for promoting open positions on social media, including the frequency and types of posts you’ll make.
  3. Utilise visual content such as job descriptions, company culture videos, and employee testimonials to make your postings more engaging.
  4. Track the success of your social media recruitment efforts and adjust your strategy as needed.

2- Utilise Employee Advocacy

Empower and encourage employees to actively participate in promoting the employer brand. Employee advocacy involves sharing positive experiences, brand messages, and company-related content on their personal social media accounts. The impact of employee advocacy on the employer brand can be significant. It leverages the collective reach of employees’ personal networks and enhances the brand’s visibility and credibility. Its power lies in the authenticity of the message, as employees are trusted sources of information. This is because they often have more direct interaction with customers, colleagues, and the community. Employee advocacy is a cost-effective tool for promoting an organisation’s employer brand.

Encouraging employees to participate in advocacy efforts can help reach a wider audience than traditional advertising and marketing channels. This is especially beneficial for small businesses or startups with limited budgets, as they can achieve big results by leveraging the power of their employees to promote their brand. Employee advocacy also helps to foster a positive and authentic corporate culture, allowing employees to express their experiences and perspectives. When employees are passionate and invested in the brand, they naturally convey this enthusiasm to their network. Thus, they increase brand awareness and appeal to potential candidates.

To successfully implement employee advocacy, you should have clear guidelines and a well-defined process in place. After that, you should provide training and resources to employees, and establish clear communication channels. You must ensure that employees are equipped with the information and tools they need to effectively promote the brand.

3- Develop An Employee Referral Program

An Employee Referral Program (ERP) is a strategic human resources initiative. It is aimed at leveraging the power of an organisation’s existing workforce to attract top talent. The process includes encouraging employees to refer their friends, family, and acquaintances to open positions within the company. You can benefit from a faster and more cost-effective hiring process, as well as increased quality of hires.

3A- The benefits of implementing an ERP

  • Increased quality of hires: Referred candidates are often a better fit for the company culture. They usually have more of the necessary skills and qualifications for the open position.
  • Faster hiring process: The recruitment process can be accelerated when a candidate is referred. This is because they are often pre-screened by the referring employee.
  • Lower cost per hire: An ERP can reduce recruitment expenses. This includes the cost of advertising, staffing agencies, and other recruitment expenses.
  • Enhancing reputation: By rewarding employees for their referrals, an ERP demonstrates the company’s value for its workforce. As a result, you can enhance its reputation as an employer.
  • Demonstrating commitment to workplace culture: An ERP shows the company’s commitment to its workplace culture by encouraging employees to refer people they know and trust. This can make the company more attractive to potential employees who value a positive work environment.
  • Increasing employee engagement & satisfaction: Because employees feel valued and invested in the company’s success, they will be engaged more.

3B- Steps to implement ERP

  1. Define program goals: Identify specific objectives for the ERP, such as reducing recruitment costs or increasing the quality of hires.
  2. Determine eligible positions: Decide which positions are eligible for referral bonuses, and communicate this information to all employees.
  3. Establish the referral process: Determine how referrals will be made, tracked, and rewarded. It is important to keep the process simple and user-friendly.
  4. Develop a reward structure: Choose meaningful rewards that align with the program’s goals and incentivize employees to participate.
  5. Communicate the program: Ensure all employees are aware of the ERP, its goals, and the referral process. Encourage participation and provide ongoing feedback on the program’s effectiveness.

4- Publish Thought Leadership Content

Thought leadership involves offering innovative insights, perspectives, and expertise in a specific industry or field. Thought leadership content can take many forms. These can be articles, blog posts, white papers, reports, or any other type of publication. All these documents demonstrate an organisation’s expertise and thought leadership in a particular area of interest. The purpose of thought leadership is to establish an organisation as a trusted source of information, insights, and expertise in its industry.

When an organisation is viewed as a thought leader in its industry, it can help build trust and credibility among potential and current employees, as well as other stakeholders. Moreover, thought leadership content can differentiate an organisation from its competitors, making it more attractive to top talent.

Here are a few ways in which publishing thought leadership content can positively impact an employer brand:

  • Reputation enhancement: By sharing valuable insights, perspectives, and expertise in its industry, an organisation can establish itself as a trusted source of information, thereby enhancing its reputation.
  • Attraction of top talent: When an organisation demonstrates its commitment to innovation and problem-solving, it can attract top talent in its industry, who are seeking to work with organisations that are pushing boundaries and driving change.
  • Employee engagement: By providing employees with valuable information and insights, an organisation can increase employee engagement and satisfaction. This, in turn, can lead to higher retention rates and lower turnover.
  • Increased brand awareness: By publishing thought leadership content, an organisation can reach a wider audience and increase brand awareness, leading to greater recognition and visibility.

5- Encourage Open Communication

Open communication is the free exchange of information, ideas, and opinions between individuals and groups within an organisation. It is essential for the success of any organisation as it fosters trust, collaboration, and understanding among employees. Moreover, open communication enables employees to feel heard, valued, and respected, which ultimately leads to higher job satisfaction and engagement levels. Encouraging open communication can significantly impact the perception of the employer brand, both internally and externally.

Internally, open communication can help create a positive work environment and increase employee loyalty. When employees feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas, it can lead to improved teamwork, problem-solving, and decision-making. Additionally, open communication can help identify and address potential issues before they become major problems.

Externally, open communication can enhance the reputation of the employer brand, as it shows potential candidates that the organisation values transparency and honesty. This can help attract top talent and increase the organisation’s visibility in the talent market. As a result, open communication can enhance the reputation of the employer brand and make the organisation more appealing to potential candidates.

5A- Benefits of open communication

  • Enhances Employee Experience: Open communication allows employees to voice their opinions, suggestions, and concerns, leading to a more engaged and motivated workforce.
  • Improves Organisational Performance: Open communication promotes collaboration and teamwork, which leads to more efficient problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Increases Employee Retention: Employees are more likely to stay with an organisation that values their input and provides a supportive work environment.
  • Attracts Top Talent: A strong employer brand, built on a foundation of open communication, can be a powerful tool in attracting and retaining top talent.
  • Improves Reputation: An open and transparent organisation is viewed as more trustworthy and reputable, enhancing the overall image of the employer brand.

5B- Steps to achieve open communication

  1. Establish a Culture of Trust: Create a workplace environment that fosters trust and transparency. Encourage employees to share their opinions, thoughts, and feedback without fear of retaliation.
  2. Provide Opportunities for Employee Input: Encourage employees to actively participate in discussions, meetings, and decision-making processes.
  3. Implement an Employee Feedback System: Create a formal process for employees to provide feedback and suggestions, and make sure that their feedback is taken into consideration.
  4. Encourage Open Dialogue: Encourage open and honest dialogue between employees, managers, and other stakeholders.
  5. Lead by Example: The leadership team should actively participate in open communication, setting the tone for the rest of the organisation.

6- Use Employee Recognition Programmes

Employee recognition programmes aim to acknowledge and reward employees for their efforts, achievements, and contributions to the organisation. In addition, they create a positive work environment and promote a culture of appreciation, which can help organisations retain top talent. Employees are more likely to remain with an organisation that recognizes and rewards their contributions. This in turn contributes to lower turnover rates and reduces the costs associated with recruiting and training new employees. This can also improve the organisation’s reputation as a great place to work and enhance its employer brand.

Employee recognition programmes provide an opportunity for organisations to demonstrate their core values and commitments. For example, if an organisation values diversity and inclusiveness, it could recognize employees who have made significant contributions to promoting these values in the workplace. By doing so, the organisation sends a message to its employees and other stakeholders that it is committed to its values, enhancing its reputation and improving its employer brand.

Finally, recognized employees are more likely to refer their friends and family to the organisation. This can help attract top talent and further improve the organisation’s reputation as a great place to work. As a result, it can enhance the employer brand and make it easier for the organisation to recruit the best candidates for its open positions.

7- Utilise Employee Onboarding Programmes

Employee onboarding refers to the process of integrating new hires into the organisational culture, familiarising them with the company’s policies and procedures, and preparing them to perform their job effectively. The objective of an employee onboarding programme is to create a smooth transition for new employees and help them become productive members of the organisation as quickly as possible. An effective employee onboarding programme can have a positive impact on the employer brand in several ways.

7A- Benefits of onboarding programs

  • Enhances Employee Engagement and Retention: A well-structured onboarding program helps new hires feel welcomed and valued. This leads to increased employee engagement and retention.
  • Improves Employee Performance: A thorough onboarding program equips new hires with the knowledge and resources they need to perform their jobs effectively. This can lead to improved employee performance and productivity, which, in turn, can help enhance the company’s reputation.
  • Demonstrates Commitment to Employee Development: A comprehensive employee onboarding program demonstrates a company’s commitment to its employees’ professional growth and development. This can help establish a positive image of the company as an employer of choice, which can attract top talent.
  • Strengthens Organisational Culture: Employee onboarding programs are an excellent opportunity to communicate the company’s values, mission, and culture to new hires. This can help reinforce and strengthen the organisational culture, which, in turn, can positively impact the employer brand.

7B- Steps to implement employee onboarding program:

  1. The first step in implementing an employee onboarding program is to define its objectives. For example; identifying the specific outcomes the company hopes to achieve. The goals can be increased employee engagement, improved performance, or stronger organisational culture.
  2. Once you establish objectives, your next step is to identify the key components of the program. This may include activities such as orientation sessions, job training, mentorship programs, and cultural immersion activities.
  3. To ensure the success of the employee onboarding program, it is essential to involve key stakeholders. For instance; HR professionals, managers, and employees. This helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the program aligns with the company’s overall goals and objectives.
  4. A clear communication plan is critical to the success of an employee onboarding program. This includes communicating the objectives and key components of the program to new hires, as well as providing ongoing support and feedback to ensure their success.
  5. Regular evaluation of the employee onboarding program is essential to ensure that it is meeting its objectives and delivering the desired outcomes. This includes gathering feedback from new hires and making any necessary adjustments to the program to ensure its ongoing effectiveness.

8- Release Hard-Skills Content

The publishing of valuable, educational content through a company blog or hosting webinars and training sessions is a strategy that can positively impact the employer brand. By providing educational content that showcases the company’s expertise in their industry, an organisation can position itself as an expert in the field. This content can be educational content through a company blog or hosting webinars and training sessions. For instance, releasing valuable blog posts, hosting webinars, and organising training sessions can help demonstrate the company’s knowledge and understanding of their industry. Releasing these not only demonstrates the company’s knowledge and understanding of their industry but also highlights the company’s dedication to professional development.

8A- Benefits of releasing hard-skills content

  • Providing training and educational opportunities for employees can improve their skills and knowledge, leading to increased job satisfaction and a more positive perception of the company. Moreover, employees who feel valued and empowered are more likely to speak positively about their company, leading to increased brand recognition and a more positive reputation.
  • Furthermore, investing in employees’ professional growth demonstrates that the company values their employees and is dedicated to their long-term success. This, in turn, can help attract and retain top talent, as employees are more likely to stay with a company that invests in their development. As a result, investing in employees’ professional growth is a win-win situation for both the organisation and its employees, helping to attract and retain top talent while building a positive employer brand.

8B- Steps of releasing internally-sourced content

  1. Identify the company’s areas of expertise and the skills that are most relevant to its employees and target audiences.
  2. Assign internal subject matter experts to create educational content, such as blog posts, webinars, and training sessions.
  3. Promote the content through the company’s website, social media channels, and email campaigns.
  4. Track the content’s performance and make adjustments

9- Partner Up For Social Responsibility

As consumers become increasingly socially conscious, audience expectations change. People expect companies to align their values and practices with the larger community and make a positive impact. Partnering with non-profit organisations to drive social responsibility initiatives can boost an employer’s brand reputation and demonstrate the company’s commitment to corporate social responsibility. In section, we’ll explore the various benefits of partnering up for social responsibility and how it impacts the employer brand.

9A- Benefits of social responsibility initiatives

  • Demonstrating a commitment to the community: Partnership showcases a company’s dedication to the well-being of its community, enhancing the employer brand and contributing to a positive public perception. This enhances the company’s reputation, increases brand awareness, and ultimately helps to attract and retain top talent.
  • Increased brand exposure also helps reach new audiences and build a stronger brand identity.
  • Employee engagement: Provides employees with opportunities to volunteer and give back to the community. This can foster a sense of pride and increased job satisfaction, ultimately leading to higher employee retention.
  • Building brand awareness: Increases brand awareness and provides opportunities for positive brand exposure.

9B- Steps to implement social responsibility initiatives

  1. The first step in implementing a social responsibility initiative is to identify a cause that aligns with the company’s values and mission. You can do this by conducting research and seeking input from employees.
  2. Once a cause has been identified, you can partner with a reputable organisation well-established in the field. This can help ensure that the initiative is effective and well-received.
  3. Encouraging employees to get involved in the initiative can increase employee engagement and satisfaction. You can manage this by offering opportunities for employees to volunteer their time or skills, or by organising events and activities that raise awareness and funds for the cause.
  4. It is important to regularly measure the impact of the social responsibility initiative and make adjustments as necessary. This can help ensure that the initiative is effective and makes a positive impact in the community.

10- Network At Career Events

By participating in career fairs, industry conferences, and other professional events, organisations can showcase their company culture, values, and job opportunities to a large pool of qualified candidates. In this section, we will examine the impact of networking at career events on an employer brand and the steps organisations can take to maximise this opportunity.

10A- Benefits of career events networking

  • Expanding your reach: Career events often attract a large number of job seekers and industry professionals. These events provide organisations with an opportunity to reach a wider audience and build their candidate pool.
  • Demonstrating company culture: Organisations can showcase their company culture, values, and work environment to potential candidates. You can help attract individuals who align with your company’s culture and values. This increases the chances of a successful job placement.
  • Building brand awareness: By increasing visibility among job seekers and industry professionals, you can build brand awareness.
  • Establishing industry relationships: Career events provide organisations with the opportunity to connect with other industry professionals and establish valuable relationships. These relationships can lead to future business opportunities and collaborations.

10B- Steps to maximise the impact of networking

  1. Research: Identify career fairs and industry events that are relevant to the organisation’s target audiences.
  2. Preparation: Before attending a career event, organisations should prepare by researching the event and the attendees. You can identify potential candidates and industry contacts, and determine their goals for the event. You should create branded promotional materials (Brochures, cards, etc.) after this step.
  3. Booth Design: Organisations should invest in creating a professional and appealing booth design. Your goal is to showcase your brand and highlights the company culture and values.
  4. Engage with Attendees: Organisations should engage with attendees by starting conversations, answering questions, and building relationships. They should also collect the contact information of potential candidates and industry contacts for future follow-up.
  5. Follow-Up: After the event, organisations should follow up with potential candidates and industry contacts to maintain their interest and build upon the relationships established at the event.

11- Promote Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is a critical aspect of any organisation’s human resource strategy, as it directly impacts an organisation’s bottom line. It refers to the extent to which employees are emotionally and mentally invested in their work and their organisation. Engaged employees are motivated, productive, and committed to their work and the success of their organisation.

11A- Benefits of employee engagement

  • Enhancing the organisation’s reputation: Engaged employees are more likely to act as ambassadors for their organisation. They promote its values and culture to their networks and peers.
  • Improving the candidate experience: Engaged employees can provide valuable insight into the organisation’s culture, values, and work environment. You can leverage this to improve the candidate experience during the recruitment process.
  • Attracting top talent: Organisations with high levels of employee engagement are more likely to attract and retain top talent. This enhances the organisation’s overall performance and competitiveness.
  • Demonstrating a commitment to employee development: By promoting employee engagement, organisations demonstrate their commitment to employee development. Thus, they can further enhance their employer brand and reputation.

11B- Steps to promote employee engagement

  1. Providing meaningful work: Ensuring that employees have challenging and meaningful work can help increase their engagement and motivation.
  2. Encouraging collaboration and teamwork can help foster a sense of community and belonging among employees.
  3. Providing opportunities for professional development and growth can help increase their engagement and motivation.
  4. Encouraging open and transparent communication can help foster a sense of trust and transparency, which can increase employee engagement. You can achieve this by communicating regularly with employees about the below:
    1. Company goals, successes, and challenges
    2. Opportunities for employees to give feedback and get involved in decision-making processes
  5. Conducting regular employee surveys and focus groups, of course, helps immensely. You can gather critical feedback and insights on what employees value most about their work experience.
  6. Recognising and rewarding employees for their contributions can help increase their engagement and motivation.

12- Conclusion

You can build a strong and compelling brand image while maximising their internal resources with these tactics. However, it is essential to remember that building a strong employer brand takes time and consistent effort. Regularly reviewing and refining these tactics can help ensure continued success in building a robust and effective employer brand.

Want to learn more?

  • You can join a free week session of Employer Brand Academy certificate courses here or
  • Download our free ebook on creating an authentic employer brand here.

Author: Ali Ayaz
Ali Ayaz is an Employer Brand and HR Consultant with Modern Management Consulting who is well-versed in Employer Brand Development, Candidate and Employee Surveys, Recruitment and Employee Engagement. Having successfully completed Employer Brand projects with multinational blue-chip companies in Automotive, Banking, FMCG, IT, Telecom and Retail industries, he teaches employer brand management, human resources and fundamentals of management at Employer Brand Academy (online) and European School of Economics (London). He is the author of the e-book “How to Build a Robust Employer Brand Strategy” and founder of the Employer Brand Academy. He is a chartered member of CIPD - the professional body for HR and people development.

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