By Project Nation Guest Author, Josh Ritchie, Cofounder of Column Five
Almost 48 million people quit their jobs in 2021, and millions continue to quit month after month. No matter your size, no matter your industry, every agency is feeling the effects of the Great Resignation in one way or another. I recently collaborated with Deltek and SoDA for their Midyear Agency Report on the Modern Talent Landscape.
This blog is derived from an article originally featured in that report. As a co-founder of the creative agency: Column Five, I have realized that you can actively work to strengthen your company from the inside out. In fact, there is one surefire strategy to attract the right employees, keep them satisfied, and grow your business: Build a strong employer brand.
What Is an Employer Brand? In essence, it’s the way your employees experience your brand. From your core beliefs to your company culture, your employer brand encapsulates your employer value proposition (the tangible and emotional benefits of working for you) and how they feel about you as a whole.
How Can Your Employer Brand Help You Weather the Great Resignation? While each employee has their own individual reason for changing jobs, the Great Resignation has put a spotlight on the most common problems that plague companies across the board: toxic culture, lack of balance, etc. A strong employer brand is the antidote to nearly all of these problems and can help sway people to stick with you—even if you can’t afford to pay sky-high salaries.
Here are four key ways your employer brand can help you survive—and even thrive—through the Great Resignation.
1) An employer brand helps you attract the right people. You want to hire people who are willing to put their energy, creativity, and sweat into your company. It hurts when good employees quit, but remember that you now have access to a larger talent pool of people (especially if you’ve embraced remote work). This means the next great employee is out there— you’re just competing for their attention. This is where your employer brand can help you shine.
Want to future-proof your business? Hire better people. When you can confidently tell the story of who you are, what you care about, and what it’s like to work for you, you can grab attention, differentiate yourself from your competitors, and attract the people who share your values and genuinely care about what you’re building. The stronger your employer brand is, the more likely they are to apply.
TIP: Find out how to tell stories that highlight your employer brand at every stage of the hiring process.
2) An employer brand connects people around shared goals. Humans are not machines; they are people with an innate need for community and emotional connection. To keep people engaged, you need to keep them interested in their work. An employer brand is built on your Brand Heart (aka purpose, vision, mission, and values). When you have these core principles outlined and articulated, your team can be united around a cause they believe in.
“66% of employed adults believe people at their work are more motivated and engaged because of a strong company mission.” – Glassdoor’s Mission & Culture Survey 2019
Over the last few years, we’ve seen a huge paradigm shift in how people view their work, and more and more employees crave work that is meaningful. The more people can rally around a shared vision, the more invested they are in staying with the company. The result? Happier employees and less turnover.
TIP: Document your Brand Heart and create content marketing that puts your values front and center.
3) A good employer brand helps you make better decisions for your people—and profit. MIT researchers found that one of the biggest reasons people quit their job was due to job insecurity and reorganization. While the last few years have been turbulent for the world, the troubles many companies face internally come from a lack of clarity around their goals. With no clear uniting vision, individuals view their work through very different lenses. They operate based on their interpretations and assumptions and make choices to support their own ideas. This means you have a workforce making inconsistent or even conflicting choices every single day. This can result in inefficiencies, missteps, layoffs, and more serious financial consequences.
“1/3 of employees don’t feel that their organization leaders behave in a way that exemplifies the stated purpose of the organization.” – DDI Frontline Leader Project report
With a strong employer brand driven by your values and a shared vision, you can align not just hearts but minds, creating more effective communication, more effective problem-solving, and better work at every level of your organization. From the benefits you provide, to the ways you connect with your team, to your tougher business decisions, a good employer brand can provide the guidance you need to ensure your business remains healthy. With this clarity and transparency, employees get the comfort and confidence they need to contribute productively.
TIP: Find out how to measure your employer brand to see if the actions you’re taking are working.
4) A strong employer brand supports a healthy culture. A toxic culture is the number one reason people quit their jobs. From inconsistent feedback to abusive managers, to outright illegal behavior, there are plenty of things that contribute to a toxic workplace. And the consequences can be severe (thanks to sites like Glassdoor, which let potential employees know how you act behind closed doors).
According to Pew research, 57% of people who quit say they did so because they felt disrespected at work.
A good employer brand includes a healthy culture (you cannot have one without the other), and that is something that employees now value even more than money. This means that even if you can’t match your competitors’ salaries, having a strong employer brand (good culture, work-life balance, etc.) can provide the type of personal satisfaction that job seekers are looking for.
TIP: To show people what it’s really like to work for you, try these ways to share your culture on social media.
How to Nurture Your Employer Brand
You can’t create a strong employer brand overnight, but if you want to survive the Great Resignation, you need to invest the time, energy, and resources into strengthening every aspect of it. How do you do that?
- Check out Column Five’s complete guide to build a strong employer brand.
- Map your employee experience to better communicate your employer brand at every stage (think job descriptions, onboarding materials, etc.).
- Use these handy tools and resources to build a better employer brand.
Most importantly, look for opportunities to nurture your employer brand at every level of your organization. From your onboarding materials to your social media presence, consider what employer brand story you’re telling—and how you can add to it through every piece of content you create.
SoDA 2022: Agency Mid-Year Report
Benchmark your firm and analyze industry trends from the first half of 2022
About the Author
Josh Ritchie is the cofounder of Column Five, a strategic content marketing agency for growth-stage SaaS companies that helps ambitious teams scale their marketing on the road to IPO and beyond.
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