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5 steps SMEs can follow to build an employer brand

To attract and retain talent, businesses have to tell potential employees what they offer and why it matters. The message has to be clear but still hold promise. Here is how to get it right

August 27, 2022 / 11:03 AM IST

An employer brand is much more than goodwill or just reputation; every business has a branding, and it can be built consciously or not.

As discussed in an earlier column, just as with any other brand, there is always a value proposition to the intended audience. It should also offer the right positioning or perception in the minds of the intended audience. In short, employer branding is what your enterprise is showcasing in the job market to potential employees. It needs to convey a company’s culture, what is unique about it and what it stands for.

Here are a few steps that small and medium enterprises follow to build employer branding:

Start internally

To begin with, understand what your company is and what is its work culture. What are the positives and the differentiators? Can you formulate an employee value proposition? Seek the help of marketing teams in this exercise as well. Do some internal research to draw up points that may make sense to your current employees. What are your strategic objectives, leadership style, organisation capital, human capital policy and so on?


How do potential employees perceive your company? Some promoters will know what their position is but it will be a worthwhile exercise to plan the next step in the employer branding exercise.

Most SMEs will know where their products or services stand in the market because that is where the money is being counted. Do an internal assessment of your employer brand. Use a simple survey. From the analysis, decide what works well for the company and what needs more work.

No exaggeration please

Based on the survey results and self-assessment, develop a good employee value proposition (EVP). Ensure that the sentences are clearly stated, are easy to understand and communicate with employees. This statement represents the core of your employer brand. While drafting EVP, make sure it is true and aligns with your corporate values.

The final EVP must have inputs from the marketing team as well as the owners. If you have an ad agency for your general marketing, involve it too. Remember, just as in any marketing campaign, keep the audience in mind while formulating the final EVP.

Medium is the message

Before deciding on media plans, initiate an internal campaign. Seek out employees to go live with the EVP and ask them to market it first to their immediate circles. Let them use messaging in social media wherever they have a presence. The #HarGharTiranga campaign offers enough clues. Employees can spread the word through Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp. Reward them with a contest for the most creative idea and the highest number of likes or shares.

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Most prospective employees will search your website to find out more about your key executives. Ensure that the personal profiles of employees appearing on the website are aligned with the EVP. The leadership team and owners must live the brand first to encourage others to follow suit. Plan regular email communication within the organisation on different aspects of your brand, culture and overall work environment. The thumb rule is seven times, seven different ways.

As some large companies such as Wipro and Tata Group have done, use your employees to recruit others and reward them for every filled job position through their efforts. Get them to leave feedback on recruitment sites such as about your company culture and how great your EVP is.

Get the tech edge 

Unlike large companies that have abundant resources for hiring, SMEs working on limited staff and tight budgets can use technology to create great onboarding experiences. Use metaverse, augmented reality and virtual reality to create a unique identity for your employer brand.

Once the content is created in the metaverse with the owners and leadership team playing their roles along with a virtual tour of the workplaces and factories, it can be used for every new employee joining the company.

Your employees are your best advertisement 

As part of EVP, plan for up-skilling and career growth opportunities internally. Tech tools can again be used to stay ahead of the curve. Look for tie-ups with local universities or institutions for certificate courses for your employees, so that there is mutual value creation.

Finally, get your human resources person to learn how to build a good job description beyond designation and basic role description. A well-described profile can enhance the employer branding efforts and when job seekers come across such things, it enhances your brand value.
M Muneer is the managing director of CustomerLab Solutions, a consulting firm.
first published: Aug 27, 2022 11:03 am
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