By Clare Hopping - Editorial Director at LaunchPad Recruits

The Talent Leaders Connect event series came to London last week, and with it came a flood of fresh, innovative ideas for building and fostering a positive employer brand. Talent Leaders Connect is a hybrid event, mixing the professionalism of a conference with the friendly atmosphere of a meet-and-greet.

The UK’s greatest minds in HR and recruiting gathered at the King’s Fund to share their thoughts on the changes they believe the coming year will bring to the workforce. Many touched upon what employees and job-seekers should expect and what companies should be prepared to give them. Here are some of the most important insights that we at LaunchPad gained from this wonderful event.

 

Onboarding

The first step in building your brand’s reputation among employees is the onboarding process, but many companies aren’t treating it with due respect. Sam Wormald-Smith, EMEA Director at Kelly Services, pointed out that only 50% of UK businesses currently have an actual onboarding strategy. Meanwhile, only 48% of new employees received an induction plan, and most companies don’t have a training period that lasts as long as two weeks.

By not paying sufficient attention to the education that all new employees must receive to ultimately be productive, plenty of businesses aren’t retaining the team members who, with the proper guidance, could have been valuable assets and powerful brand advocates. 

This extends to common courtesies that some companies aren’t showing. 86% of new employees said they weren’t taken out to lunch on their first day, demonstrating the kind of simple steps businesses should be taking to improve their employee experience in 2015.

 

Employer Brand relies on Candidate Experience

One major consensus that the event’s speakers seemed to reach was that a company’s employer brand rests on each candidate’s experience. Even throughout the processes of screening and interviewing, candidates should be treated with trust, knowledge, respect, and interest. To earn an applicant’s respect, don’t just test them - engage with them.

The candidate experience is a journey, one that can take many ups and downs, but should reflect positively on your overall brand if your company is taking the right precautions. More than a quarter of surveyed job-seekers reported having a negative interview experience. According to GroupM’s Emy Rumble-Mettle, 60% of them reported never hearing back after an interview, and 29% said their application wasn’t even acknowledged.

These are the very basics of fostering a good employer brand and avoiding “brand detractors” - former or prospective employees who were turned off from your brand by their negative experience.

But great employers go above and beyond to ensure their candidates come away with a good impression: taking interviewees out for coffee, building relationships prior to the period of employment, and optimising your company’s vacancy page are just a few ways of making candidates feel at home long before they get their first paycheck.

 

Selling Your Company 

It may have been acceptable in the past for companies to sit and wait for the right candidates to come knocking at their door, but these days, your top recruits expect you to make a great pitch about why they’d want to work for you.

A representative from Intel described how the hiring process has changed for his company in recent years. “We have to change our approach,” he argued. “We have to sell ourselves to the candidates, and we at Intel are training our hiring managers to help us achieve that.”

The company has taken steps to turn its interviewers into salespeople, introducing a 20 minute-long “flip” interview to their recruitment process where candidates are permitted time to ask their own questions about the company and what the interviewer’s experience there is like. “We want them to select their hiring manager,” the Intel representative said.

While innovative strategies like these are sure to shake up your candidate experience, companies can also look to simple steps like improving their employment page. Job posts should sell the experience of working at your company, rather than simply describing the job.

If there’s one thing that we learned from this year’s Talent Leaders Connect, it’s that your company’s image doesn’t just depend on who you hire, but how you hire them. How will these insights change the job market? Tune in next year to find out!

Clare Hopping has been involved in the recruitment of both full-time employees and freelance staff for ten years. She specialises in recruiting staff via social media and digital platforms and regularly publishes blogs for LaunchPad