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Navigating talent shortages with strategic employer branding

Discover the transformative power of strategic employer branding in slashing recruitment expenses while attracting top talent.

Studies have shown that strategic development of an employer’s brand can decrease the average cost per hire by 50% and, at the same time, boost the number of qualified candidates’ applications by a minimum of 50%. These figures are just a starting point and point to even more significant successes. Here are some employer branding stories about how recruitment costs were drastically reduced for an IT company looking for programmers during a severe talent shortage.

Tenfold less than a recruitment agency cost

At that time, the market was short by approximately 14,000 programmers. Relying on recruitment agencies was not a viable solution as finding a rapid match in such a scarce market was statistically improbable, where an IT job posting might typically draw just one candidate instead of the needed at least 80 CVs to fill 40 positions. Facing potential external recruitment service expenses in the hundreds of thousands, the company chose an alternative and untried route on the market: they launched an innovative integrated employer branding and hiring campaign using Tinder’s “It’s a Match.”

The campaign surpassed expectations, swiftly attracting programmers with sought-after expertise, saving the company a substantial amount—up to tenfold less than what they would have incurred through a recruitment agency. The creative strategy yielded not only immediate savings but also earned ongoing acclaim within HR circles, being heralded as a model of best practice for years.

The creative recruitment campaign as a success story in efficiently cutting down on recruitment expenses but emphasizes that there are various methods, and it’s essential to evaluate the entire context and choose the right strategy. Here are some other insights into the unique situation of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant and the effective strategy that was implemented.

Triple in career page visitation and a significant increase in job applications

I’d like to bring attention to another distinct scenario – the complex situation of Lithuania’s only nuclear power plant that has been decommissioned. It confronts challenges in recruiting due to its peripheral location and job positions scattered between two cities, a 2.5-hour drive apart. The task is compounded by the plant’s specific work demands and, in some instances, the risk factors associated with the jobs. Another challenge is the public’s longstanding awareness, since 2010, of the plant’s impending shutdown, despite it still ranking among Lithuania’s top 50 employers by workforce size.

When the company initiated an ambassadorship project as part of the Employer branding strategy led by INWARD, they witnessed their career page visitation numbers triple, reaching 28,000 within just three months. The applications for specific job openings soared to 80 or 160, a marked increase from the previous high of around 20. The project afforded more time in this instance, and the impact on the employer’s brand, which enhances the organization’s recruitment ROI, has a substantially longer-lasting effect.

While these are instances of specific projects, it’s important to note that both companies I’ve discussed had previously invested in their employer branding. As a result, if we assessed the annual yield from their total employer branding investments, the figures might be less impressive, yet they would nonetheless far exceed the 50% improvement benchmarks cited in research. I firmly believe that a strategic and creative approach is key to reaping the greatest returns on employer branding investments for businesses.

The influence of internal communication on employer branding outcomes

INWARD’s internal communications strategist, Giedre Simanauskaite, emphasizes that a critical element in both instances was engaging internal communication. “Undoubtedly, it led to substantial internal support from team members, propelling the projects to success externally and yielding impressive business outcomes. It serves as a reminder that, regardless of our external efforts, we must not overlook the power of internal communication and our internal audience; it has a considerable influence that can either contribute to or detract from the success of external employer branding campaigns and initiatives.

In the recently published book The Connected Organization* the case example is shared of how engaging employees in an Employer Branding campaign can serve as a team-building activity. Employees from the retail company ICA/Rimi were involved in shooting the campaign and later used gamified solutions to promote employer brand campaigns among their peers. As a result, the referral rate increased by 18% compared to the month prior to the campaign, the total number of candidates increased by 23%, and the number of vacancies in the company was 53% lower than a year before. This was the best result in the last three years. “Once you work together with employees, you immediately build the ownership of the idea and prolong the effect of the campaign,” – says G.Simanauskaite.

*Published by INWARD

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