Make employer brand your top priority in 2017

Dan Dackombe looks at what small businesses should have on what their 2017 resolution list when it comes to finding/hiring talent.

We can expect 2017 to be an eventful year, and businesses need to make sure they’re prepared for a bumpy ride – especially with Article 50 set to be triggered in March. This is particularly true for smaller businesses, for whom instability can be a fatal blow.

At LinkedIn, we’ve been looking into what the employment landscape will look like over the coming year. We’re already starting to see some changes, as businesses re-focus their hiring efforts on commercially-driven roles such as business development and sales – and shed non-core functions such as administration and support. This ‘hunkering down’ is symptomatic of businesses facing uncertain economic and political times, and it is likely to continue into the new year.

We’ve also looked into the importance of global talent to the UK economy, and what impact restrictions to the movement of people through Brexit could have. We’ve found that the EU-27 currently provides the UK with 40 per cent of international hires; on top of this, these professional migrants are almost twice as likely to have a masters or doctorate degree than the average UK professional. This means that many businesses are being forced to rethink their reliance on top professionals from around the world.

So, with big challenges expected next year, how can small businesses ensure they’re still boosting their performance by attracting the best talent?

Own it

In a competitive talent market, it’s absolutely vital to build your employer brand. And while most business leaders recognise this, it’s often something that falls through the cracks. This is especially true in a small business, where often there aren’t expansive HR and marketing teams to spread the load.

However, the key to the success of any initiative is having someone to own it. Without a dedicated person or small team in place to own employer brand, vital steps such as getting the support of colleagues, distributing work and monitoring progress simply won’t happen.

In the new year, make sure that you have people with time allocated to looking after communicating who you are as an employer to existing and prospective employees.

Let your employees help

Your employees are one of your best assets when it comes to promoting your employer brand, and by taking a few simple steps you can involve and empower them to help. Begin
by engaging with them on social media. Make it easy for employees to find and follow your business on your social channels and start creating content that they’ll be able to relate to.

As well as directing a whole new audience to your business, this will also help to build a sense of purpose and camaraderie among the team.

When you have a job opening, you should also encourage employees to share it with their networks online. The old adage is true, smart people know smart people, and you’ll be surprised at the quality of people you meet by tapping into your employees’ networks.

Embrace social media

Nowadays, potential candidates can get an insight into your company before they even apply for a job. Social media has opened a window into companies across the world, and you need to make sure that your company stands out, and is framed in the best possible light.

So, as you’re planning for 2017, consider the impact that social media can have, and brainstorm ways that you can use it to take your business to the next level. Whether that’s by engaging more with potential employees, clients and customers, or creating video content, images, infographics – the possibilities are endless, and it’s important to look at what’s feasible for your business, and what works for the audience you’re trying to reach.

It’s been an eventful year in 2016, and 2017 is set to follow in its footsteps – so make sure you’re getting your business ahead of the game by making employer brand a top priority.

Dan Dackombe is director of talent solutions at LinkedIn

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