Employer Branding and the Labor Shortage: How to Secure Top Talent

by Carter Toni

2021 has been a tough year for businesses. In addition to the rapid shifts that were required to do business in most industries after the arrival of COVID-19, 2021 has brought with it what is commonly known as an “employee shortage,” or a labor shortage. It can be difficult to find any talent at all, let alone the top talent your business is seeking to fill that particular vacant position.

Now more than ever, employer branding is vitally important to making sure you can hook top talent, and once you have them, keep them. Let’s take a look at the national labor shortage, its causes, and what your company can do to entice employees back into the working world.

Employees as a Resource, Not the Enemy

Understanding why the labor shortage is taking place is key to winning these unaffiliated employees back, and also key to sifting through them for the employees with skills that will best aid your business. According to Forbes’ Tom Spiggle, employees are leaving lower-skilled jobs in particular because of concerns around lack of advancement, mistreatment by employers and customers, and a combination of low wages and lack of benefits. Combine this with the sharp adjustment many companies took during the pandemic, laying off employees and running off skeleton crews of more skilled people, and you have yourself a pool of discerning, angry employees looking to swing more stable jobs.

Employees desire to replace those kinds of jobs with a strong, friendly corporate culture with opportunities for advancement and the assurance that there will be recompense for their pain if they are mistreated. This pool of employees is full of talented, hardworking people, and it should be seen not as an enemy of businesses but as a resource: the question that should dominate the minds of employers is “how do I tap into that resource and convince these people my company is right for them?”

Employer Branding and You: The Path to a Better Image

The first step for any company looking to tap into that resource would be to work on their brand image. You want it widely known that your brand has much to offer the employees who come to work with you.

Looking to better your brand image? Here are a few basic suggestions:

  • Conduct research on how your brand is perceived both by company insiders and outsiders. It will no doubt help to know how would-be employees perceive your company in opposition to your competition, but the real key is to talk to your current employees, especially those who are more valuable to your organization. Find out what they like about working for the company, and where you can improve. Taking their suggestions into account can help swing new employees toward your brand.
  • Clearly communicate your employee value proposition (EVP) in your messaging. Simply defined, EVP is the series of benefits and offerings employers offer employees in exchange for their work and their skills. This can include opportunities for advancement, health and dental insurance benefits, a supportive corporate culture – all the things that make your company unique, and the prime choice for would-be recruits.
  • Make sure that your brand messaging is reflected in your company as-is. Your HR department can be your best friend here, enforcing company policy through training, correcting instances where associates fail to uphold corporate image, and rewarding standout employees.

While these basic tips can help build your brand image and make it easier to snag new employees, you’ll need a complex brand marketing strategy. Consider using the employment branding services of a consultant to manage your brand’s image.

Employees Have the Upper Hand

Employers should view employees now as discerning customers in their own right, browsing the job market to find jobs that will offer them the best deals. While in some form or another this is how the job market has always been, employees in 2021 are even more discerning; it’s up to employers to sell themselves by way of brand image.

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