SmartRecruiters Blog
Employer Branding

Dear Retailers: Your Candidates Are Your Customers (INFOGRAPHIC)

A few months ago, I was speaking with a CHRO of a large retail organization. She was sharing some of the unique challenges with hiring and developing talent, including high turnover and difficulty competing for talent. She spoke of several instances of employees in stores neglecting customers or picking fights with each other during busy work hours. In almost every instance, the executive team was notified of the situation, and customers voiced their frustration through social media. Clearly, this is not a CHRO’s dream scenario or an accurate representation of their “customer comes first” culture.

In retail, selling jobs is just as important as selling merchandise. We live in an era of transparency where employees are also customers, yet less than half of retail companies are able to align their corporate and employer brands. Retailers that invest heavily in their corporate brand must give equal attention to their employer brand. According to research Aptitude conducted, retailers that do invest in employer branding are three times as likely to improve the candidate experience and twice as likely to improve quality of hire.

It sounds like a simple concept: hire people to represent your brand. Yet this research shows that many retailers are not very effective in their employer branding efforts:

  • Only 34% of retailers communicate their employer branding message consistently both internally and externally
  • Only 14% of retailers invest in tools and technology to support employer branding efforts
  • Only 36% of retailers have a team dedicated to employer branding
  • Less than half of retailers incorporate employer branding in recruiting efforts

The good news is that there are some “quick wins” and action steps to begin to strengthen your brand and compete for talent that will better represent your corporate brand. Below are a few ideas based on research we collected at Aptitude last year:

  • Align your employer brand with your corporate brand: Employer branding only works when it is aligned with corporate branding efforts. This requires collaboration between marketing, PR, HR, and hiring managers. If the messaging is not aligned, companies will face challenges finding the right talent to improve customer satisfaction and retention.
  • Invest in the right technology: Just as technology has evolved to support consumer branding and marketing efforts, technology to support employer branding has come a long way. Retailers may want to consider solutions with recruitment marketing capabilities to help them better communicate the brand, promote their company, and attract talent. Companies can also use social media as a powerful tool to enhance branding, engage with talent, start conversations that are relevant and meaningful, and build better relationships. Currently, only 14% of retailers use social media for their brand efforts.
  • Communicate the brand: Currently, only 34% of retailers are communicating their brand consistently. Without a communication strategy, most branding efforts never come to fruition. Companies must think about how to deliver their message both internally and externally using different channels including social media, campaigns, events, and video.
  • Leverage video for branding: Video can be a very powerful branding tool, especially to demonstrate the company culture. Videos can be used on career sites, in social media groups, and in recruitment marketing campaigns. Currently, less than half of retailers are using video in their recruitment efforts.

The most important thing to remember about employer branding is to have fun. There are so many aspects of talent acquisition that are complex and overwhelming. Employer branding gives your organization an opportunity to be creative and showcase everything you have to offer while enabling you to hire those who best fit for your organization.


Madeline Laurano

Madeline’s primary focus over the last 12+ years has been on the talent management market, specializing in talent acquisition. Her work helps companies both validate and reevaluate their strategies and understand the role technology can play in driving business outcomes. She has watched HCM transform from a back-office function to a strategic company initiative with a focus on partnerships, experience and efficiency. Before Aptitude Research Partners, Madeline held research roles at Aberdeen, Bersin by Deloitte, ERE Media and Brandon Hall Group. She is co-author of Best Practices in Leading a Global Workforce and has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Yahoo News, and The Financial Times. She is a frequent presenter at industry conferences including the HR Technology Conference and Exposition, SHRM, IHRIM, HCI’s Strategic Talent Acquisition conference, GDS International’s HCM Summit, and HRO Today.