2022: The Year of the Employer Brand Story

May 17, 2022

Employer branding is your reputation and image as a place to work. It is a combination of your employees’ perception of you as an employer and how candidates see you as a potential workplace. Both directly shape how the public, as well as investors and customers, view the brand.

Traditionally the employer story was a slightly adapted version of the company brand story. Employer messaging was by no means front and center of the business.

In 2022, following this traditional approach will directly undermine growth. It will leave companies struggling to retain and recruit talent. It will also potentially risk damage to overall brand valuation and market position.

Market and cultural changes from the last two years have made driving an effective employer brand narrative one of the most critical business challenges of 2022. Here is why and how to best navigate the year ahead.

A More Sophisticated Employer Narrative

The “Great Resignation” has intensified the labor gap. 73% of companies are struggling to find relevant candidates. More people are leaving their current employment than have in the past 20 years. This shows no sign of slowing. Half of workers plan to look for a new job in the next year.

Employer narratives require a greater level of strategy than ever before. This is because candidates and current employees have become more intentional about what they are looking for in terms of flexibility, culture, mission and the work itself.

Proof of Brand Values

Activism, advocacy and social action were critical for 2021. 94% of consumers said it is important that the companies they engage with have a strong purpose. The employer narrative is increasingly a proof point to these stated values. As a growing number of brands have discovered, their clients and customers will no longer accept a mission driven brand story that is not supported by the employer narrative.

In 2022, the alignment and amplification of a positive and authentic employer story is the foundation of an effective purpose driven brand narrative. And if the employer narrative does not authentically support and reflect a larger brand or purpose story, both will fail.

DE&I Commitments

Over the past two years there has been a sustained focus on the commitments and expectations around improving diversity, equity and inclusion. Their importance to current and potential employees continues to grow.

More than 3 out of 4 jobseekers and employees report a diverse workforce is a key factor when evaluating companies and job offers. It makes having a transparent DE&I story an essential pillar of the employer narrative. Ideally, it should be placed in the context of the larger business story and efforts.

Employee Wellbeing First

As Omicron cases surge, it is a reminder to employers of all sizes that a clear articulation of workplace, vaccination and travel expectations norms will be a necessary part of the employer brand story. This safety message should be inclusive and an extension of how you, as an employer, put employee wellbeing and mental health first. It’s often a proof point of the culture and relationship between leadership and the larger teams.

Inspiring Work

Workplace culture remains front of mind for talent. That said: people still want to know they’re doing (or will get to do) cool work. They want opportunities to grow professionally; to work with inspiring people and companies.    

In 2022, promoting case studies and work isn’t just for customers. However, in the context of the employer story, the people behind it need to be recognized and celebrated.

Moving forward, the most successful companies in terms of talent will be those who are able to cohesively scale the employer brand story across social channels and authentically have it reinforced on company evaluation platforms like Glassdoor and The Muse. The most effective will combine employer and team storytelling, brand messaging and executive communication with community activations and reliable communications consistency. The most effective will combine employer and team storytelling, brand messaging and executive communication with community activations and reliable communications consistency.

This post was first published at SHIFT Communications.

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