Influence over control: The new employer branding

by Cameron Edmond19 Jun 2013

You might not be able to control your employer brand any more, but you can learn to influence it, experts say.

Employer branding is an important aspect of any business. While previously the employer brand of a company was easily controlled, the social media explosion and free proliferation of information has made such control impossible.

Experts have suggested instead of fighting the change employers look at how they can be a part of it and work to influence their employer brand.

“In this new era, employers will influence rather than control their brand and should actively participate in social media where they’re being discussed,” Michael Larsen, founder of InsideTrak, told HC.

InsideTrak is a website that allows employees to anonymously comment on the profiles of organisations. These profiles are set up by InsideTrak, but can be claimed by employers. Unable to censor these comments, organisations are encouraged instead to respond to feedback through the website.

Larsen explained that this dialogue between employees (current and former) and employers meant a more credible and full view of the organisation is created, adding value to the employer brand.

The model that InsideTrak utilises was pioneered by Glassdoor in 2008. However, blogs, Facebook pages and other social media avenues can also influence employer branding, allowing all to publish their thoughts on a company.

Influencing employer brand through social media may still be an emerging area for many organisations, and so it should not be approached lightly. Steve Barham, senior director of LinkedIn Talent Solutions, suggested employers use the ability for their employees to spread the word about their organisation to their advantage.

“Use your employees as your talent brand ambassadors, that is the most important thing,” Barham stated. “It’s not about spending money on an advertising campaign, or putting up billboards.”

Larsen stressed that employers cannot write-off these changes in how job-seekers research potential employers as a passing fad. “Peer-to-peer information sharing is now available for virtually every experience we have and although employer reviews are quite a new phenomenon, they are here to stay,” he said.


HR Take-aways

Here are some tips on how to help influence your employer brand:

  • Take note of negative feedback. Poor reviews or negative comments about your organisation shouldn’t be disregarded – try evaluating them objectively, and seeing if there is anything you can learn.
  • Respond to criticisms. The advantage of social media is that you have a voice, too. Well thought-out responses to criticisms you receive can not only provided a weighted voice, but people will appreciate that you are being proactive.
  • Use employees as ambassadors. Whether you are or not, the majority of your employees are on social media sites such as LinkedIn. By ensuring your placement on their page – either through mention in their CV or through advertisements – the star-power of your high-performers can help validate your organisation and bolster your employer brand.
  • Have a presence. Above all, make sure you are online, or else you’ve already dropped the ball. “The candidate of today communicates via social media. To not have a presence would suggest that the organisation is not progressive,” Tiffany Quinlan, HR Director at Randstad, said.


  • by David Singh 30/07/2013 3:49:56 AM

    Great article Cameron. I agree with you that learning to influence your employer brand is key to any company.

    What are your opinions on shaping employer branding? My company wrote a blogpost on the art and science of employer branding – we'd love for your opinion.

    Here's the link:

    Thanks in advance Cameron!

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