February 24, 2021 • 4 min read
How to Use Data to Measure Success in Employer Branding
No one invests on blind faith alone. Sure, you might have a feeling that a certain investment will pay off, but when the time comes to make the actual decision, gut feel comes a distant second to hard data. Just as this applies to property purchases and share portfolios, so too does it apply to an organization’s employer branding team.
Employer branding professionals are faced with a challenge: they need to be able to prove their worth if they are to continue to enjoy the investment of resources from their organization.
There are obviously other reasons to track the progress of your EB efforts. You need to be able to understand if they are making an impact – that you are justifying your reason for being. You also need to know which specific strategies work and which don’t, to ensure that you improve and increase your value proposition over time.
EB professionals need to be able to prove their worth if they are to continue to enjoy the investment of resources from their organization.
Today I’d like to take a closer look at how an EB team can prove their worth, specifically through the use of KPIs.
Choosing which metrics and KPIs to track
In the most basic terms, employer branding metrics can be thought of as sitting on two distinct levels.
The first level constitutes activity-based KPIs; those that help to give you direction. This includes metrics like:
● Conversion rates on job ads
● Number of applications not submitted through job boards
● Reach/impressions of social media posts
● Engagement with social media profiles and posts
Once you know your areas of focus, the second level of measures are those that look at the actual impact of your activities.
Employer branding is particularly powerful when you can get third parties to speak positively about you.
The aim of employer branding is to positively influence the perception that prospective employees have of you as an employer. The world of marketing uses a somewhat fast and dirty KPI to get an idea of how willing people are to promote your brand: the Net Promoter Score (NPS). This is an interesting KPI, as it measures how far people are willing to promote you as an employer, regardless of whether they have worked with you or not.
You need to be able to understand if your EB efforts are making an impact – that you are justifying your reason for being
Most people would probably say that Google is a great place to work, despite the fact that hardly any of us have actually worked there. We instead base our own feelings on the words of others. Employer branding is particularly powerful when you can get third parties to speak positively about you.
As such I like to focus on two KPIs on this second level: awareness and willingness to promote/likability. There are plenty of other KPIs that we could use, and that many other companies do use, such as new career site visitors, spontaneous applications and percentage of employee referrals. But my belief is that you shouldn’t overwhelm yourself with KPIs. It’s more important to pick one or two that really resonate with your key stakeholders, whether it’s something they’re already familiar with, like an NPS, or something that helps to paint a very specific and compelling picture of your activities.
Finally, you’ll need to ensure the data you choose to track is sustainable over time, and that the sample size is large enough to give you a complete and trustworthy view of the situation.
How to interpret the data you collect
Once you begin to track the data, your next job will be to interpret it and gather insights.
Social media allows us to closely track our campaigns. We can find out the reach and engagement of each message type (career development, D&I, CSR, flexibility, etc), then compare that with external data, say from LinkedIn or Universum, which acts as a measuring stick for our own efforts. If the comparison isn’t a flattering one, or if we fail to see positive movement, we know that we need to create better messages and/or increase the frequency of the messages.
We use the insights from our data to make decisions at both a tactical and a strategic level. Awareness insights can help us to focus on either volume or content – lower awareness means you need to reach more people to build brand recognition (easier said than done), while good awareness can allow us to focus on content, to really improve the audience’s perception of us as an employer.
We use the insights from our data to make decisions at both a tactical and a strategic level.
This work also improves our company’s perception of us as a team. Data is knowledge, and knowledge is power. Presenting a compelling case for employer branding to your internal stakeholders will ensure that your team enjoys significant investment – investment it will deliver real returns on – well into the future.
About the author: With 24 years of experience in Talent Acquisition, Ted Meulenkamp is a leader in his field. In 2010 Ted made the move into employer branding on joining Roche. With his passion for data-driven information and structured employer brands, Ted continues to ask the eternal question: How do you measure success! Ted is currently the Lead Global Employer Brand, Mondelēz International where his focus is to develop global recruitment strategies around employer branding and e-recruitment.