Employer Branding with Start-ups is now becoming more important than ever

Published on May 18, 2020

It’s a myth that employer branding is only for huge companies. In this digital world, start-ups that ignore building their employer brand are missing out on a great opportunity.

Did you know that only 9% of Indian ITBPM employees prefer to work for start-ups? Randstad Employer Brand Research 2019 report found that while 55% of Indians preferred to work for MNCs, only a meagre 9% showed an inclination to join start-ups. That’s how unfairly small the talent pool is for start-ups. If you want to attract the right talent from amongst this small pool, competing with over several other start-ups, you shouldn’t be ignoring employer branding. Moreover, with the current Covid-19 crisis, start-ups could be constrained with selecting available candidates in their respective catchment; further reducing the talent pool and hence making the focus on employer brand even more important. There are many examples of successful new start-ups and existing start-ups that have come out stronger from the previous 2008 global financial crisis. An effective employer brand strategy attracts the right talent for such start-ups making it a win-win for the employee and the company.

As Jim Collins, renowned management speaker and author, says, great vision without great people is irrelevant. Also, as start-ups and companies or business units with a start-up mindset, it matters who joins you in your formative years.

We are small, how can we focus on employer branding?

Most start-ups think that as a small outfit, they do not have the time, money or the luxury to focus on a seemingly high-level concept like employer branding. But that’s exactly the myth we want to bust for you. We at Han Digital, have seen that it is for the very reason that you are a small outfit that you should be putting your energies in creating your employer brand.

Unlike big organizations, start-ups work on lean HR and recruitment functions and have to manage with minimal resources. Given such a scenario, creating an effective employer brand will be one of your smartest moves. A positive employer brand image will do the toughest job of attracting the right talent for you. This, in fact, will reduce the burden on your HR department as the brand will do the job of a recruitment tool when you don’t have a full-fledged and dedicated HR function.

We don’t have the resources to work on an employer brand

One of the best ways to find the resources to work for your employer branding effort is to rope in your marketing department. Elena Bajic, founder and CEO of Ivy Exec, writes in Forbes, “You’re a small company with limited resources, so it makes sense to marry marketing and human resources to align your branding and business strategies.”

Align your organizational brand with your employer brand and back it up by bringing together all the stakeholders - HR, marketing, leadership and employees. The employer branding efforts then become organic and much easier to execute.

We don’t have budgets to allocate to employer brand

One of the advantages that we have is that we are now a digitally connected world. In the digital world, with LinkedIn and other social media channels, the employer branding message can be disseminated without incurring huge costs. Also, your employees can themselves become the ambassadors of your brand which becomes hugely beneficial for start-ups and companies or business units with a start-up mindset. Engage with your employees on social media and offline because the credibility that your current employees can add to your brand image is indeed invaluable.

Here are the must-haves that start-ups should keep in mind to establish their Brands

  • A well designed and informative website that talks about your values and culture

  • Company page on key social media channels

  • Social Media strategy that is engaging and interactive through storytelling about your brand, employees, company and culture

  • Location featured on google

  • Fun company and employee videos – some off-beat videos that could go viral. You can source ideas from your employees and make this an engaging project

  • A career page on the company’s website

While you can achieve these branding goals within minimum budgets, you will also be saving a lot on other fronts. A good employer brand will reduce recruitment costs by attracting the right talent that fits your start-up’s culture. Between culture and brand lies an amazing two-way relationship; while your brand attracts the right people for your culture, your culture creates the right brand for you. A brand true to the organization’s culture will also relieve you from huffing and puffing around to retain your employees. Also, be mindful of creating amazing online and offline candidate experiences as it reflects positively on your brand. In short, a little bit of stretching with the employer branding is sure to bring you great benefits.