Attracting Top Talent: The Importance of Company Reputation

Perception is reality when it comes to public opinion. Naturally, companies that are thought to be the best places to work will attract the best potential employees.

According to the article, “2104 Best Companies To Work For: Four Things That Make Them Great,” there are four main elements that make these companies stand out. People want to work for companies that:

  1. Have a strong positive culture, firmly grounded in a meaningful purpose.
  2. Offer real chances to grow professionally.
  3. Provide the opportunity to work with people they like and respect.
  4. Offer work that requires them to stretch their brains and skills.

In other words, people want to work in a friendly, challenging environment where they can grow.

Build a Positive Reputation Through Recruiting
A company’s recruiting and interview process is very much a part of company reputation. Applicants must have a positive experience when they apply to a position. Look at streamlining your hiring and on-boarding processes. Building a positive candidate experience will set you apart from other companies as a place where employees want to work.

Communication and follow-up with applicants in the hiring process is paramount to making them feel valued. Job seekers should be treated like customers because, in most industries, they can be. Remember, just because a candidate is not right for this job doesn’t mean he/she won’t be right for another job. Most of the time when an employee is “right” for you, they are also right for your competitor, so you don’t want to walk away from good people.

A strong social media presence is a great way to keep in touch with the passive candidate community. Over time, you will acquire a list of candidates that are following you on social media, periodically keeping in touch for openings and staying connected for the chance to move forward. A good professional network should never be undervalued.

Reputation vs. Reality
The most important part of your company’s reputation is your drive to be a great company and then letting those results show. To get the best you have to be the best. What is your company doing to be at the top of your industry? Express to your community, social media and potential employees what you are doing to ensure that your company is at the top of its game and committed to keeping it that way.

It is important to ensure that the public opinion of your company matches reality. You must be aware of what your company reputation is. For instance, if most of your employees work very long hours, don’t market your company as somewhere that prioritizes a work/life balance. Instead, speak about the growth and development of your employees or the supportive culture.

Great employees do their homework before applying to a position. If it is common knowledge that the accounting department turns over continually due to a long-standing, difficult manager, potential employees will not even apply to that department for fear of having to deal with that person. This problem/perception needs to be addressed before it begins hurting your ability to hire. Recruiters are usually the first to hear about these types of things, but there are plenty of places to find out. Great ways to get more information are from company reviews from media or from past employees, exit interviews and job satisfaction surveys.

Company reputation matters. Your company’s positive reputation can reduce recruitment costs significantly. If passive employees are hearing great things about your organization and reaching out to you, you avoid having to go find them. Having several hundred candidates to choose from, as opposed to dozens, is a great problem to have. On the flip side, if your company has a bad reputation in the job seeker community, you can be assured that the cream-of-the-crop candidates won’t apply. Forbes has a great article in January of 2014 with tips for improving your company reputation.

Ultimately, a positive company culture and reputation are the foundation for keeping great employees and bringing excellent applicants to your door. For more information on company culture in the workplace, Laurie’s article, “Attracting Top Talent: The Importance of Company Culture,” can be found here.