From "Meh" to "Magnificent":
The Importance of Employer Branding for SMEs
What is Employer Branding?
Employer Branding was first used in the early 90s and has since become a widely adopted strategy for attracting high-quality and productive employees.

Employer branding is a strategic process wherein a company actively designs, shapes, and promotes its image, culture, and values to its existing employees and potential candidates. This process is not just about presenting a polished image but about authentically communicating the company's essence—its mission, values, and culture to attract and retain talent that aligns with and amplifies your business goals. It's about the promise you make to your employees and the experiences they have in return.

For SMEs like yours, this is of paramount importance. Big companies have many people and can sometimes get away with a few things. But in SMEs, every person counts. The employees' alignment with the company's values, dedication, and ability to thrive in your specific culture can make or break your business. How so? When your employees care about and believe in your company, they're motivated to work harder, and their loyalty increases. However, if they don't, chances are they will never reach their full potential or go the extra mile for you and your customers.
Data Speaks: ROI of Investing in Employer Branding
Investing in employer branding isn't just about feeling good or aligning with modern HR practices. There's a concrete ROI, especially for SMEs. Consider these compelling data points:

* Reduced Hiring Costs: A strong employer brand reduces cost-per-hire by up to 50%. Companies with a consistent employer branding strategy spent significantly less on recruitment advertising than those without.

* Higher Quality Applicants: More than 50% of job seekers in research studies
stated that they consider an employer's brand before applying. Without a strong brand, you might miss out on three-quarters of your potential talent pool.

* Improved Retention: Companies with robust employer branding reported a 28% lower turnover rate than their competitors.
Cost of Neglect
Not investing in employer branding carries a hefty price tag. Beyond the missed opportunities mentioned above, there's an actual, tangible cost to not crafting a compelling employer narrative.

* Extended Vacancies: Positions in companies without a clear employer brand stay vacant 1.5 times longer. Vacancies lead to productivity losses and increased recruitment costs.

* Increased Hiring Costs: SMEs without strong employer branding reported spending up to 2x more on hiring processes, mainly due to the need for aggressive outreach and incentives.

* Reputation Costs: Word of mouth is powerful. In a digitally connected Asia, a poor employer reputation travels fast. With platforms like Glassdoor becoming popular in Singapore, negative reviews can significantly impact your brand.

* Misfit Hire: Every SME possesses distinct qualities that set it apart as an ideal employer. However, failing to communicate these traits can result in hiring misfits, leading to financial losses, wasted training time, team disruptions, and overlooked potential talent.

Do You Need Employer Branding?
Answer the following questions:

1. Do you often find that the candidates applying for your positions don't fully align with the culture and values you've set for your business?

2. When discussing your company in professional and social circles, do you feel there's a gap between how others perceive your company and how you'd like it to be perceived?

3. Have you noticed a recent trend of high employee turnover or disengagement?

4. Is the process of recruiting and retaining good employees more challenging than you believe it should be for your company?

If you've nodded in agreement or answered "yes" to at least two of these questions, it might be time to seriously consider investing in employer branding and turn your company from "Meh" to "Magnificent" as an employer of choice.
Article contributed by Ms Catherine Chai, Brand Strategist at Broc Consulting Pte Ltd

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