You want to attract top talent to your hospitality organization. And, once they’re there, you want them to stick around for the long haul. But, how do you make that happen? With career growth opportunities? A positive and supportive company culture? Reasonable pay and benefits? Yes, all of those things play a part. But there’s one more element that needs to be on the list: your employer brand.
Why Is Your Employer Brand Important?
Think of your employer brand as your company’s overall reputation or identity. It communicates your organization's mission, beliefs, and culture, and it impacts how you’re perceived not only by your existing employees but also by job candidates.
Your employer brand has certain elements that you don’t have much control over—like your reviews on Glassdoor, as just one example.
However, there are many other aspects that you do have control over. These are your candidate-facing marketing materials, like your website, social media accounts, Hosco company page, and more.
The message that you send through these marketing materials carries a lot of importance. As Sjoerd Gehrels explains in his book about employer branding in the hospitality industry, a positive employer brand will help you:
- Establish more company credibility and enhance your reputation
- Energize current employees and foster better engagement
- Increase company loyalty and improve employee retention
- Recruit and retain top talent, which improves service and productivity
Need an example? InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) experienced many of these benefits firsthand when they developed their employer brand. Since they introduced their employer brand, their employee engagement rose by 21%. Additionally, their company pride is now rated at 94%, and their job satisfaction is 89%.
IHG also says they’ve had more competitive recruiting as their top-notch employer brand helps them stand out.
How to Audit Your Employer Brand: 5 Steps to Follow
It’s time to turn your attention to your own hospitality employer brand so that you can reap these same benefits. Here are five steps to help you audit and improve your employer brand.
1. Identify Success Metrics
Your first step should be to identify precisely what you’re trying to achieve by creating or revamping your employer brand. For example, are you aiming to:
- Increase the number of applications for all of your open positions?
- Improve the reputation of your hotel, restaurant, travel agency, or other hospitality business?
- Recruit qualified talent for a highly-specialized position (like an executive chef)?
- Boost retention of your existing employees?
- Improve your employee feedback scores?
There are several different goals your employer brand can help you achieve, but it’s smart to zone in on just one of them to start so that you audit your brand with that endgame in mind.
Once you’ve zoned in on a goal, make sure you make it measurable by attaching a specific metric to it. That will be helpful when monitoring your progress and measuring your success.
Example: Increase the number of applications for our open hotel receptionist positions by 18%.
2. Create a Simple Spreadsheet
Auditing your employer brand involves looking through your existing resources with a fine-tooth comb. That can be a lot to keep track of, so make sure you have an organized way to record all of the information you uncover.
This can be as simple as setting up a spreadsheet that has columns for:
- Marketing material: This notes the specific element you’re looking at, such as your website.
- Goal: This shares the purpose of that specific marketing material, such as pushing people to apply to a position or providing information about your culture.
- Notes: This is where you’ll jot down the information you uncover in your audit—like what you want to add, subtract, or change to support your goal.
You’ll be glad to have that structure in place to track and record the information you find through the audit process.
3. Evaluate Your Materials
With your spreadsheet in place, it’s time to look at all of your individual marketing materials that support your employer brand—whether they’re shared with existing employees, job candidates, or both.
The materials you’ll want to evaluate include:
- Social media profile
- Company website
- Hosco company page
- Printed resources like flyers or pamphlets
- Blog posts, videos, and other content marketing pieces
Using your spreadsheet, jot down the material and your goal. From there, you can better determine what changes you need to make to support that goal.
For example, suppose you want your company's Facebook page to demonstrate your travel agency’s culture. In that case, you might determine that you need to showcase more team-centered content (like photos of your team potlucks or volunteering initiatives) and less stuffy corporate announcements.
Repeat that process for all of the materials you want to evaluate. While doing so, make sure you also pay attention to any broader updates you need to make—like using your more current branding or revising your bio to match your new mission statement.
4. Collect Feedback
While one person—like an HR manager or leader within your hospitality organization—should be the point person for the audit process, they don’t need to do it entirely alone.
To create a truly impressive employer brand, you should solicit feedback and opinions from numerous other people, including:
- Leaders within your company
- Existing employees
- New hires who had the most recent exposure to your brand
What values do they think your current brand emphasizes? What changes would they recommend making? Collecting these insights helps you take an honest look at your existing brand from a variety of perspectives. Make sure you jot those notes in your spreadsheet.
5. Monitor Your Progress
Once you have all of your notes about the changes you want to make, you need to actually make them. Revise your employer branding materials (or create new ones) to support your broader employer branding goal, as well as your specific goals for each outlet.
After that, make sure you check in frequently to see if your efforts are panning out the way you hoped.
For example, are your strategic changes increasing the number of applications you’re getting for your hotel receptionist positions? If not, what other changes can you implement to give that application rate a boost?
The employer branding process involves some trial and error, so make sure you keep your finger on the pulse of how your brand is performing so you can continue to refine and improve it.
Your Employer Brand Matters, and You Can Ace It
Your employer brand carries a lot of weight with your existing employees, as well as with candidates who could potentially work for your company.
There isn’t one right way to create an employer brand, and it should be unique to your organization and your values.
So, how do you evaluate your existing brand and take it to the next level? Use the five steps we’ve outlined here, and you’ll refine an employer brand that engages existing employees and attracts new ones.