What makes your B2B company stand out to potential employees in a competitive job market?
In a presentation for the Leadtail community, Ken Schmitt, Turning Point Executive Search CEO, highlighted the importance of building a B2B employer brand that will attract top talent and help your business recruit and retain great employees.
Building a top B2B employer brand starts where all marketing efforts must begin: making top-notch content.
“Content is king, right?” Ken says, referring to the marketing adage. “We all know that. It’s been that way for a very, very long time. It’s nothing brand new. But I think it’s been more in the forefront today than it’s ever been before.”
Creating and sharing great content regularly is a critical part of recruitment efforts. The content your B2B company shares on its website and social channels will directly impact the way candidates view the business.
“We are very big believers in developing and sharing content on a regular basis,” Ken says. “Thought leadership is the way to go not just in terms of positioning your organization, but also creating your employer brand.”
Three Things Candidates Check When Considering a Position
So, creating great content that is relevant to your business and industry matters for recruiting. No one these days considers a position without checking three things, Ken says.
- Candidates are looking at company websites. They want to see thought leadership content that gives them a sense of the company’s mission and its position in the industry.
- Job-seekers are checking out companies on LinkedIn. Once again, they’re looking for thought leadership content. They’re also looking for a sense of your culture.
- Your potential employees are also spending time on Glassdoor or similar workplace rating websites to see what others have to say about your organization and understand what it’s like to work there.
This means that marketing your brand to potential employees is more critical than ever. And when it comes time to actively recruit, it’s vital to tailor your marketing to that effort, especially on social media
A top focus should be producing quality content. This could be blog posts, infographics, ebooks, or helpful articles showing your company’s expertise. Keep this content front and center on your website and social media channels.
A great website that potential employees can easily find and navigate is fundamental to a successful employer brand. Your company should keep the website up-to-date and easy to use.
Your B2B business LinkedIn profile needs to showcase your company’s culture and values. And don’t let that profile lie dormant. By engaging with potential employees on social media platforms, you’ll be able to build relationships and better promote your brand.
“Whenever we have a new search we are launching, we have an entire digital marketing campaign launched in conjunction with that search,” Ken says.
“We’re actually reaching out to candidates—if they’ve already seen the content, already seen a position posted someplace or through a referral from a mutual colleague, then we actually do our direct outreach to them,” he continues. “And the likelihood of them responding is much, much greater.”
B2B Branding Matters for Retention
As vital as B2B employer branding is for recruiting, it’s also critical for retaining current employees.
Salaries are getting higher, and compensation can be a factor in retention. But, when employees decide to move on, “it’s very, very rarely about just compensation,” Ken says.
“People rarely change jobs just for that sake. But it’s one of the top three factors. It’s all about, you know, what is your manager like? What is that engagement like? Are you being acknowledged in the work that you’re doing? Is the culture aligned with you? Do you feel like you really fit in? And then compensation is also in that top three as well.”
It’s also important to remember that current employees are one of your most important recruiting tools. Engaged, happy employees are essential to your employer brand, and employee advocacy can be a crucial factor in attracting new talent.
Six Things You Can Do To Build Your B2B Employment Brand
- Differentiate. Ken’s executive search firm specializes in smaller and mid-market companies. That provides a recruiting advantage, he says. “In a mid-market or smaller company, the employees you’re bringing on board have exposure to a lot more things. And that’s something that a big company just flat out can’t compete with,” Ken says. The critical question here is: “What interesting professional opportunities are you providing that a candidate won’t find anywhere else?”
- Be flexible. Remote and hybrid work are no longer exotic benefits for a select few. If your B2B company isn’t offering remote opportunities, you will miss out on candidates.
- Reach out and stay in touch. “The majority of companies hire in a reactive mode,” Ken says. If you only think about recruitment when you need to fill a position, you’ll play catch up every time you start the hiring process. “Building a bench is the best possible way to hire great talent when you need it. So that you’re in constant communication with people that you would love to hire, once the right role opens up,” Ken says.
- Revisit job descriptions. A boilerplate job description is a significant turn-off for prospective employees. Ken says candidates don’t want to see a generic list of job responsibilities and requirements. Instead, “you want to talk about how this individual is going to impact the organization.”
- Rethink degree requirements. “There’s a lot of great talent out there that has phenomenal experience skills-wise and energy-wise, but just never got a degree,” Ken says. Companies should be more open to outstanding candidates who, for whatever reason, don’t have a college degree. This is important for DEI concerns as well, Ken says. Many minority groups don’t have as high a penetration of college degrees. Your business could be missing opportunities for a more skilled, more diverse workforce simply because of outdated job requirements.
- Keep the conversation going. If you want to retain top talent, staying engaged with your employees is crucial. “It’s really important that you sit down with your employees, especially your top performers, and have what we call ‘career conversations,’” Ken says. When Ken works with candidates looking for new opportunities, one of the top reasons they give for leaving their current position is simply, “My boss never talks to me.”
You can see Ken Schmitt’s full presentation on Leadtail TV.