Over the past several years, those focused on Employer Branding, Recruitment Marketing, and Social Recruiting spend a fair deal of money each year on catchy imagery, messages and social advertisements (among other digital investments). When leadership asks the question, what is the ROI? They’re often met with the answer of “it raises brand awareness.” And while that’s true, it’s a very vague result that can hide a multitude of performance sins (or lack thereof). If there’s investment, there needs to also be specific measurement to balance it… but many Talent Attraction professionals struggle with how to do that and where to begin.
The best place to start when making the move past “we’re doing this to raise brand awareness” is to outline your purpose. What are you doing and why are you doing it? Answering those two questions outline your business and recruiting objectives; which you’ll use to determine the drivers that are appropriate for your organization. Then you need to be able to measure how many people knew of your company before employer branding efforts began.
How about share of voice? Pinpointing your starting point will allow you to benchmark to find total growth throughout your campaign. From there, you have two categories of metrics that matter: Soft Metrics and Hard Numbers.
Soft Metrics are the questions that need to be asked, but arguably have somewhat subjective answers as opposed to hard numbers.
- What is the level of your employer brand awareness in your target markets?
- Is your target audience reacting to and engaging with your brand messaging? This is a “soft question” that can be drilled down from a simple ‘yes’ to hard numbers. You can measure this by looking at the subsequent actions the take. Do they comment, like, share the content you’re putting out? Are they moving from the social content you share to the career destinations that you’re driving them to, joining your talent network, applying for jobs, etc?
- What is the level of your employee base’s understanding of your EVP and brand messaging? If your employees don’t understand it or can’t share your values pillars effectively; chances are your candidates don’t, either. You can measure this through internal surveying or focus groups; but you can also solicit feedback from candidates brought in through your ERP. Simply send them a different survey than you do candidates brought in through your other talent attraction efforts (this will require some sort of source information field to be set up so that you know to send a separate candidate experience survey).
- What produces the best hires? Is it employee referrals, hiring manager satisfaction with the selected candidates, completion of your onboarding program, early adoption and participation in social collaboration tools in your organization? By understanding what keeps employees in your organization engaged and successful, you can develop the key drivers of your program & focus appropriate resources into developing feedback/measurement of those activities.
- What’s your Workforce Data? Move beyond the standard demographic info and collect information on who they are – this will help you better understand what your target audience likely stands for and will help you more effectively deploy brand messaging to your existing employee base. Look at:
- Commuting Patterns
- Interest and Hobbies outside of work
- Behavioral Patterns
Gathering this information can help you understand the best way to share your messaging. This might include gamification efforts, targeted advertising on the heaviest traversed routes of your employees, etc.
Hard metrics need to include more than just Cost Per Hire (CPH). Beyond employee engagement and quality of hire, discussed above, also look at:
- Retention Rate: This is the most commonly used metric and can be displayed as a stand-alone number and included in ROR.
- Traffic Sources
- Number of Employee Referrals (pre and post campaign)
- ROR (Rate of Return): This is an actual formula and should be conducted on each project you undertake, the benefit (return) of an investment is divided by the cost of the investment: R= Vf-Vi/Vi. Universum recommends the Value of attracting and recruiting a candidate that matches the company profile but traditionally the following have been used in determining the Vf number in ROR calculation:
- Number of Net-New Applications and Talent Network Sign-Ups
- Cost Per Employee (this focuses on the development of a value set showing the cost to retain your talent)
- Increase in Engagement/Productivity of Current Employees
- Decreased Time – to – Fill
- Open Positions
For Vi, you’re focusing on costs:
- Program Investments (tools, materials development, platform costs)
- Advertising costs
- Operational Costs (including staff costs, travel, events, etc)
While the return of brand initiatives certainly go beyond what’s isolated in these hard numbers; it’s important to be able to calculate the results of your efforts so that you can clearly communicate the benefits of your efforts to leadership.
For more information on measuring the efficacy of your branding initiatives, consider attending Universum’s Employer Branding Conference in NYC tomorrow on May 7th, 2014.
About the Author: Crystal Miller is a strategist with AT&T and has nearly a decade of recruitment marketing and digital strategy experience. In addition, she has led both the internal HR function for a regional $350MM business and the largest real estate recruiting practice for the leading single-site search firm in the United States. Miller has worked with start-ups to Fortune 5 companies to create and execute compelling recruitment marketing & employer branding campaigns.
She has been a reliable expert source on the topics of talent attraction, talent acquisition, talent management, and digital strategy for multiple media outlets including CBS, Hanley-Wood, Mashable, and ABC. As an industry leader, she is recognized for expertise in recruitment, recruitment marketing, social media, social communities, talent pipelining, and digital strategic solutions and speaks globally on the same.
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