2017 Employment Brand Report: An Analysis

party-1458869_640It’s no surprise that employment branding has changed in the past year. If you’ve paid attention to the business environment surrounding us, you’ve noticed. And the 2017 Fortune 500 Top 100 Employment Brands report proves it. Below, you will learn how the premier employment branding ranking criteria has been updated, as well as what the highest-ranking organizations are doing to remain on top.

What’s New?

Just as the candidate journey has evolved and employment branding practices have changed, the ranking criteria of the Fortune 500 Top 100 Employment Brands report has been adjusted to match. An annual evaluation of all companies on the Fortune 500 list, this report is a benchmark for these organizations; therefore, it is imperative that it evolves with the ever-changing landscape.

This year’s changes include:

  • Greater emphasis on career pages category to include the interview process and hiring criteria
  • Greater emphasis on recruitment marketing category to stress the importance of talent community
  • Job boards category now includes broader variety of job boards and aggregators
  • Accolades category scores a wider range of awards and recognitions
  • Corporate social responsibility (CSR) category scores a wider range of initiatives

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The Top Dogs

While there were improvements made to the scoring criteria since 2015, six companies that appeared on the prior report’s top 10 list also find themselves on the current report’s list. Additionally, even though there have been evolutions to the scoring criteria each year since the report’s inception, three companies have found themselves on the top 10 list for three consecutive years. This goes to show how committed and invested these corporations are to employment branding.

Year after year, Johnson & Johnson, General Mills and Goldman Sachs rise to the occasion. This year, they took the first, fourth and fifth spots, respectively. In order to rank so highly, one might think they have to be the best in every category. This isn’t true. These firms know where to focus their attention to highlight their strengths and improve in areas for which they haven’t received perfect scores. Here’s the breakdown.

  • Johnson & Johnson and General Mills received the highest scores compared to competitors in the recruitment marketing category. And this was a tough category. No firm earned a perfect score and only seven companies scored 20 out of 21 points. Of utmost importance is the fact that these organizations have active talent communities. All the other points awarded are elements that take a page straight from the marketing function; what we learn here is that recruitment marketing is just as important as consumer marketing. To drive traffic to the talent community and keep those members engaged, Johnson & Johnson and General Mills have company blog, career-specific social media accounts, links to those accounts from their websites and images and videos on social media.
  • Goldman Sachs earned a leading score (eight out of 11 points) in the accolades category. This element is very important because it validates for candidates what a company is saying about themselves through action. This is third-party confirmation of how great the organization is. But, you can’t expect candidates to learn about every award you’ve won. This is why an integral part of the accolades category is to share with the public via your website and social media outlets what you’ve been recognized for. Goldman Sachs even organizes the awards by category at their website to help visitors navigate the lists.
  • Johnson & Johnson and Goldman Sachs earned perfect scores in CSR. Interestingly, this category saw the most perfect scores with 79 firms listed. This is due to companies’ increased focus on social responsibility in the past decade. With millennials quickly representing much of the workforce, organizations are aligning their businesses with a greater purpose, often one driven by their collective employees. Elements of CSR are easily accessible to candidates, including grant and donation information, community outreach or volunteer days, sustainability and green initiatives, corporate ethics, employee well-being, diversity and inclusion, gender equality, veteran recruitment initiatives and university recruitment initiatives.

Where Are We Headed?

Beyond these three frontrunners, our data has revealed some interesting statistics about employment branding efforts. The top 100 on our list performed almost two times better than the bottom 100 in our ranking. This is quite polarizing, but the categories that set the two groups apart is even more interesting. The top 100 scored more than 10 times better than the bottom 100 in the accolades category and almost five times better in the recruitment marketing category. The leaders scored 225% better in the CSR category, 171% better in career pages, 131% better in job boards and 129% better in employee reviews and candidate experience than the laggards.

These discrepancies could stem from several factors. For example, companies in the lower 100 rankings might focus their employment branding efforts too narrowly or too widely, depending on the circumstances. Organizations often spread themselves too thin, trying to create a presence in every area, but each effort prove s too small to matter. Alternatively, they put all their efforts into one channel – such as blogging, social media or job boards – and neglect the others.

What next year will bring, we don’t quite know yet. There’s still plenty of time before then for things to change. But what we do know is that employment branding will evolve, not only with technology, but by the innovation that will come from the leaders discussed here. To give yourself a shot at the top, use the evaluation criteria listed in the report to give your employment brand a health check. Then focus on perfecting your strengths and boost the areas that need improvement.

MORE: Employment Branding Is a Must

Kim Pope

Kim Pope
Kim Pope is vice president of recruitment solutions, WilsonHCG.

Kim Pope

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