Author Profile Picture

Phil Owers

Papirfly Employer Brand


Read more about Phil Owers

Don’t look for a silver bullet when measuring employer brand success


There’s no simple way to measure the success of an employer brand. But just because it can be complex and at times confusing, that is no excuse for neglecting to track the ROI into employer branding.

Analysing the effectiveness of new branding programs means businesses can identify the issues that need to be addressed, and the steps that can be taken to improve branding even further.

The problem we face is that quite often people have varying views of what success looks like. This is usually the case when competing priorities lead to different definitions of the employer brand. This uncertainty is compounded by a lack of resources and the difficulties involved in obtaining insightful information.

However, there are a several ways we can start to build a picture of how the employer brand is developing over time. Our research has highlighted five of the most popular ways we can do this. And there are pros and cons to them all.

External validation

There are numerous ranking lists produced by external organisations, such as The Sunday Times, the Top Employers Institute, Glassdoor, LinkedIn and Universum, which highlight successful employer brands. These ranking are supplemented by external awards that are also designed to celebrate employer excellence.

The problem with this kind of benchmark, however, is that it’s not always possible to understand how the results can be aligned to internal measures of employer success. The attitudes towards these external accolades can also vary widely from casual interest to them being included as a core KPI.

Social media

The emergence of social media has provided people with opportunities to engage with brands on a more frequent and personal basis. The number of likes, follows, shares and comments can now be seen as evidence of success in developing the employer brand.

Although many do see these measurements as vanity metrics, providing little insight into what is working and why. Their value is also downgraded by ‘paid for’ marketing, with the most successful brands on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter often paying large amounts of money to achieve this success.

Career site metrics

The percentage of website visitors that convert into job applicants on a careers site is a popular metric used to measure the employer brand.

However, this cold data does not tell you everything you need to know. It won’t tell you why people have visited the site in the first place or why they didn’t convert. Nor does it tell you what stage in the job seeking process a visitor may be. The data also fails to make it clear whether the design of the website itself may be affecting decision making.

Recruitment KPIs

Metrics such as cost per hire and time to hire and popular measurements when assessing the success of talent acquisition. Yet these general statistics are not always the best way to judge the employer brand.

Performance and retention metrics provide significantly more meaningful measurements in this regard. However, this data can be harder to obtain and is also difficult to analyse and interpret.

Internal surveys

Conducting bespoke employer brand measurements on an ongoing basis can be prohibitively expensive. And if research is undertaken, concerns are often raised over the validity of the data – whether results are comparable or the sample sizes are large enough.

But even taking this into account, conducting research, such as employee engagement and candidate experience surveys, is extremely helpful. There is a large amount of innovation taking place in this area, with companies like Organisation View and Mystery Applicant helping to develop more robust and meaningful real time results.

Make sure you measure up

When reviewing all the five solutions above, it’s clear that there is no perfect solution, or ‘silver bullet’. Yet each holds its own value when it comes to assessing the employer brand. Emma Fulton, resourcing partner at LV=, says there may not be an obvious way to achieve a standard approach. She says, “only a blended scorecard of indicators, viewed together, can give a measurement of success.”

Most progressive companies are now looking to achieve a balanced approach using a combination of KPIs. Once these are agreed, it becomes much simpler to link the results to the organisation’s broader business objectives and subsequently analyse the success of the employer brand.  

Author Profile Picture