As a PR firm focused on high-growth technology companies, we always ask prospective clients about their goals. Most say they want to build visibility to attract more customers, or to gain a competitive advantage in their sector. Lately, however, they prioritize another goal that’s at least as important as adding partners or even customers — recruiting the best workers.
Despite layoffs at major tech employers, it’s still a buyer’s market for many jobs. Attracting and retaining top talent is a huge challenge for any business, but it’s a distinct competitive advantage among high-growth tech companies — if they can manage it. The current labor market has elevated the importance of “employer branding” – the perception of a company as an employer among prospective workers. The good news is that PR-driven tactics can help a business build and communicate a positioning that prioritizes the well-being of their workers and a commitment to their industry and community.
Employer branding used to mean a reputation for offering competitive compensation and benefits. Now, those are table stakes. Today’s professionals – especially those in the Gen Z cohort — are looking for more than just a job. They want a workplace that aligns with their values, supports their growth, responds to their needs, and contributes positively to the community. These demands mean that companies must strategically position themselves as not just profit-driven entities, but as organizations that genuinely care about their employees’ well-being and the greater good.
According to Gartner’s 2023 Future of Work report, many organizations just aren’t keeping up with what workers want. “The intent to leave or stay in a job is only one of the things that people are questioning as part of the larger human story we are living,” says Caitlin Duffy, Gartner HR Practice Research Director. “You could call it the ‘Great Reflection.’ It’s critical to deliver value and purpose.”
The right PR strategy can help differentiate an organization as a great place to work. And one of the most effective PR-driven tactics is to enhance visibility for C-level business leaders — the executives that serve as the face and voice of the organization. When high-ranking officers actively engage with the public, share their personal experiences, and discuss the company’s values and initiatives, it humanizes the brand. Executives can use social platforms like LinkedIn to share thoughts on industry issues and workplace values. But most PR programs will supplement the social elements with additional content and other tactics that drive thought leadership. They can include op-ed pieces, bylined articles, conference speaking engagements, and profiles in business and trade press to showcase their commitment to employees. This human touch fosters a sense of trust and relatability among potential candidates.
Recognition by third parties adds credibility to an organization’s claims of being an employer of choice. PR teams often include strategies that include awards like “Best Places to Work” to validate the company’s efforts to create a positive work environment. Inclusion on such lists showcases the company’s commitment to employee satisfaction, diversity and inclusion, or employee growth. And PR can further leverage the recognition by sharing it through press releases, social media content, and internal and external company communication channels. All help amplify the positive narrative to reach top talent at the time when they’re thinking of making a move, or when they’re researching the organization.
Highlighting the achievements and contributions of both employees and executive leadership can also enhance a company’s brand as an employer. Recognizing outstanding employees for innovation, collaboration, or community involvement not only boosts their morale but also demonstrates the company’s commitment to nurturing talent. By showcasing executives’ personal involvement in philanthropic or volunteer activities or community projects, the company reinforces its commitment to making a positive impact beyond the bottom line.
For an employer branding strategy to succeed, the organization’s brand and values must align. Potential candidates will quickly spot superficial claims that stand in for genuine commitment. Companies should focus on defining their values and weaving them into all aspects of the organization, from hiring processes to employee development initiatives. This alignment ensures that the employer branding efforts are not just PR stunts, but a true reflection of the company’s ethos.
In a competitive talent market, standing out as an employer of choice takes a long-term approach that goes beyond traditional recruitment methods. When it’s based on the true alignment of brand and values, PR-driven employer branding can build a compelling identity that attracts, engages, and retains the future leadership needed for sustainable success in today’s marketplace, whether in technology or elsewhere.