What Are the Challenges of Employer Branding and How to Overcome Them?

Challenges of employer branding, man staring intently at a laptop screen, expressing frustration or annoyance, StudySmarter

Employer branding is the way in which companies seek to portray themselves as an employer. This includes everything from the tone of job advertisements to the office culture. The recent phenomenon known as the Great Resignation took many of us by surprise. While the pandemic radically changed the work culture globally, it has also changed the way companies think about recruitment and employee engagement. Organisations have started investing more time and effort into moulding a unique brand as an employer. However, like all branding efforts, the challenges of employer branding are varied.

While employer branding can be a powerful tool in developing an organisation’s talent pool and, in turn, its success and growth, it can be challenging. While cost can be a problem for smaller and new companies, misguided employer branding efforts can negatively impact an organisation’s reputation. 

In this article, we will comprehensively address the following aspects:

Here are some of the common challenges facing organisations in employer branding.

Challenges of employer branding: Defining your goals and values

Knowing the endgame helps to choose the right strategies to follow while creating your employer’s brand. Without a clear understanding of where to start, getting started on your employer branding can be a challenge. If your branding efforts are not aimed at the right candidate persona, you may fail to attract the desired quality of candidates.  

Before advertising your employer’s brand, it is vital to define your values as an employer. Employer values are the guiding principles and beliefs that an organisation upholds while interacting with potential employees and clients. Employer values may include things like attention to employee well-being, an atmosphere of teamwork and collaboration. They can also include the commitment to a particular social cause. 

Research indicates that there exists a positive relationship between employees’ perception of organisational values and objectives and job satisfaction. Company values also impact employee retention. When employees feel that the corporate values are aligned with their own, they are more likely to feel a sense of belonging and purpose. On the other hand, if your organisation’s values are unclear or inconsistent, this could easily lead to job dissatisfaction, disengagement, and high turnover rates. 

Challenges of employer branding: Onboarding new employees 

Onboarding processes are important as they provide new employees with the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the organisation. They offer a welcoming environment and equip new employees with the necessary tools and information needed to thrive in their new roles. Employer branding is an ongoing process that does not stop once your desired candidate is onboard. There is a close link between onboarding and employer branding. Onboarding is an opportunity for you to reinforce the advertised employer brand. 

Failing to provide a positive onboarding experience that reflects your organisation’s values and culture can be detrimental to your reputation as an employer. In addition to that, onboarding experience gives both the employer and new employees the following opportunities:

  • An effective onboarding experience can make employees feel welcome and valued, which could lead to increased commitment and engagement. 
  • Organisations can ensure that new employees have the tools and resources to help them get started.
  • A positive onboarding experience can help confirm an organisation’s image as a first-choice employer brand, resulting in improved employee retention in the long run.  

Challenges of employer branding: Disengaged employees

Employee disengagement can impact your organisation’s productivity, success, and employer brand. If left unchecked, this could become one of your biggest challenges of employer branding. The negative atmosphere they create within the organisation can affect other employees too. Such employees are also more likely to leave the organisation, leading to a high turnover rate and associated costs. Not to mention that they can also leave negative reviews on different platforms that might affect your reputation as a company.

While disengaged employees are never good news, it is not always fair to cast them as bad. To tackle disengaged employees, it might be a good idea to look at the reasons contributing to the problem. 

There are a few likely scenarios that result in disengaged employees: 

Ineffective employer branding strategy

It is possible that your employer brand failed to attract suitable candidates whose passion and values matched those of your organisation.


Your employer branding methods were inconsistent or unclear, leading to misperceptions among job seekers about your company culture, values and goals. 

Poor management

Your employees lost enthusiasm due to the lack of job satisfaction, recognition, and employee engagement.  

Poor employee experience (EX)

An unsustainable work culture, not paying attention to employee well-being, and setting unrealistic expectations for employees are among the most common reasons employees become disengaged. 

The key to creating a more engaging and devoted workforce is understanding the underlying causes of disengagement and taking proactive steps to address and avoid them. 

One challenge of employer branding can be disengaged employees.

Challenges of employer branding: Brand weakness

Brand weakness is among the most common challenges of employer branding. In simple words, brand weakness refers to the areas in which a brand might be seen as falling short in comparison to its competitors. Employer branding is relevant not only among your current and potential employees but also to your consumers. Weaknesses in your employer branding can be a potential cause of other brand weaknesses and, ultimately, failure and loss. 

If a company suffers from a poor reputation with regard to employee treatment, work culture, and employee experience, it may struggle to attract or retain talented employees. Even if your overall brand is still a work in progress, with the right kind of employees, your business can grow and achieve its targets. For that reason alone, it is ideal not to tolerate any brand weakness in your employer branding.

Brand weaknesses within a company’s employer branding strategy can be remedied by focusing on developing a sustainable company culture and providing competitive benefits, growth opportunities and recognition for their employees. General brand image and employer brand can be mutually influential. Therefore, improving your general brand reputation may also improve your employer brand. 

Challenges of employer branding: Cost

Employer branding can be costly if you don’t choose the right tools and channels to run your employer branding campaigns. Small organisations may struggle to invest in a comprehensive employer branding strategy because of their limited budget. It can be difficult to measure the return on investment (ROI) of employer branding efforts, which can make it challenging for some companies to justify the expense. Employer branding can also be time-consuming and may require specific skills, extensive research and analysis. Some companies may, therefore, be reluctant to allocate funds for ongoing employer branding efforts. 

Employer branding pays off in the middle and short term if it is well-planned and executed. Many departments need to be aligned to make it work, but it is a positive process and tactic that has longevity in the company.

Employer branding action plan

The best way to tackle the challenges of employer branding is to create an employer branding action plan that is unique to your organisation. An employer branding action plan acts as a roadmap for the steps a company can take to establish and maintain a strong employer brand.

Some of the following steps may make good additions to your employer branding action plan:

  • Define your employer brand by identifying what sets your company apart as an employer and develop a clear message that reflects your company values and culture.
  • Conduct an employer brand audit to evaluate your current employer brand and identify areas that need improvement. 
  • Develop a strategy based on your audit and outline how you can make changes to your employer brand. This may include implementing employee engagement initiatives, enhancing your recruitment process, and improving your company culture.
  • Communicate and promote your employer brand by using different channels such as social media, your company website, job boards, and career fairs.
  • Your employees often inadvertently act as ambassadors for your company and its work culture. Training your employees in company values and ensuring that they understand your employer brand will reflect positively on your brand.
  • Tracking the results of your methods continuously is the best way to understand the effectiveness of your employer branding strategy. You can use employee feedback, employee retention rates, and recruitment metrics to make this assessment.

In conclusion, creating a good employer branding requires attention and meticulous efforts. Any firm can improve its employer branding by planning and implementing employer branding strategies that are suitable for them.

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