Why KPIs Are Critical to Employer Branding

WRITTEN BY: Jörgen Sundberg

When you’re building an employer brand, you face a number of hurdles.

It can be difficult to delineate between what is and is not your job. Your role may sit anywhere between corporate marketing, internal communications, and corporate branding.

No matter where in the organization you sit, you also face an overarching messaging challenge. You’re trying to articulate what is great about your organization as it is now, and, simultaneously, push it in a direction that will help you better meet your recruitment goals.

Finally, there’s the matter of leadership buy-in. Top-down support is necessary to advance the cause of employer branding. As Liz Du, the director of employer brand and talent marketing at ServiceNow, says, “Building out teams with top-quality talent—that is one of our top company goals. I’ve been fortunate enough to not have to prove why talent brand is critical. That is already embedded in our leaders.”

One way to keep everyone on the same page, track your forward momentum, and maintain leadership buy-in is to agree to a set of metrics you’ll look at and report on over time. These key performance indicators (KPIs) inform your strategy and tactics, but most importantly, the right metrics can help you understand where you’re having an impact and what requires a larger investment from your organization.

Establish Clear KPIs

“Because I am a marketer at heart, I know full well that you can’t show value unless you have clear KPIs—unless you’re measuring something,” Du says.

When she first came into the business, talent brand felt like the wild west. “People were measuring tactics and not really taking a step back and understanding the big picture of talent brand health over time.”

For her organization, the key was establishing a dashboard of metrics that could be reported to leadership on a quarterly basis. It covers things like traffic and engagement on the careers website, but it also extends to awards and accolades, reach to target audiences, applicant data, and the Employer Brand Index (EBI).

Du is a fan of EBI, in particular, because she can see how ServiceNow stacks up with competitors in its industry. The sixteen-category breakdown highlights areas of focus for what Du and her team should do moving forward.

“It gives us an opportunity to work with our content teams and corporate communications teams to identify whitespace opportunities for them, and that’s been a great input to their strategy and what they’re going to go after,” she says.

It’s critical to not just explain the metric but articulate the impact to leadership. For example, recently, Du has seen a rise in the number of direct applicants. While this metric is obviously proof that what she’s doing is working, it also means that recruiters have to spend less time getting people to apply and can focus on engaging with the right candidates for ServiceNow.

Avoid Infighting

A major challenge for talent brand teams at any organization is to avoid infighting between the different factions that own pieces of talent branding efforts. Du, who was recently awarded Talent Brand Leader of the Year by the Talent Brand Alliance, explains: “I’ve heard so many stories about talent brand teams—sitting within the people organization—talking about how to avoid the ‘Brand Police’ or trying to get things done circumventing the marketing team.”

Clearly-stated goals and a set of metrics you all agree on keeps the entire talent brand team aligned.

Show Your Work

At the end of the day, it’s on you to show your value. “You have to be crystal clear about how you’re going to measure success,” Du says. “If you can’t show value, you’re never going to be able to justify resources asked.”

However, if you establish a clear set of KPIs and report on them over time, you can make a compelling case to leadership about how you’re delivering value to your organization and why establishing an employer brand is so important.

To follow Liz Du’s work in employer brand, connect with her on LinkedIn. To measure your employer brand, you can use the Employer Brand Index. The EBI analyzes 16 key attributes that measure how you compare with others in your industry.


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