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Unleashing talent: the power of employer brand and candidate journey to attract and retain employees

A strong, purpose-driven employer brand, and a compelling candidate journey with authenticity and clear communication is key to attract and retain the top talent. In this blog, Lisa Phillipps, our Executive Search Director explores how employers can unleash talent

In the fiercely competitive education job market, organisations encounter challenges in attracting and retaining top talent. The cost of living crisis is exacerbating this even further as salary has become more important to candidates – and, as we all know, HEI salary scales often fall behind the salaries in edtech and wider industry.

For companies to gain a competitive edge and secure the best candidates, they must understand and prioritise their employer brand and deliver an exceptional candidate journey. This holds particularly true in the global education industry, where professionals have always had a more purpose-driven approach to seeking new opportunities. In this article, we explore the significance of employer brand and candidate journey to attract and retain the best talent.

The influence of purpose-driven brands

Organisations that align with individuals’ values and demonstrate a clear sense of purpose are increasingly sought after by employees. According to a Forbes report published in June 2023 by Diane Winiarski, purpose-driven organisations foster employee retention and offer additional benefits. The report highlights the positive correlation between purpose-driven brands and their ability to attract and retain talent, emphasising the importance of purpose-driven organisations in various sectors, including education. 

Attraction: Purpose-driven brands have a unique appeal to individuals and employees are increasingly looking at the board to see if it has diversity at the helm. Companies that prioritise student outcomes and align with candidates’ values are more likely to attract top talent. As a headhunter speaking with talent regularly, we are asked about the culture of the company, how commercial they are compared to how much they value the double bottom line.

As potential employees evaluate different organisations, they seek evidence of a company’s commitment to making a positive difference for young people in education. A strong employer brand that embodies a clear purpose and demonstrates a genuine dedication to educational impact can significantly attract and engage professionals who may be seeking to leave a commercial blue chip environment.

Retention: Once talent is attracted to purpose-driven brands in the education industry, it becomes crucial to retain these employees. A strong employer brand has to live through the people in that organisation. This fosters a sense of belonging and fulfillment among employees. Professionals in the education sector are more likely to stay with organisations that provide development opportunities and a clear path for their own personal growth story. Retention is enhanced when employees feel their work aligns with their personal values and aspirations, resulting in increased loyalty and job satisfaction – a win for the employer and the employee. 

Creating a compelling candidate journey

In addition to a purpose-driven employer brand, providing a compelling candidate journey is essential for attracting and retaining talent. Here are some tips on how to engage with talent throughout the hiring process. 

Authenticity and transparency: Candidates in the education sector value authenticity and transparency throughout the hiring process. They seek organisations that provide a genuine representation of their culture and values. Communicating the organisation’s purpose, impact, and commitment to education in a clear and transparent manner ensures that candidates align with the brand and are more likely to pursue opportunities within the company.

Engaging Communication and Personalisation: Education professionals appreciate engaging communication and personalised interactions during the candidate journey. Prompt communication at each stage of the hiring process fosters a positive experience. Personalisation is best achieved through a combination of emails, calls and video calls.  A candidate journey that demonstrates respect, empathy, and individual attention contributes to a strong employer brand and enhances the likelihood of attracting and retaining talent.  If your company lacks bandwidth in talent acquisition (perhaps during a period of rapid growth) working with a partner, such as The PIE Exec Search, could be the solution to building that strong candidate journey.

In the global education industry, attracting and retaining top talent requires a purpose-driven employer brand and a compelling candidate journey. Professionals in this sector are drawn to organisations that align with their values and offer opportunities to make a meaningful impact on employability and student journeys. Purpose-driven brands that communicate their commitment to social impact attract talent, while a positive candidate journey that emphasises authenticity, transparency, and personalisation enhances the overall employer brand. By focusing on these aspects, you can unlock talent, nurture employee loyalty, and contribute to the advancement of our industry. And we are always here to help you!