Bring up the subject of “branding” at most workplaces and the conversation will likely center on marketing strategy, promoting your products or services, graphic design that will attract new customers and so on.

However, marketing only to your customers is one-dimensional thinking. Most companies cannot service their customers without good employees. And with quality applicants becoming a hot commodity, this is where “employer branding” comes in. Smart employers realize that they must do all they can to attract the best available workforce.

Workplace reviews by employees

Just like consumers check out product ratings on Amazon, applicants today can look into what workplaces are like. They see how others rate your management team and find out what you pay and offer for benefits. While they are at it, applicants can investigate your personal management style and likability, and even learn about the questions you ask in interviews.

We can thank Glassdoor for creating these opportunities for job-seekers to gain unfiltered third-party perspectives. And Glassdoor is not alone. Job sites such as Indeed (which recently merged with Glassdoor), Vault and Careerbliss have been crowdsourcing employee and applicant feedback. There are even sites just for women such as InHerSite and Fairygodboss. Others are popping up all the time, too.

While a modern, hip website and photos of the foosball table in your lobby might make you look like a fun place to work in your company profile, the meaningful information is in the online reviews.

We at myHR Partner talk with many of our clients’ applicants. Many candidates quote reviews verbatim from the sites noted above. And guess what? The best way to win at these anonymous reviews is to create a top-class company that attracts the best talent out there.

“No one wants to work for a company that is losing customers or that customers are bad-mouthing,” says Sybil Stershic, president of Quality Service Marketing, a firm that handles internal branding and marketing to engage employees.

One suggestion she offers to employees who are job-seeking at a particular organization: “Go to the company as they walk out at 5 p.m. and see their faces. Do they have the look of ‘That’s eight hours I will never get back?’”

Now, flip that scenario around. Think about what your organization would look like in the eyes of an applicant watching your team exit the office. Would they like what they see?

Luckily, you do not need to be a large corporation to create a meaningful presence that applicants will really want to be associated with. In addition to Stershic’s advice, here are four tips for improving your employer brand:

  • Check out your ratings on online sites at least once a month. If reviews are looking dim, look into ways to improve your company page. Ask employees who are dialed into your mission and vision if they would contribute a positive review. Keep your company profiles updated with attractive photos and events with which your company is involved.
  • Make a list of all of your social media sites and other places online where your company has a presence. Do they properly represent your workplace in addition to your products and services? Make sure your public messaging reaches out to potential applicants in addition to customers.
  • Do you have a “Careers” page on your website? If not, get on that. myHR Partner®’s website also has “Our Workplace,” a page updated regularly with posts that show what it’s like to work here and what our people are like. It’s a complement to our “Careers” page and a great source for content to share on social media.
  • Give your team an anonymous employee survey to learn what your employees feel are the strengths and weaknesses of your work environment. Be prepared to take action on what you find out. After all, most of your ratings on Glassdoor emanate from employee perceptions and experiences.

Employees have options. What’s more, the ability for applicants to look into your organization continues to expand. Make sure you are doing all you can to attract the best for your business. It will be a worthy investment.