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Employer Branding: the aggregation of minimal gains

6 min read

Dave Griffin, Managing Director

by Dave Griffin, Managing Director

Core Creative

The aggregation of minimal gains

From cycling to GAA, many coaches have explored the opportunities for overall improvement through the aggregation of minimal gains. The idea is simple, break your sport or business issue down into component parts then seek a 1% increase in performance in each of the individual facets. It is far easier, according to the theory, to find a 1% gain in 20 small parts of an overall performance than to seek a 20% gain in a single step.

For recruiters, the equivalent means ensuring that every single element in your talent attraction strategy is working as efficiently as possible. There is no point putting many hundreds of hours into a direct sourcing strategy if the moment a potential employee decides to do some independent research you don’t feature in their search results or they find no suitable jobs on your corporate website.

Even worse, imagine that your sourcing activities have not actually identified all of the possible target candidates in the market? This is not a slight on recruiters but a failing in the use of digital sources for the creation of talent pools. There are just some candidates who don’t feature online or who use digital formats in a personal rather than professional context. As an example, try identifying all of your current colleagues through your usual channels such as LinkedIn and search streams – generally speaking a number go missing and there are usually a couple of high-profile, and surprising, omissions.

As the recruitment market becomes ever more tough, particularly in the tech and pharma sectors, there are more and more jobs being posted to jobsites and corporate websites as well as an increase in external advertising. In 2019, there have been a number of significant job announcements  – and when recruitment giant LinkedIn announces they are hiring a further 800 people in Dublin you know the jobs market is getting competitive.

There are two areas where immediate gains are on offer to virtually all recruiters:

  • Improve your use of your employment brand/USPs
  • Drive interest/traffic from outside of your existing talent pools

Improve your use of the employment brand

Employer branding is, at its core, a simple concept. Assuming all is well with your organisation then the people who are a cultural fit for you should be able to join, flourish and, as a consequence, their personal success will deliver success to your organisation. Therefore if you can communicate the essence of what it is to work in your organisation to the right people they will want to work for you, will stay longer and will ultimately make your organisation more successful, profitable or efficient depending on what your organisation does.

Clearly there is a scale of employer branding from those with a well-researched and active Employee Value Proposition (EVP) to those who simply try to promote the organisations key selling points. Regardless of your point on the scale there are some basic items of housekeeping that can deliver a few percentage points of improvement:

  • Job postings – they are an external ad not a filing system so don’t just post up a job spec. Try and create an employer branded “boilerplate”. Most systems offer a preview in the search function so trump your competitors and sell the organisation.
  • External ads – sell the company as an employer not what you do for your customers. A potential employee wants to know why they should join not what they will be telling clients.

Drive traffic from external sources

Imagine setting up a direct sales operation. You do everything right, you put together the team, you have a good range of products, you have your corporate website updated, you set their goals and sit back and wait. Things start to happen, some customers tell their friends about your products, you get a few enquiries, a few people find you through organic search results. You decide to stimulate things by identifying potential customers and start courting them through a series of direct approaches. Of course, alongside all of this you have a marketing plan. Depending on your product/service you will be using direct marketing, fairs & events, PR and advertising.

Now compare that to your direct recruitment plan. A well planned and executed external traffic/response driving campaign is essential. If you have completed the exercise to identify all of your existing employees through your usual channels and there were some missing, then who is missing in your external talent pool?

An external marketing campaign doesn’t just drive traffic, it increases your brand awareness. It makes everything else you do so much more effective. It makes your colleagues proud to refer their contacts, it makes those contacts more likely to respond and it makes your approaches more welcome. It also drives traffic into the arms of your recruiters and often delivers candidates from places you may not have considered before.

If you agree with the idea of an aggregation of minimal gains then external promotion of your organisation as an employer of choice has to be worth more than a few percentage points.

If you would like a no-strings attached conversation about making your own incremental gains email

Contact | Ask Dave a Question about Employer Branding

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