Research Library Article


Employer Branding Delivers ROI

David Earle

measured ROI for branding programs

Our research over the past 5 years has pointed to a well developed employer branding program as one of the core requirements for world class corporate staffing excellence. Here is some supporting data from Bernard Hodes Group, which has developed a specialty in employer branding. The particular study we cite here is The Growing Value of Employer Brands.

When Hodes first studied Employer branding in 2006, it was a relatively new phenomenon.

  • Only 15% of U.S. employers linked it to overall company performance
  • Only 31% linked it to recruiting or retention
  • Branding channels were limited, with usage dominated by company websites (93%), print (71%) and newspapers (55%)
  • Only 50% used email and 18% used employee referral programs
  • Social networks were not yet a factor (Facebook had only just opened itself up to the public and LinkedIn was still very young.)

Today it is a much more common feature of the staffing landscape.

  • 51% of U.S. employers have an established brand strategy, 16% are developing one,  and 8% plan to do so soon. Only 6% have no strategy or aren’t sure whether they do.
  • Branding performance is tracked through employee engagement and other internal studies, ATS activity, social media sites, employee referral programs (up from 18% to 64% usage), industry best practice statistics, market perception studies, and customer research.
  • Branding channels have expanded internally to include the company intranet, email (up from 50% to 72% usage), newsletters and in-house magazines, employee events, recognition programs, and employee town halls.
  • Externally, channels now include career sites, job boards, recruiters and staffers, social media, employee referral programs, campus events, and job fairs.

In short, branding as an integral part of basic staffing thinking and activity has increased dramatically between Hodes first study and this followup.

Other useful takeaways from the study:

Effective branding is a summary exercise involving every internal and external company action.

  • Employees are branding ambassadors
  • Sales and marketing activities reflect branding messages
  • Products and services create customer brand loyalty
  • Training and development activities reinforce branding values
  • Employee fit and performance are measured against brand promises

Consequently no own “owns” branding. It is a whole company exercise with multiple stakeholders and beneficiaries. This makes it a superb way to connect HR activities to the other activities of the company.

Branding is both art and science. The art lies in creating the most effective messages, publicizing those messages, getting every employee to “live the brand,” and tuning the programs for maximum impact. The science lies in developing the metrics that track the performance of branding programs both in terms of their ROI and their impact on business performance.

Do not underestimate the value of internal branding. Not only are employees a company’s most potent brand ambassadors, but an engaged workforce impacts productivity, profitability and customer satisfaction.


  • Recommendations
  • Detailed findings
  • Brand implementation
  • Employer branding practice
  • Workplace attitudes

Illustrations (partial)

  • Stage of employer branding
  • Brand responsibility
  • ROI expectations
  • Branding influence
  • measuring branding strength
  • Metrics


Company   Bernard Hodes Group
Title The Growing Value of Employer Brands
Author Daria Friedman, et al
Date        2012
Type Survey report
Respondents Small, medium and large companies
Industries Various
Geography Worldwide, mostly U.S.
Pages 31
Sample size 241 employers, 174 employees
Cost Free   
Access Contact and company information required
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