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3 New (And More Accurate) Ways to Calculate the ROI of Employer Branding

Employer branding featured

How do you know your new Employer Brand program is working? How can you actually calculate the ROI of Employer Branding and share it with your team?

The value of branding will always be hard to track, but in the long run, creating a brand that candidates remember and identify with will be hugely valuable to your company.

The issue is, to justify investing resources in branding, you need to show that it's working...

Traditional techniques to measure the ROI of Employer Branding

Application number is the standard metric by which many Employer Branding programs are judged.

The logic is simple. A better Employer Brand attracts more applicants. This is true - branding king Google gets around 2 million applicants every year. The problem though, is that there are a whole host of _other _reasons why application numbers can fluctuate.

This makes it an unfair way to measure the ROI of Employer Branding. Instead, try these 3 new (and more accurate) ways to measure your branding programs and track their value:

1. Building your Talent Promoter Score

TPS (or Talent Promoter Score) is a measure of how likely a candidates is to refer friends or colleagues to your organisation (i.e. a measure of employer brand advocacy).

Turning candidates into brand advocates is possibly the best indicator of branding success. It shows that their interactions with your company have been so positive that they're actively spreading the word and promoting your brand.

To measure your TPS, send candidates a simple survey asking them how likely they are to recommend your company to their friends. Candidates can select a score between 0 and 10 that shows their willingness to promote your brand to their friends.


Detractors: Candidates that select scores between 0-4 are seen as brand detractors (i.e. they would actively criticise and detract from your employer brand).

**Passives: **Candidates that select scores between 5-8 are seen as passives (i.e. they do not feel strongly enough about your brand to impact it positively or negatively).

Promoters: Candidates that select scores between 9-10 are seen as promoters (i.e. they would actively promote your employer brand to friends and family).

The ROI of employer branding initiatives can be seen clearly by an increase in the number of brand promoters over time.

TPS can be hacked together with tools like Surveymonkey or sent through Employer Branding Software like Beamery (screenshot below).

candidate experience - recruitment automation

Pro tip: Getting referrals from brand promoters

Referrals don't just come from your existing employees. Companies can maximise the value of a great TPS to increase the number of referrals from unsuccessful applicants.

Here's a simple formula to putting this into action:

i) Send a short TPS survey to unsuccessful applicants to get valuable feedback on your application process.

ii) Track the scores and feedback that you receive to see which candidates are brand promoters

iii) Ask anyone who has given you a 9-10 rating to refer any friends or colleagues that they think could be a good fit

iv) Rinse and repeat!

Not every candidate that you ask for will refer friends, but you'll get sufficient referrals to make this initiative a great source of new applications.

Case Study: Virgin Media - Turning detractors into brand promoters

Rejecting candidates is never easy. No matter how well you handle it, you're likely to leave some people with a bitter taste in their mouth.

Virgin Media is a company that attracts too many applicants for their own good! They average around 150,000 applications, which translates to 3,500 new hires

In his recent article, Bryan Adams describes exactly why this is an issue...

As many as 7500 applicants, (who were also customers of Virgin Media), felt so aggrieved by the rejection that they cancelled their contracts and signed up with competitors instead! Virgin calculated that the sum total of this was $6 million in lost revenue every year. Pretty significant.

Virgin Media's new initiative, in partnership with PH Attraction, is to totally reverse this, turn these brand detractors into promoters and use recruitment to generate a target revenue of $7 million per year.

They're planning to do this by:

  • Becoming famous for their candidate experience
  • Committing to make every single applicant more employable having experienced their recruitment process
  • Introducing commercial offers to the application experience to win more revenue

It's a bold plan, but one that is sure to help Virgin Media consolidate their Employer Brand and create more brand promoters.

2. Tracking your ELTV

A strong Employer Brand doesn't just apply to your candidates, it has an incredibly positive effect on employee engagement and retention, two of the prime metrics that companies currently use to measure the ROI of their brand (33% of companies use employee engagement as their prime metric, whereas 38% use retention).

ELTV (or Employee-Lifetime-Value) represents the total net value over time that an employee brings your organisation. It's a great way to track the effect of brand on your team.

Every person's ELTV spans across their entire lifecycle as an employee, starting on Day 1 and ending when they leave the company (image from Greenhouse below to illustrate the employee lifecycle).


The employee lifecycle at most companies is getting shorter every year. We live in a society of job hoppers, lifers (people who spend their whole career at one company) are a dying breed.

This has sparked a growing concern around employee engagement and led many companies to turn some of their employer branding efforts inward to improve retention.

This is highly effective. Good employees want to feel valued, they want to work at great companies, and they want to do something meaningful with their careers (all especially true of millennials!) A compelling employer brand ticks these boxes.

Companies with great culture and a powerful Employer Brand can get big returns on employee engagement, productivity and ultimately ELTV.

Here are a few ways to spot Employer Branding ROI by measuring ELTV:

  • Reduced ramp time (i.e. time before someone is adding value)
  • Increased level of value that employees provide
  • Prolonged increased level of value over time
  • Increased retention and average employee tenure

increasing ELTV to show Employer Branding ROI

[image-caption]Source: Greenhouse[image-caption-end]

Case study: Salesforce 1:1:1

Salesforce are a great example of a company that focus heavily on their internal employer brand and company purpose. Their 1:1:1 model, since adopted by the likes of Google, Dropbox and GoPro, is responsible for building an awesome internal brand.

Since the company’s conception, founder Marc Benioff has advocated the use to Salesforce people, technology and resources for charitable means. It’s something he refers to as ‘integrated philanthropy’, and it’s built directly into the Salesforce business model.

Everyone at the company knows that they’re not only producing and selling a product that makes it easier for sales teams to manage their workflow and close leads, but that they’re employed by an organisation that genuinely cares about doing good.

This helps Salesforce attract and retain a talented workforce, (now numbering 13,000), and has led to them being named one of Fortune’s ‘Best Companies to Work For’ six years running.

This model isn’t designed for everyone – you need to sit down with your team today and pinpoint exactly what your own company mission is, and how it fits into your branding plans.

3. Measuring quality of hire

Bad hires can be hugely destructive to your organisation, (a single poor hiring decision can cost your company as much as $50,000).

Employer branding can't solve poor hiring decisions, that's down to your process, what it can do though is help your company start relationships with the kinds of candidates that you _really _want to get in your building.

We're talking about your ideal candidate persona, (the skills, experience and characteristics that make up your ideal new hire). For more on personas and the best way to create your own, take a look at this article.

If you have a good idea of your target candidate, then you can craft employer branding campaigns that will help your company stand out to that kind of person.

For example, both LinkedIn and Walmart have done a fantastic job at building an employer brand that appeals to top engineers and developers. This might seem pretty surprising - on the surface neither company seems like the kind of place that the best technical talent would want to work...

BUT, both companies have made a huge effort to contribute to the Open Source Software community, a huge draw for the top engineers, most of whom will have made large numbers of Open Source contributions themselves.

LinkedIn and Walmart promote their Open Source efforts effectively, and leverage them to attract the best talent (for those interested, here are the online pages where both companies describe their contributions.

Case Study: Zappos - The unconventional test for Quality of Hire

Some companies go to extremes to ensure that new hires meet their bar for quality.

Employer Branding leaders Zappos, offer new hires cash incentives to leave - an initiative by CEO Tony Hsieh to weed out bad hires. Hsieh believes that bad hires have cost the company over $100 million cumulatively and has made it a huge priority to prevent it from happening in the future.


These incentives aren't insignificant either, Hsieh offers all new employees $2000 to leave! By doing this though, Zappos ensures that they only have people who are committed to the mission onboard, it's one of the key reasons they've been able to build such an unbelievable culture.

Bonus: The recruiting metrics that actually matter

Without the right metrics, recruiting is rudderless. How can you know what to prioritise if you don’t have data on what actually works?

Tune into our latest webinar on Thursday 13 October at 5pm BST, as Beamery’s panel of industry experts unleash wit, wisdom and concrete tips to help you focus in on the metrics that really matter and create a data-driven recruiting process.

We’re welcoming:

  • Barry Flack, Former Head of Talent at Primark
  • Ruth Penfold, Director of Talent Acquisition at Shazam
  • Dorian Webb, Head of Talent at High Speed Two (formerly UBS, Telefónica)
  • Jacob Kimber, Recruitment Manager at Mediatonic Games (formerly Blackboard)

**YOU CAN SAVE YOUR SPOT HERE **(we’ve decided to keep this webinar as intimate as possible so there’s a limited capacity that’s filling up fast!)

If you can't make the webinar time, sign up anyway and we will send you a recording.