The ROI of Employer Brand: A guide to setting and measuring KPIs

Communicating the value of employer brand is one of the most difficult yet essential tasks for talent teams. Learning to ignore vanity metrics and focus on what really matters to C-suite is one of the most important employer branding skills you can learn.

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How to connect your integrations to your CRM platform?

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Techbit is the next-gen CRM platform designed for modern sales teams

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Why using the right CRM can make your team close more sales?

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Employer brand is on everyone’s mind right now.

The job market is as crowded as it’s ever been and with that, the cost of reaching the best talent is creeping up and up. For those in the world of talent and recruitment marketing, the importance and impact of a strong employer brand is well known.

A strong employer brand helps throughout the recruitment process, from an easier time filling top of funnel, to better conversion rates throughout the pipeline and higher retention rates with existing staff. All these benefits can be linked to reductions in cost to achieve the same or better results.

But there’s just one problem…

While it can be logically connected and accepted that employer branding drives these improvements across talent team KPIs, quantifying or directly attributing investment in employer branding to any of these KPIs can be almost impossible!

And therein lies the challenge for talent teams in reporting on the ROI of their employer branding activities.

Talent marketers and the vanity metrics trap

“We’ve had 10,000 page views, reached 45,000 people with our posts, and had 8,000 engagements with our content!”

Who cares.

There’s an abundance of data available to us these days. But as we’ve evolved in the digital age, it has become increasingly apparent that the vast majority of these metrics are completely and utterly useless.

Metrics like views, impressions, reach and clicks are meaningless without conversions or dollars connected to them. With the decline of Cookies and the rise in the right to privacy online, connecting the dots between the two is becoming increasingly difficult and nearly impossible.

Unless we can put employer branding KPIs in the context of what matters to the C-suite and those outside the talent team. 

The disconnect between C-Suite KPIs and employer branding ROI

There’s a reason that so many products in the B2B space often fall back on ‘increasing revenue’ as their main value proposition. At the end of the day, there’s not too much else that C-Suite cares about or are themselves held accountable for.

It’s not quite that simple, but for business owners, shareholders and C-suite, there are five key areas they look at:

  • Are we increasing profits?
  • Are we reducing costs?
  • Are we growing our customer base?
  • Are existing customers satisfied and growing in revenue?
  • Are we mitigating our risk exposure?

Of these five areas, the one that we can best address through employer branding is reducing costs. But the challenge for talent marketers is that employer branding activities can’t be directly attributed to these cost reductions or KPI lifts.

The blueprint for measuring and reporting employer branding ROI

Reporting the efficiency of employer branding in C-suite-friendly terms is simpler than you think. For example:

“We were spending $300,000 on job boards, since launching (employer brand activity), we’ve had an X% increase in direct applications through our website, allowing us to reduce our job board spend by 50% while increasing total applicants by 15%”


“After we launched (employer branding activity), we’ve seen an X% increase in our conversion rate from clicks on paid ads to applicants, reducing our cost per applicant by Y%.”

Measuring these results can be the challenging part though. But the process outlined below will help you find the connections between your employer branding activities and quantify them.

Establish your baseline

To measure results, you first need to establish your baseline. As we looked at earlier, for talent teams this will likely be metrics around reducing costs e.g. cost per application. Ideally, you’ll want to look at a large sample size for your baseline, around 12 months of data from before the activities you want to measure occurred.

Map your activities and key dates

Once you have your baseline data, overlay your key activities for the measurement period to the timeline to better visualize where the variance in your metrics occurred relative to employer branding efforts.

Overlay your reporting metrics

Finally, overlay the metrics that your talent team cares about. These are often leading indicators of the correlation between improvements in these metrics and the key metrics that C-suite are looking at when assessing the performance of their talent team.

Time for some qualitative measurement

While there may appear to be correlations between your metrics and business outcomes, well, you know what they say about when you ‘assume’.

To give more validity to the correlations, it’s best to back up the data with qualitative research. This could be surveying your subscriber base, including a “how did you hear about us” section in your application or even speaking to new hires during onboarding to understand their touchpoints, experiences and perception of your employer brand.

Final thoughts

If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing properly.

There’s no quick fix for proving the ROI of employer brand, but if you’re going to commit the time, effort and resources to building your employer brand then measuring and reporting on it is essential. The case for employer brand is often an easy sell within talent marketing circles, the link between a strong employer brand and a KPI lift across the board is very logical.

To ensure the ongoing investment and buy-in from C-suite though, it’s essential that teams are equipped to properly report on the ROI of their employer brand.

Are you looking to build your employer brand this year? Our Employer Branding Analysis tool can help you quickly identify your strengths and opportunities to improve your employer branding. Get your free scorecard today.

Amplify your employer brand in minutes!