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Measuring your Employer Brand

For a companion video to this blog post, click here.

Measurement of Your Employer Brand is the Key to Understanding

So why measure your Employer Brand in the first place? Why is it important?

Quality and improvement pioneer Dr. H. James Harrington stated that “Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.”

So how do we measure your Employer Brand?

As with anything you want to understand and improve, it’s important to measure where your Employer Brand sits right now before you can truly understand the effect of any Employer Branding initiatives. Measurement gives you a baseline from which to track your progress.

As a minimum you need to know what people think are the bad things about your company before opening your mouth. You don’t want to start talking positively about something that people feel negatively about. For example, don’t talk about your sense of belonging if people are scared about losing their jobs.

With this in mind, if you genuinely instil a sense of belonging for the employees in your company, and there are no layoffs in the foreseeable future, understanding your employee’s fears about their job security can help you overcome those worries with transparency and evidence.

So a huge benefit of Employer Brand measurement is that the very act of measuring allows you to see objectively and specifically what needs improving rather than just guessing at it, so you can make plans to do just that and therefore improve your standing as an employer over time. 

It also helps you understand what your company does well and what is important to people. This can lead to surprising insights, especially if people enthuse about a positive aspect that you think is quite minor, or didn’t even know about.

Finally, it’s important to be able to, even indirectly, prove the return on investment for any Employer Branding budget that you are allocated. Measuring your Employer Brand baseline and tracking it over time allows you to show progress versus Employer Branding investments, which can enable you to begin to track the ROI of your Employer Branding work.

Employer Brand Measurement 101

So how can you actually measure your Employer Brand?

Your Employer Brand is what people think about you as an employer. If this sounds vague, you’re right, kind of. Employer Brand is an “intangible”, like any sentiment, which you can throw numbers at but may be difficult to objectively measure unless you can define exactly what you are trying to measure and why. 

It’s easy to shy away from measuring such intangibles, but having a replicable measurement methodology where you consistently collect data gives you a way to prove your success over time.

But where to start? If you look at Employer Brand measurement as an objective data analysis problem, and break the data into manageable chunks, the task seems less daunting.

Like measuring anything else, measuring Employer Brand can be divided into two different tasks:

  • Data collection, where you, well, collect Employer Brand data in a consistent, organised and replicable way. Your method of collection will depend on who you are collecting the data from.


  • Data analysis, where you look at the data you have collected and analyse your data for trends, themes, and anomalies in order for you to start forming a picture of what is important to people and what is not going well for them.

Measuring Employer Brand must also be done through two different lenses:

  • External perception, where the collection and analysis is done from the perspective of people who are not employed by the company - for example in flight candidates, ex-employees, external recruiters, or people who comment on the company on an external company review platform.


  • Internal perception, where the collection and analysis is done with people who work at your company, using methods available internally such as engagement surveys, in-person feedback meetings and engagement with skill-, location- or function-specific groups of people.

But to return to our initial point; what, exactly, are we collecting and analysing? Our view is that you should not be too rigid in the questions you ask of people in case you miss important talking points. We’ve seen employee surveys in the past that focus too much on particular topic areas and avoid other ones which may result in less positive responses. To us, this is the opposite of what we should do as Employer Branders. Our mission is to uncover both the good and the bad in people’s perception of the company because it’s only by being open to all feedback that we can get a true sense of your company’s Employer Brand. And this true picture can lead to insights into what to do to improve your Employer Brand over time.

With this in mind, if you are conducting a survey, we think you should only include one question:

“What do you think about working for the company?”

And let people write as much as they like. OK you might like more structured questions and answers because they are easier to analyse, but the only way you are going to get to the unbiased truth is by posing this single open question.

This approach also lends itself to the analysis of what people say on employer review sites and social media. Taking everything unstructured that people say about your company as an employer and then analysing it can give you very powerful insights.

So how do you handle the analysis of these unstructured statements about your company?

We can broadly categorise any conversation about your company as an employer into the following themes:

  • Remuneration: what people think about their pay and benefits
  • Career Advancement: what development and advancement opportunities employees have
  • Management: how employees are treated by management
  • Job Satisfaction: what people think about the work they do and if it’s building their résumé
  • Working Environment: what people think about their working environment, comfort and safety
  • Team and Culture: what people feel about their team and their colleagues
  • Company Stability: how stable your company is, and will they lose their jobs tomorrow?
  • Diversity and Inclusion: how the company treats diversity and equal opportunities for people within the company
  • Environment and Sustainability: regarding your company’s green credentials and their approach to sustainability

You may well find that there are other topics specific to your company that you want to include in the mix. And this is, of course, overlaid with broader themes such as company purpose, values, mission, and other fine words about what the company is about.

Remember that as an Employer Brander you need to be aware of what the company says it’s going to do and what it is actually doing, and compare that to what people actually think about the company. If in doubt, always go to the source: your employees and people outside of the company who are expressing an opinion about the company as an employer. This is the perception of the company as an employer regardless of whether it’s the reality or not.

Whether you use software tools or do it manually, you’ll need to look at every one of the statements you collected and parse each of them into meaningful components as you can’t guarantee that each sentence is only about one topic. You’ll then need to categorise each component with the appropriate Employer Brand theme, and then record their sentiment against the theme.

Here is a quick example so you can see what we mean. Let’s analyse this simple statement:

“I love my job but I hate my boss”.

We can parse this into two components:

“I love my job”, which is can be categorised in our Job Satisfaction theme with positive sentiment.


“I hate my boss”, which can be categorised in our Management theme with negative sentiment.

Once you have done this for all of the statements you have, you can do some robust analysis on what people think about your company and score each theme accordingly.

Now depending on the amount of data you have collected, this entire exercise can be a massive job, so you need to make sure that you put parameters around what you collect and analyse. When you are creating your initial Employer Brand measurement baseline, you should make sure that the data you collect is no older than two years, and preferably from the previous twelve months. Things change and you want to make sure that you don’t collect results that no longer apply. This will reduce the amount of data you have to process.

Also, depending what is appropriate for your particular circumstances, you can limit your collection to specific areas of interest: perhaps particular geographies or divisions within a company, if you can determine where statements you collect come from (which, by the way, is not always easy).

Another thing to consider is the effort required to translate statements made by employees into a consistent language for analysis.

This may all seem like a lot of effort, and indeed it can be. However the majority of the effort you will undertake will be in the creation of your initial baseline. Subsequent data collections (and we suggest that they are done annually), will likely be less effort as you will get more used to the collection and analysis, and there will likely be less data to take into account over and above your baseline.


So that’s it for our segment on Employer Brand measurement. As you can see, there are a lot of variables to take into account, but we believe that if you apply a consistent methodology and an organised approach to data collection and analysis, the measurement of the intangible entity which is your Employer Brand is very much doable.


  • Be organised
  • Know the scope of what you are measuring, for example a particular time period or geography
  • Create a baseline
  • Repeat the process periodically so you can spot trends
  • Use the data you collect to support the ROI for your Employer Brand activities.

And overall, don’t underestimate the amount of work.

Happy measuring!