8 ways to be successful with employer branding for startups

by | Oct 13, 2023 | Public Relations

Employer branding for startups isn’t quite the complex, elusive concept that it first appears to be. 

In the same way that you need to create a brand identity that resonates with your target customer, you need to create one that resonates with your target talent. That’s pretty much what employer branding does. It tells job seekers who you are and why they should become a part of your team.

Not sure where to start? This guide will help you build a successful employer branding strategy.

What is employer branding, and why is it important for startups?

Employer branding is the proactive process of establishing and communicating your brand’s core mission, values, and culture. It is essentially the act of marketing your company to the professional workforce.

But there’s even more to it than that. Employer branding is a collaborative PR and HR process that serves two key purposes. 

Firstly, it aims to attract high-quality talent by elevating the appeal of your company. It uses consistent, on-brand messaging to establish a positive employer reputation and widen the talent pool. Secondly, employer branding focuses on retaining high-quality talent by aligning your messaging with the actual employee experience. 

8 ways to be successful with employer branding for startups

Startups need high-quality talent to get their business off the ground. This makes it absolutely critical to get employer branding right.

8 tips to build your startup’s employer branding

Want to get started on an employee branding strategy? Here are 8 tips to help you do it.

1) Define your company’s core values, culture, and USPs

Your company’s values, culture, and unique selling points (USPs) are the foundations of your brand identity and help you better understand your business’s talent needs.

If you value honesty and integrity, you want to hire employees who embody those values. If diversity and inclusion are core to your company’s culture, then any employees you hire also need to embrace your initiatives. 

Also, if you have a USP, such as competitive salaries or development opportunities, define these too, as they’ll help you stand out from the crowd. You could even stress that you use cutting-edge technologies, such as a time management system to schedule priorities, flex timescales, and reduce overworking. 

2) Identify your target audience’s pain points and challenges

What pain points and challenges do your target talent face in the recruitment process and beyond? The answer to this question can be used to drive your employer branding strategy as well as wider initiatives to attract and retain high-quality talent.

Aim to create an experience that resolves pain points and challenges throughout the employee life cycle. For example, a lengthy recruitment process and inefficient payroll are common issues that negatively affect the employee experience. To overcome this, you could use recruitment software to speed up the hiring process. 

3) Create compelling content that tells the story of your startup

A good brand story inspires employees to believe in your vision. It does more than communicate who you are—it shares the driving forces behind your company’s existence. How did you get to where you are? How are you making a difference? 

Create compelling content that communicates your company’s origin story, mission, values, and goals. One such way to do this is through storytelling. 

8 ways to be successful with employer branding for startups

4) Use simple language and storytelling techniques

Brand storytelling is a powerful technique used by PR to communicate your message in a way that builds a relationship with your target audience. Your story should have a beginning, middle, and end, use simple language, and include the components we mentioned above: your origin story, mission, values, and goals.

Your brand story should also be:

  • Authentic and original.
  • Passionate and emotive.
  • Communicated in your unique brand voice.
  • Clear and easily digestible.
  • Backed up with employee testimonials.

5) Utilize social media to connect with potential employees

It’s likely that you’re already using social media to generate more customers. But what about using it to generate more employees?

Active job-seekers use social media to apply for jobs and gather brand information. Passive job-seekers follow brands they’re interested in on social media just in case they spot a tempting job offer. Why not use this to your advantage and promote your brand on social media?

LinkedIn is the platform most commonly used by recruiters and job seekers. And, it sources the highest-quality candidates. So, it’s a great place to start. 

8 ways to be successful with employer branding for startups

Image sourced from Jobvite.com

There are other social media channels you can use to connect with potential employees too. Wherever your target audience is, that’s where you want to be.

6) Get employees involved in your employer branding efforts

Your current employees are your brand’s most authentic voice. Their stories and opinions will resonate with your target audience more than any curated marketing message is capable of doing. 

So, involve employees in your employee branding activities by:

  • Encouraging them to provide testimonials or online reviews.
  • Asking them to share branded content and job vacancies on their own professional and personal social media channels.
  • Inviting them to networking events and career fairs where they can advocate for your brand.

You can also incentivize employees by offering benefits for sharing their experience with your company. Make sure to use payslip software to provide employees with accurate online payslips that include any monetary benefits they might receive. 

7) Be consistent with your messaging across all marketing channels

If your brand’s messages are inconsistent, potential employees aren’t going to trust in the authenticity of your company. Make sure that your messaging remains consistent across all of your marketing channels, from social media and paid ads to your website content and job board postings.

8) Track the results of your employer branding efforts

Start by establishing what your goals for employer branding are. Maybe you want to build company awareness or improve your positive reputation, or, perhaps your focus is to source high-quality talent or reduce your cost-per-hire. Once you know what you’re working towards, track whether your employer branding efforts are driving results. 

Use metrics and job-seeker/employee feedback to identify if something isn’t working. Implement the necessary changes and continue tracking your performance to see if it makes a difference.


Employer branding for startups is an integral part of PR and employee communication strategies. It puts your small business on the map for job-seekers, letting them know who you are and why they should work for you. While it comes with some challenges, an employer branding strategy can skyrocket your small business’s reputation, talent quality, and long-term overall success. 

Brian Flores
Brian is a freelance writer with extensive marketing tools and tech writing experience. His content marketing articles are widely seen in a variety of martech guides and posts.


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