In today’s increasingly transparent job market, smart companies are re-aligning their talent acquisition strategy. Rather than focusing their efforts outwards, they’re focusing inward.

Why? With websites like Glassdoor and Indeed giving job seekers a window into what it’s actually like to work in a company, top candidates are no longer solely basing their decisions on salaries and company revenue/financials. This shift means that employers need to make their company attractive inside and out, especially to Millennials.

Employer branding counts

Branding is not only used to attract clients, but also as a strategic method to attract the right employees. Top companies know that creating a strong company culture, based on values unique to their organizational purpose and vision, will help attract the best candidates.

Think about the messages companies bake into their mission, purpose and marketing strategies. They tell potential hires what to expect from a company’s work environment and priorities, allowing them to “job shop” for careers that fit their personality and ideals, along with their professional skills.

[Related: Employers, learn how you can fine-tune your recruiting strategy to attract the best and brightest college graduates]

For Millennials, a job is not just a source of income, but a part of their social and active lives. Accenture’s 2015 College Graduate Employment Study found that 59 percent of recent graduates would prefer to work in a company with a positive social atmosphere over a place with a higher salary. Another 52 percent would forgo some compensation to work at a company with an impressive commitment to the environment or the social impact of its products and services.

Consider the employer branding messages these top companies promote and what they reflect to candidates:

Zappos: “Keep things weird.” No straight-laced hierarchies, a collegial environment.

Google: “Do cool things that matter.” Use your creativity to work on groundbreaking products.

Patagonia: “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” Social and environmental sustainability are a key concern in our business decisions.

Here are three ways your company develop a strong employer brand that impresses and delivers top talent.

1. Reinforcing values

To create a strong brand, it’s essential to reinforce company values on a daily basis. The companies noted above boast workforces that live and breathe their values, reinforced by regular feedback, starting Day 1.

For example, Zappos follows an organizational structure that emphasizes autonomy over direct management. Collaboration and knowledge sharing among peers is a key component to Google’s success. Patagonia allows its employees to take up to two months time off to work with environmental non-profits.

The great thing about employer branding is that it doesn’t just attract top talent, but also the right talent. In fact, hiring for company culture fit was identified as a top priority for 80 percent of hiring managers in a recent survey.

Given the importance that recent graduates place on work environment and culture, hiring for culture fit can also help safeguard your company against turnover.

2. Development opportunities

Helping your workforce continuously learn and develop is the number one thing a company can do to attract new talent. More responsibilities, stretch assignments and a chance to test out new ideas are a few ways to attract ambitious and motivated new recruits.

Accenture’s 2015 College Graduate Employment Study noted 77 percent of respondents expected their first employer to provide formal training, but only 53 percent received any. At the same time, Millennials, more so than any other generation, have a strong aversion to steep hierarchies and micromanagement. The takeaway? Give employees regular feedback, more autonomy and room to grow without being too hands-on.

More and more companies are also realizing that, while hiring for culture fit may leave them with a more limited talent pool in terms of technical skill, formal and informal coaching can turn new hires with potential into valuable, long-term employees. According to CareerBuilder, 35 percent of employers trained low-skill workers and hired them for high-skill jobs in 2015.

3. Employee wellbeing

Caring about the wellbeing of employees is one of the most important ways to make your company attractive to new talent. Fair wages and health benefits are a given, but companies are looking to expand these benefits by giving employees more freedom to choose when and how they get their work done, e.g., working remotely.

Netflix, for example, has become famous for giving employees the freedom to take unlimited vacation, with the philosophy that it’s the results that count, not counting days off. Creating a more responsible culture allows Netflix to offer this autonomy to its employees.

According to a survey by Deloitte 75 percent of Millennials feel more productive when working from home or other locations, but only 43% are given this option. In the AfterCollege 2015 Career Insight survey, 68 percent of recent graduates agreed that the ability to work remotely part of the time had an impact on their decision to accept a new position. Out of The Center for Generational Kinetics’ “Best Places to Work for Millennials” list, 73 percent offer flextime or compressed work weeks.

These work arrangements require giving employees more responsibility over their own agenda. For managers, the most critical challenge working with remote teams is frequent communication and feedback, especially alignment with company goals and strategies, to maintain a sense of connectedness.

In summary

Whether you’re an innovation-focused tech company or a service-oriented startup, a strong company brand, development opportunities and flexible work options are essential to attract young, talented employees. In turn, consistent feedback (from regular coaching to peer-to-peer collaboration) is key to both reinforcing company culture and giving those employees employees more autonomy to do better work.

For more insight into recruiting Millennials, download our Resourceful Recruiter’s Guide to Recruiting College Grads.

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Matias does communications at impraise, a web-based and mobile solution for real-time feedback at work.

Originally published at on June 21, 2016.

Originally published at