Companies looking to attract and retain talent that can help sharpen the competitive edge must pay more attention to how they are perceived as employers, according to branding agency uberbrand.
Embedding the brand message into employees is key to driving any brand’s success and attracting the right candidates.
“Your brand is not what you say it is, rather it’s what people think of you,” said Dan Ratner, CEO, uberbrand. “To live the brand means having your people share an understanding of who you are, where you are going and why. Ultimately, your team must reflect your brand’s values, which will translate into better service and value for your customers.
“Creating this kind of environment also means you will entice attractive employees. The race for talent is not slowing down and companies must make sure they are portraying a positive workplace for future employees. Businesses, particularly those that rely on specialised skill sets, need to stand out from the crowd in terms of offering a fulfilling and rewarding workplace. Financial rewards and other perks are not enough to keep employees interested and loyal.
The employer brand belongs to employees. It is their collective perception of what it is like to work at a company and, in the age of social media, there are myriad opportunities for employees to share their experiences. This can make it difficult for organisations to control their employer brand.
“It’s easy for a company to say it offers a work-life balance but if it doesn’t deliver on that promise then the brand will take a hit. On the other hand, if employees at that company genuinely feel that they can achieve a work-life balance then the employer brand will reflect that, making it a more attractive option for job-seekers.”
uberbrand has identified six key steps to building and promoting the employer brand:
1. Understand your audience
The employer brand will vary according to a variety of factors such as the organisation’s industry, operating procedures, types of skills needed, trends in the industry, competitor activity and much more. Before trying to define how the brand translates for the employee, it is vital to understand what the ideal employee is likely to be looking for in a role. In some organisations global travel and state-of-the-art technology might be an important factor, while in others it might be a family-friendly environment and regular hours are key. A mismatched employer brand can lead to an organisation recruiting the wrong types of people.
2. Define your employee value proposition (EVP)
The EVP is a measure of what employees get out of working for an organisation. It explains what the organisation delivers to its employees and what it expects in return. While it can include benefits such as ongoing training opportunities. It could also include cultural factors such as a thriving social life. Much like a business’s unique selling proposition (USP), the EVP must be unique, relevant and compelling in order to drive candidates’ interest in the company.
Setting the EVP includes articulating why employees benefit working at their. It should inform the unique policies, processes and programs that demonstrate the organisation’s commitment to certain values. And it should be lived every day by the employees so that it becomes an entrenched part of the employer brand.
3. Get leadership buy-in
Culture starts at the top so it’s essential that the company leaders fully support the employer brand. They must be willing to put policies in place for things like working from home, bring-your-own-device options, flexible hours, flexible teams, special projects, bonuses and any other aspects of the employer brand that are likely to appeal to key candidates.
4. Communicate the brand
Strong communication with existing employees is critical to living the employer brand. If employees are told explicitly what kind of workplace the business wants to offer, and this is backed up by actions, then the employee is more likely to agree with the company regarding the employer brand. They will reflect this in their own comments about their workplace, helping to cement the employer brand.
5. Pique their imagination
Companies that make it easy for candidates to imagine themselves working there have an advantage over their competitors. When candidates can get a taste of the company culture through blog posts, videos, photos and LinkedIn accounts of employees, it is then a very easy decision for them to sign a contract. However, it is essential to project a realistic view of working at the organisation rather than an ideal view, since new hires that feel duped are likely to move on quickly, creating costly staff turnover.
6. Live up to expectations – become an employer of choice
Organisations that live up to their promises and deliver a consistent experience to employees will develop a strong employer brand versus businesses that fail to deliver according to expectations. Organisations with a strong employer brand will find it easier to both attract and retain top talent.