five steps to a compelling employer brand

How can your organisation maximise, articulate and communicate the strength of its employer brand? By understanding the values that drive employees and championing those which align with your company’s goals.

step one: get buy-in from the leadership team

The leadership team will need to determine the ‘give’ and ‘get’ of the employee value proposition (EVP) as set out in ‘employee value proposition: the employer brand taking shape’ in chapter 2. Following a repositioning of the organisation’s EVP, you can then answer the questions: what is required from the employer branding strategy, how to align this with your mission, values, and culture and demonstrate that the appropriate behaviours are being applied.

step two: gauge where you are and where you want to be

It’s important to define a starting point for judging strengths and weaknesses, against which to measure progress. You could start with quantitative research and focus groups looking at what attracts people, what deters them and what could be improved. This would include staff and candidates.

Having asked candidates what they think about the organisation, it is especially useful to follow this up if they subsequently join. This might be at the annual performance review where you can judge whether the perception has been borne out and how the brand could be improved and brought closer to reality. It’s also important to talk to suppliers and hold exit interviews with people who are leaving. Even at this early stage, communication is vital: you will need to explain to these audiences what conclusions you have drawn from their feedback and what you are going to do with the information they have given you. If a candidate declined to join but has commented on social media or provided feedback through a channel that you organised, provide a resource to log those findings.

With this baseline in place, you can then judge what you want to be renowned for. This is the quality that will be at the heart of marketing the organisation to the candidates you wish to attract. Secondly, it will define the other attributes that are important, including the corporate values that will help to shape the perception of the organisation internally and externally.

step three: identify the gaps between where you are and where you want to be

This can be a disheartening process. In the past, it has even led some organisations to abandon the branding initiative. But you need to be aware of the gaps and be working to address them. You cannot opt out of having an employer brand, you can only opt out of actively managing it.

step four: identify what can be done to bridge the gaps

By encouraging all employees to voice their opinions and, where possible, take control of resolving the issues raised, you harness their active support in bridging the gaps in the employer brand. Some of the resolutions identified in step four will be easy to implement. Others will become projects in their own right and will need to be backed by clear project plans, measurable milestones, and executive sponsorship.

step five: take the employer brand to market

As you go out to the market, it will be important to appoint employer brand ambassadors and encourage other employees to spread the word through their online and social media profiles.

To judge progress, it’s important to develop reliable metrics that measure the return on investment from your employer brand strategy. Metrics may relate to cost per hire, fulfillment, satisfaction with line managers, honesty, and values – these will vary depending on the organisation in question.

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