the unwritten or psychological contract

Employer branding isn’t just about recruitment. Research indicates that a positive employer brand can enhance employee engagement, increase loyalty and reduce staff turnover.

Within the workforce, the employer brand is strongly influenced by what is known as the ‘psychological contract’. This goes beyond the physical contract to what your employees believe the relationship between you and them to be. This is shaped in job interviews, meetings, custom and practice. Key determinants include: 

  • the use of skills
  • quality of management
  • support for career development 
  • care taken over the working environment 

It’s also important to recognise that this is a two-way process that includes how employees behave and support their employer’s objectives.

Making this work requires an honest and mature relationship between you and your employees. Economic realities mean that you may not be able to offer the levels of pay that many people might want, for example. ‘Pay: not the only reward’ in chapter 15 shows how you can communicate the organisation’s benefit package. Another option is to offer training and guidance that will improve employees’ career prospects. ‘Identifying and analysing learning needs ‘ in chapter 9 sets out how to implement learning and professional development in your organisation. 

A psychological contract and the underlying employer brand that is built around long-term job security will not be relevant to temporary workers, who may only be with you for a few days. But you can make sure they are welcomed into the team and can gain experience that will improve their ability to secure the next assignment when they leave. And they become yet another channel through which your employer brand can be transmitted, as they move between companies, relating their impressions of your organisation.

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