Are your employees proud to wear your company logo?
Good branding is hard. A company’s fortunes can be dramatically influenced by public perception of your brand. Viewed through the lens of the customer, everyone who interacts with your organisation will form an opinion, whether you agree with it or not.
Fun. Kooky. Safe. Ambitious.
These experiences can be highly subjective and are liable to change over time, adjusting to market changes or evolving public sentiment, e.g. environmentally friendly, racial inclusion. The cornerstone of many marketing strategies is a desire to improve brand development by making adjustments to their logos, social media interactions, value propositions, signage, web redesigns, etc.
While effective corporate branding is crucial, an often forgotten element of branding deserves equal attention – namely, employer branding.
What is Employer Branding?
Your employer brand is, quite simply, your reputation as an employer. It is how current and past employees, key stakeholders and job seekers see you.
What someone thinks of you is not in your control. However, if someone has a bad experience interacting with your company, you can identify the reasons and ensure that it is remedied so that the likelihood of it happening again is reduced.
Not all Employer Brands are Created Equal
To evaluate your own employer brand, it is best to take a snapshot of where you are now. There are a number of effective ways to elicit feedback about the strength of your brand, both internal and external.
To gauge opinion internally:
- Corporate workshops and brainstorming sessions
- Employee surveys. These can focus on non-financial incentives such as understanding what motivates employees as well as highlighting what may be currently missing, e.g. health insurance, remote working.
- Exit interviews. Even the best employers lose personnel. Understanding the reasons why employees leave is a valuable measuring stick to learn more about how you can improve as a business to prevent attrition in the future.
These approaches can ‘pulse-check’ the current sentiment of employees. If there are genuine reasons uncovered that could help you improve your employees’ satisfaction and their perception of you as an employer, this will increase their loyalty. Prospective employees will also benefit, and it will effectively reduce the cost and time spent seeking suitable candidates.
To measure sentiment externally:
- Customer surveys. How do they view your company? Are they happy with the service you provide? What improvements can be made?
- Job Application Process. A candidate will have multiple touchpoints with your organisation. A typical cycle could span from the initial call with recruiters, online research ahead of an interview, discussion with the relevant stakeholders, and engagement with the HR team to discuss packages and understand the company landscape. Sometimes we are blinded by our own bias. An external opinion, especially from those who subsequently do not join your company, can be revealing and offer suggestions on how to calibrate the process and hire stronger candidates.
All of the above measures are feedback. Uncomfortable, awkward and possibly inconvenient, these steps will highlight weaknesses in an employer brand and – more importantly – offer practical ways to improve as an organisation.
Be Authentic. Stay Consistent.
There are few things more frustrating as a job seeker than being hired only to find that either the role itself or the team culture promised during the job interviews fails to live up to expectations. There are ways to avoid this – Glassdoor and professional networks, like LinkedIn, enable diligent candidates to research in advance and connect with current or past employees for advice.
Promising the world and not delivering is a short-sighted and expensive mistake in talent recruitment. Recruiting can be a long, laborious – not to mention costly – process. It is crucial that companies employ an effective recruitment advertising strategy to discover the right candidate fit for their organisation. If an employer understands why a candidate should join (elicited from the feedback mentioned above), then this message should resonate in every interaction with potential employees.
While this may sound like hard work, if it comes from a place of authenticity and openness, it can help employees, candidates and customers see your brand in a new light.
Similarly, brands should be aware of their own unique selling point (USP). For example, an established household brand of 150 years will have a very different message and ethos to a young startup. Sometimes embracing a lack of experience while competing with corporate giants can work in your favour. Established doesn’t always mean better. With effective employer branding, you can influence the messaging and public perception to win hearts and minds. It is important to know your limitations, your market and what you can offer that others don’t.
At Proactive, we can help you find your voice. We have over 25 years’ experience working with employers – large and small – to tease out ways in which they can improve their branding and develop long standing relationships with their customers and staff.
Over the next few weeks we will be releasing a series of articles and case studies on how we have helped clients to create a strong and enduring employer brand. We will be covering the following crucial elements:
- Develop an aspirational mission statement – the purpose of your company
- Create an authentic value statement – the way you do business
- Share your core values – common beliefs that all employees can relate to
- Instil a strong culture – employee-focused statements and mottos
- Authentic recruitment campaigns – be aspirational but don’t over-promise
- Invest in your onboarding communications – first impressions are key to staff retention
- Show value to your team – staff newsletters, incentive schemes, internal branding
To learn more about how we can help, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org