Brand is important. Companies spend a lot of time and money trying to create great brand images for their customers but often forget the importance of their brand as an employer.
What is the Value of an Employer Brand?
As the job market improves companies are going to have to fight for the best talent rather than the other way around. You’re competing with popular and attractive companies. While there are plenty of ways to convince candidates, your employer brand is one of your most powerful tools.
We wrote recently about hiring for culture rather than skill. Even if you value skills above all else, the importance of culture fit when recruiting is undeniable. By having a clear company culture you encourage the right people to apply in the first place and are more likely to hire the right person for the job.
Organisational culture can be a big factor in staff turnover. By making sure your culture is clear from the outset, the right people for the job are going to stay longer and reduce the considerable cost of staff turnover.
People talk about their jobs. News of good employee experiences can spread, bad experiences can spread wide and fast. Virgin hit the news recently with their unlimited holiday for staff, Google is renowned for their lavish offerings but McDonalds has to constantly fight against the stereotype of ‘flipping burgers’.
What are the steps to developing an employer brand?
1. Discover Your Current Brand
Do research into how people perceive you as an employer. This should include multiple stakeholders, not just your target demographic - applicants will frequently ask their friends, family or teachers for their thoughts on a company.
2. Build a New, Clear Picture
Use your research to analyse what your strengths and weaknesses are. From this, create a clear picture of what your organisation stands for and what it offers/requires of its employees.
3. Put it into Practice
Take your new, improved brand and apply it to the whole organisation.
4. Measure, Maintain and Optimise
Look at the effect your new brand has had. Make sure it is being implemented properly and make any necessary changes.
What else to consider when creating an employer brand?
There are two ways you need to keep your employment brand consistent: it needs to match the reality of your company culture and it needs to match your existing public brand image. If you paint a picture of casual dress, flexible hours and perks galore when the reality is 9-5, suited and booted then you’re going to attract the wrong people.
Segment or Homogenise?
Everybody has differences and, particularly in large organisations, you may wish to nurture different cultures in different areas. Maybe your sales department likes the traditional, formal nature of work and commission is all the benefit they need. On the other hand your technical department may compare their roles with the likes of Silicon Valley and want more job perks and flexible conditions. This can create stronger cultures within your organisation but risks creating divides between departments. There is also a risk of stereotyping which can put people off.
A Change in Culture?
This process can lead you to want to improve your company culture and so make it more easily branded and marketed. This can be great but you also need to keep your current employees close in mind. Even minor culture change can be a big deal to staff so make sure you communicate the whole process and ask for their input before implementing anything.