If you decide to work with an agency you need to articulate a clear proposition, to have identified the essence of what the organisation is and its employee value proposition. Then you can promote the brand’s distinctive features, values and personality to your target audience.
Armed with a branding proposition you can work with a branding agency and your corporate comms and marketing people to devise a strategy that will facilitate the evolution of the employer brand; as the brand develops the organisation can adjust the strategy and plan for future development.
Before you start designing your project it’s important to establish a robust dataset of baseline metrics for the brand so as to make comparisons and evaluations as the project rolls out. Maintenance and measurement are crucial to the success of the brand initiative; the most useful data to collect is likely to be:
- Recruitment advertising spend – online and print media, preferably for specific sites and titles
- Data on premature leavers – any departure before the individual concerned has delivered the kind of performance that repays your investment in their training and development
- Expenditure on recruitment consultants
- Number of spontaneous applications and enquiries about employment and referrals from existing staff
- Ratio of acceptances to offers – a key signifier of candidate expectation and experience
With a baseline to reference you can then embark on research, design and communication of your employer brand. There’s more to employer branding than a snappy mission statement and revitalising your brand could mean a lot of work on top of the day job so you need to budget for time, effort and resources.
There are agencies and specialists out there helping to build employer brands, if you decide to work with a partner choose one who will understand the very specific issues, challenges and opportunities facing your employer brand. All have their own formula and approach and should have staff with the specialist experience to fine-tune your proposition.
In order to select against the right criteria ask some searching questions of the short-listed agencies. Ask to see case studies and detailed metrics that demonstrate the ROI on recent projects, ask to talk to other clients, then check:
- How does the agency define employer brand development?
- Will there be a specific brand consultant who will lead the project? What is their experience and track record?
- How big is the research department?
Armed with this research, your budget and proposition, you can work on a clear and consistent brand identity, designing the messages and tools that enable the promotion of your unique employer brand. Check your messages against employee understanding, use internal testing to ensure the messaging makes the impact you intend. Employees are all potential brand advocates so ensure that you communicate the planned change to staff, if they are to ‘live’ the brand it must be congruent with your organisational culture and image.
For a successful employer branding project the agency needs to get under the skin of how an organisation works. An Fast Company article claims that “good branding is equal parts art and science” the value of a branding agency lies in their ability to offer fresh perspectives on your organisation’s brand and culture. At Link Humans we help employers define their EVP, build digital properties around it and activate recruitment marketing campaigns on video, social, web and mobile.
Developing and promulgating an employer brand is aimed at improving organisational performance in the key business areas of recruitment, retention, engagement and the bottom line. In other words it’s a long-term investment in enhancing recruitment marketing outcomes.