Employer Brand vs. Employee Experience

WRITTEN BY: Jörgen Sundberg

Employer brand describes an employer’s reputation as a place to work, and their employee value proposition, as opposed to the more general corporate brand reputation and value proposition to customers. The organisation that creates a robust employer brand will be well placed to attract the best applicants.

In contrast, the employee experience encapsulates what people encounter, observe or feel throughout their employee journey at an organisation. That is to say, what it is actually like to work for the organisation rather than the picture you present of the organisation.

Canadian research this year revealed that one of the biggest areas of focus for CHROs across North America is building more consistent employee experiences. In fact, research reveals that 58 per cent of leaders are looking for their employer brand strategy to improve the employee experience and drive employee engagement.

Meeting expectations

If your employer brand is robust, authentic and honest, then it will serve well in attracting the right talent. If, however, there is a disconnect between what you offer and what employees find when they join the organisation then you will run into problems – the Harvard Business Review indicates that nearly 80 per cent of employee turnover is a result of poor hiring decisions. The CIPD explains the consequences of an unsatisfactory employee experience: “newcomers experience a disconnect between what they assumed (or were led to believe) working your organisation would feel like, and what they actually discover”.

View the employer brand as marketing, outlining the benefits that employees might expect from working for the organisation. A robust recruitment strategy will build on the employer-employee relationship and strive to differentiate itself from the competition. According to research, a well-managed employer brand attracts 3.5 more applicants per job. It also reduces the cost-per-hire by 50%.

This is what Jacob Morgan, author, speaker and futurist says about how the world of work is changing. He told us that what you should aim to achieve in creating a positive employee experience is “that people are going to want to show up to work. They’ll genuinely feel excited and engaged about it”.

Our number one piece of advice is: focus on defining what employees want their employment experience to be, and ensure it becomes the day to day reality for those employees. This is important because if employees don’t feel they can advocate for the organisation, if they are not proud to say they work for the organisation, the likelihood is that they’ll tell people about their bad employment experiences.

Alignment and consistency

So focus on creating alignment between anticipated and actual employee experience. This requires planned, consistent messages, style, and tone throughout the recruitment process, induction and early employment, setting realistic expectations about what it means to work for the organisation, and what it will actually be like on a daily basis.

You can’t ignore employee experience because nobody else will, the prevalence of social media with regards to the employer brand is significant, communications are always “on”, so it is imperative to align the employee experience with stated values, mission statement, and recruitment offer. Corporate Responsibility Magazine / Allegis Group Services found that 69% would not take a job with a company that had a bad reputation, even if they were unemployed! So managing reputation internally and externally is a given.

The focus of the employer brand is to positively influence current and prospective employees so as to attract loyal and high-potential employees. Employer branding is predicated on the assumption that human capital adds value to the organisation, and the more distinctive the employer brand, the greater the brand value.


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