Developing an Employer Brand Strategy

WRITTEN BY: Jörgen Sundberg

The CIPD points out that the way an organisation operates drives its employer brand, helping to attract and retain talented people who want to be part of a great place to work, and who will in turn thrive in the business. There is strong evidence as to how organisational culture and the workplace environment influence the quality of our work, working and productivity.

Unless your workforce is made up exclusively of workaholic star players, identifying and attracting talent is a corporate imperative. Employees know whether or not you provide a great place to work, but how effective are communications with potential staff?

An organisation needs to demonstrate a strong culture and values in every aspect of the HR process from job adverts through the interview and decision-making process. In essence, a strong employer brand should connect organisational values, personnel strategy and HR policies and be aligned with the overall company brand.

Smart organisations invest in the employer brand because it enhances organisational performance in the key areas of recruitment, retention, engagement and ultimately productivity and profitability.

A strategic approach

Research by the SHRM on employer branding found that organisational culture is a key variable in sourcing and retaining talent. Employees join and stay when they identify with the organisational mission, vision and values. It is cultural fit that either attracts or repels candidates and employees.

  • Listen to employees – focus groups, engagement surveys, advocacy programmes, exit interviews will all provide insight as to the employee experience. This data allows the effective promotion of the organisation to new talent and the areas where the organisation is perceived positively by employees. Be prepared for negative feedback too, and encourage constructive suggestions as to where improvements might be made.
  • Showcase your brand – successful organisations demonstrate strong values and robust HR strategies on which to base employer branding strategy. Focus on and define the audience, profile hiring parameters around attraction, retention and engagement then decide how the brand represents the organisation to stakeholders.
  • Spread the message – use website, intranet, social media, job adverts, employee advocacy to communicate with stakeholders; be sure to align the employer brand with the overall company brand, consistency is important.
  • Measure progress – develop relevant metrics to assess and track the success of the employer brand, this may include quality of hire, brand awareness, employee satisfaction, employee referrals or other measures.

In essence, the employer brand reflects how the organisation wants prospective and current employees to see the company. So, use the data gathered to develop a strong employer brand and see rewards in terms of improved retention, productivity and employee satisfaction, ultimately reflected in savings for the bottom line.

Don’t rest on your laurels. Monitor and maintain employer brand efforts; as the economic environment changes so adjustments and new initiatives may be necessary. Pay attention to the great reputation you build and nurture it. It is easier to acquire a bad reputation than it is to get rid of it.


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