Why Leadership is Critical to Employer Brand

WRITTEN BY: Jörgen Sundberg

The strength of the leadership behind an employer branding programme is fundamental to success and a leadership culture that works collaboratively across the organization is the key to a robust employer brand strategy. Leadership sets the culture across the organization and directly impact the reality of what it is like to work for an enterprise.

You are trying to sell the organization, to get your message across about what your brand says and leadership is key. You need your employees to be excited to come to work, leadership is what makes people want to stay and it the primary cause leavers cite for their decision to move on. People may well join the organization because they perceive it as having a great employer brand but they will leave if leadership does not live up to that perception.

Morgan Hoogvelt, the Global Director of Talent Acquisition at ESAB, the largest manufacturer of welding products globally, told us that it is easy to get carried away with the ‘marketing piece’ of developing employer brand but he thinks the emphasis and focus should be on leadership: “on building authentic leaders, who can really lead and drive people and get the best out of them and treat them well, you will end up getting more productivity and keep them longer.”

An employee’s perception of authentic business leadership is the primary predictor of job satisfaction, commitment to the organization and happiness at work.

Building employer brand

Your best employees want to develop at work. They want to grow and develop within the organization, so your reputation for developing employees into leaders, managers and more, is crucial, probably the most important aspect of your employment brand.

The successful organization will build employer brand leadership capability throughout the leadership functions so the employee experience across the board is consistent with employer branding. This is underpinned with an organizational culture that affords continuous learning, empowerment, transparency, and collaboration for team members at all levels.

Your senior leadership team needs to focus on the commitment and connection the team has to your products and services so that business strategy develops great products that meet the needs of consumers while offering great careers where people want to bring their best to work.

Empower to engage

Aim to empower leaders and managers to leverage the employer brand strategy to ensure the employer brand works to source and retain the top talent. Where trust between employees and leaders is robust it improves the quality of the feedback management get regarding the employee experience, which enables further improvement of the employer brand and workplace culture.

Employer brand is a leadership imperative, not an HR initiative; managing the employee experience across the employment lifecycle is an organizational responsibility whereby the leadership team has a good awareness of the real-time employer brand rather than relying on HR to manage the employee experience and the execution of employer branding strategy.

Hoogvelt’s top tips if you want to change the organization, there are two things to focus on:

  • The reality and transparency of employer brand strategy
  • Communication and messaging of that strategy

It seems obvious that corporate culture is key here if the organization can create a culture of openness, employee advocacy, and engagement then employer brand strategies can be aligned with overall business strategy to the benefit of the whole team.


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