What Makes a Great Employer Brand?

WRITTEN BY: Jörgen Sundberg

The organisations with great reputations as employers are those that invest in employees and build and employer value proposition (EVP) that allows them to attract talented people and retain top performers.

Some of the biggest tech firms are consistently rated as attractive to applicants – Google, Apple, Microsoft. Retail is another area where some of the big players have great reputations – M&S, John Lewis/Waitrose, and Burberry. Others consistently cited are the BBC, Rolls Royce, Virgin, BT, Unilever and PwC.

One of our favourite examples is L’Oreal, consistently honoured as one of the world’s best places to work, they took the time to develop a new EVP back in 2012, and did so by soliciting input from its employees. Aiming to continue to attract and retain top talent around the world L’Oreal developed a clear and consistent employer branding message. All employer marketing portrays the company as a thrilling experience, an inspiring company and a school of excellence

John Lewis has been in business 150 years, they are trusted brand, and since inception, their partnership model has been commended as a best practice model of employee-employer relations. Their training is second to none and staff deliver on the ‘brand promise’ with exceptional customer service and are afforded a share of the profits, and also given a say in how the business is run. John Lewis employees are encouraged to think for themselves and show initiative in dealing with customer queries.

LinkedIn’s Winning Talent research shows that a robust employer brand is a valuable asset:

  • 53 per cent of workers in the UK said they would not move to a business that has a reputation for poor job security or poor leadership, even if they were offered more money.
  • One in six UK workers, 17 per cent, would take a new job with a company offering increased job security, greater professional development opportunities, and a higher calibre of internal team, even without the offer of a pay rise.
  • UK companies with poor reputations as employers face higher wage bills and a smaller pool of candidates to choose from when hiring.

Establishing employer brand requires a holistic approach that treats employees brand ambassadors, demonstrating that the organisation practices what it preaches. Employees need to be involved in creating brand values and developing the brand narrative, it makes the whole process authentic. Use focus groups, social media, employee surveys, interviews, and primary research and analysis to engage with a broad range of internal and external stakeholders.

This data will enable the development of robust and effective employee attraction and retention strategies so that the organisation stands out as a destination employer. A key aspect that will facilitate this lies in developing clear career paths and demonstrating a dynamic working culture. Link promotion and reward via regular feedback and career development planning for an engaged and motivated workforce.

A great employer brand is one offering a clear message about the organisation and what they stand for and communicates consistently with stakeholders, raising awareness of what the organisation offers.

Here we must reiterate a point from a previous post. It is crucial that you monitor the employee brand on an ongoing basis. Find out what employees and ex-employees think, their feedback is essential in making informed decisions about what needs to change or adapt.


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