The starting point for employer branding is the identity of the organisation, the collective, commonly shared understanding of the organisation’s distinctive values and characteristics.
Employer branding involves designing an action plan consistent with the identity of the organisation. The objective is to build the image of the organisation as one which cares about the interests and needs of employees, investing in their development, as well as watching and responding to trends in the marketplace.
We operate in an environment which is constantly changing, often unpredictable and employers need to seize every opportunity for competitive advantage. Globalisation and technological change mean employer branding is generally built on a transnational scale, in particular for those for whom talent management is a pressing priority. A strong employer brand is associated with enhanced attraction and higher than average employee engagement that ultimately contributes to better financial results.
Three steps to success
We might characterise employer branding as a three step process:
- The articulation of an employer brand that represents the employee value proposition, one which communicates how the organisation is seen and experienced by employees, job candidates and other stakeholders.
- External marketing of employer brand whereby the organisation directs the branding message to the labour market for candidates, recruitment agencies and other target groups. This will include a range of research techniques to map where to find and target talent.
- Internal marketing – aimed at developing human resources and assets, which will align with the values and objectives set by the organisation.
At a time when leaders are increasingly focused on organisational culture as a driver of competitive advantage the employer branding strategy is a means by which to ensure behaviours match aspirations.
HR have a key role in employer branding in terms of raising awareness of the employer brand, from organisational reputation to employee experience in the workplace, however, a strong employer brand is not simply the responsibility of HR staff. This should be a team effort, top down, from leadership and including human resources alongside finance, operations, marketing and other functions which emphasises the long-term benefits of strong employer branding and the impact on efficiency and productivity.
The CIPD points out that there are reasons why employer branding initiatives don’t meet expectations. There are two big issues: first, how joined up an organisation is in its approach, and second the reality of how brands actually play out inside organisations.
Satisfaction and service levels
A successful employment brand makes a positive effect on organisational culture in increasing employee satisfaction and morale. Research suggests an established correlation between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction, so employer branding can enhance customer service levels and customer satisfaction, reinforcing economic value.
The aim should be a culture in which all employees act as ambassador or advocate for the brand. For this to be achievable the organisation needs to build the fundamental basis of a robust employer brand – a culture that encourages, evaluates, and rewards the development and sharing of best practice. Best practice that others want to learn from and emulate.
A successful employer brand reaches beyond the boardroom to establish confidence, loyalty, and enthusiasm throughout the whole organisation. Our key advice for building a strong employer brand – focus on authenticity, engagement and transparency.