The benefits of building an incredible employer brand are evident in every great business.
With a great brand, it’s easier to identify and recruit great talent. It’s easier to train, motivate and align employees to your values and business goals. It becomes easier to build a more productive workforce with cultural alignment. And it’s easier to keep great people too.
The CIPD 2008 guide 'A no nonsense approach to employer brand', define employer brand as '...a set of attributes and qualities, often intangible, that make an organisation distinctive, promises a particular kind of employment experience, and appeals to those people who will thrive and perform best in its culture'.
But what does it take to build an incredible employer brand? Here’s our top tips to get you started and keep you on track;
1. Understand where you are today
There’s no use pulling the wool over your eyes. The leaders in your business might not understand the reality of their current situation (and that includes you if you own the business). You need to discover what the people in your business think and feel and you need them to be honest. Without a solid foundation (the good, the bad and the ugly) you can’t start to build that all important employer brand.
Tip: Try using an anonymous employee feedback platform like ours!
2. Find out what makes you special
Let’s assume you’ve hired some people and you have some customers. Some people think you’re at least ‘good enough’ or else you’d have neither. Find out how you attracted both and what attributes have made them stay. Whatever the reasons, you’re obviously doing well so start here as your basis for improvement.
3. Define your employer vision and values
Your company vision will align your people towards a common goal. Your values are the personal attributes you need from each person to deliver the vision. Think about the attributes you value from your best employees.
You can co-create values with your team. Then publish them on your website and make them visible so that people become familiar with them and can live and breathe them every day. Basing all your interview questions, review questions and reward structures around your values, will create a team that performs every day.
4. Make sure your employees are your biggest advocates
All your efforts are wasted if your existing employees don't sing the same tune. Authenticity comes from your employees being the strongest advocates of your employer brand. The best companies do this by bringing their employees into the conversation. This is known as employee voice. Providing an anonymous platform for free speech and constructive feedback is proven to build a better business.
If employees see real change based on their feedback, then they keep offering it. They also become more bought into the vision they are helping to create. This takes time but technology can play a huge part in this and help build more trust. Similarly using an external party to gather feedback can often be seen as a more trustworthy method too.
5. Speak to Marketing
Marketing is responsible for your customer facing brand. It goes without saying that they might know a bit about brand and promotion. Bring your marketing team into the conversation. Worst case scenario is that it helps you get the correct brand assets you need.
Best case scenario is that your tactics align and efforts from both teams drive better outcomes for each other. You should treat your employer brand with the same love as you treat your company brand. Also consider how weird it looks if your messages aren't aligned.
6. Develop a great narrative
Building a great communication plan is vital to getting your message heard. Again your marketing team can help with this. Your audience needs to relate to it and it needs to be approachable. The tone of voice is vital, as is the alignment with your company values.
Then think about how you intend to promote it. There are lots of ways to do this but social media is a great way to get maximum exposure. Choose the platforms where your prospective employees hang out to make sure effort is not wasted. This will also allow your current employees to interact and support you.
7. Treat every applicant like a customer
When the applicants come forward treat them with the respect that they deserve. They’ve gone out of their way to respond to your job advert and they’re a lot more nervous about approaching you than you are about speaking to them. They should enjoy the process and feel like their time and effort is valued. They should feel that the interview process is a two-way street and that they can interview you.
If unsuccessful their experience should be one that they would repeat and recommend. If successful their onboarding experience should be memorable, welcoming and enjoyable. In short, they should be treated with a high level of attention (like every customer is) because you want them to stay and thrive.
8. Be honest about your reputation
And finally, don’t get wrapped up in your success. Track it by reviewing the key performance metrics that matter. This could include application rates, employee feedback scores, eNPS scores or employee retention scores. Great brands can fail if left unloved. So too can great employer brands. Don’t become a victim of your success. Work at this every day and it will be the gift that keeps on giving.