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What's in a brand?

All organisations have an employer brand – it’s whether they choose to manage and develop it that is key.

Here we dip our toe into the world of employer branding as we think this is just as important to invest in as a consumer brand as the two are intrinsically interlinked.

What is an employer brand?

The ability to attract and retain the best talent in the market is essential for any organisation.

An employer brand refers to the perceptions key stakeholders, and more specifically current and potential employees, have of an organisation.

It is about how they view the organisation; from how it conducts itself, through to what they think it would be like to work for the organisation. An effective employer brand presents your organisation as a good employer and can help with recruitment, retention and generally affect (for the better) the market perception of an organisation.

Employer branding is therefore about effectively communicating an organisation’s values, personality and culture to create the desired perceptions.

Employer branding affects every touch point the organisation has with the employee, starting with the recruitment and on-boarding process. It then extends to every aspect of their employment including; training and development, support networks, the development of career paths, benefits and incentives, right through to their exit from the organisation and beyond.

A well-rounded, compelling employer brand will consider all stages of the employee lifecycle:  

1. Attracting new talent

In this era of information at the finger tips it’s highly likely a potential applicant will research your organisation, whether looking at the careers section of your website or tapping into the experiences of others on social networking sites, so it’s crucial the information you provide, or the experiences of others, support your core messages.

By understanding existing perceptions and the people you are trying to attract you can also create a more compelling case for you as an employer.

2. Interviewing and on-boarding

The interview process is a prime opportunity to reinforce your employer brand so make sure your interviewers live and breathe your brand values. An interviewer who is negative, unprofessional or ill-prepared will not only give the wrong impression of the organisation but could also determine whether the interviewee chooses to accept a job offer or not.

Once you’ve found the right person and they’ve accepted a job offer, your attention should quickly turn to the on-boarding process. Ignore this crucial part of the recruitment process and you could find yourself back at square one and losing the candidate. You should reinforce your employer brand prior to the new employee’s start date via a thorough induction to ensure the reality of the organisation matches the brand they’ve bought into.

3. Retaining your best talent

A strong employer brand isn’t just for attracting new talent, it also provides a compelling reason for your current employees to stay with your organisation.

Your employer brand should be reinforced regularly; employees need to be reminded of the qualities that first attracted them to the organisation. More importantly though you need to deliver on the brand promises, whether through reward and recognition, training and development or a clearly defined career path. Brand reputation is built on perceptions that are matched by the actual experience of engaging with the brand.

4. The long goodbye

There will always be a level of natural turnover within an organisation but just because you’re saying goodbye to a current employee doesn’t mean your relationship is over.

If they have a strong connection to your brand, leavers can remain some of your best brand ambassadors – if their exit is dealt with well. Exit interviews are often a good way to gain further insight into your employer brand and perceptions within the organisation, whilst demonstrating to leavers that their views are valued.

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