Exec Insights: For employer brand, start with the why


The importance of asking ‘why’ when it comes to creating an employer brand

It’s no secret that without the right culture and people, even the best businesses will struggle in today’s market.

Now more than ever, the power of choice is in candidates’ hands and without the right culture, your chances of attracting the right people are minimised.

In a recent article on HRM Online, the issue of employer branding was raised, with the details of a company that had attracted new recruits with craft beers and private jets.

But the business case for that approach makes little sense to me.

I believe an exercise in establishing an employer brand should always start with...why?

Creating an employer brand - always ask why

The answer to the question of “why” should filter down from your ultimate definition of success.

If, as a basic example, a company goal is to increase sales, the best strategy to get there may well be to provide the ultimate customer service.

And if the ultimate customer service is driven by good and consistent delivery, then you will require a culture of alignment and the right people to drive it.  

Recognising the links between each element of the business, no matter how dispersed they may feel, is critical to creating an organic, positive, and honest image for your organisation.

Four common pitfalls

There are four common pitfalls companies fall into when creating their employer brand:

1. Being sheep

Want to stand out from your competitors when looking for the best talent? Do something different! Acknowledge the differences from one person to the next and don’t assume that expensive perks will be enough to attract the right people.

2. Trying to be something you’re not

If you try to create an image of your organisation that is a far cry from the reality, the chances are that candidates will either see straight through it, or quickly look for other options when they join. Just be authentic.

3. Not ensuring employee buy-in

Authenticity is obviously easiest when the culture created is not limited to the exec team but is reflected by all staff. Ensure your employees are aligned with the values that guide your brand and, ultimately, the service you deliver clients. If you don’t, the service will falter and your staff will leave.

4. Allowing departments to work in silos

Of particular importance in this discussion are the c-suite, marketing, sales and HR departments. But all too often, these teams that inform the appearance of a brand to various stakeholders, work independently. Discourage this approach as quickly as possible to ensure the consistency and authenticity outlined above.

In a nutshell - an employer brand means nothing unless it’s an accurate reflection of your two, most important assets - people and culture.

Design a system for creating and carrying the image you want for your organisation from talent attraction through to customer service and you will see a positive impact on business performance, in terms of both employee and customer attrition.

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