Employer brand is everything. It’s your website, recruitment page, Glass Door reviews, LinkedIn pages, the salary and benefits package you offer, testimonials and sustainability policy. With many companies competing for the best talent, you want to give your business the greatest chance of winning and keeping these people.
That’s what we’re experts at – unlocking growth through people and we’d love to chat through how we could help your business to grow more quickly by attracting, developing and retaining the best people.
A successful employer brand can help you attract the right people into your business, but building one requires your marketing and HR experts to work together – as Lynn Morrison, HR Director with People Puzzles, and Lindsay Ball, Marketing Director with The Marketing Centre, explain
“So many businesses have a website focused on winning clients, but nothing about the offering to employees”
“When it comes to employer branding and marketing, both have to be authentic and reflect who you are”
What is an employer brand and why is it important?
Lynn Morrison: An employer brand is a business’s offering to people as opposed to its offering to clients. It should reflect who you are and what you are about as a business, above and beyond the job titles and salaries.
Lindsay Ball: An employer brand is particularly important when it comes to prospective employees who are looking from the outside in. It’s an employee’s market at the moment, so businesses need to brand themselves as an attractive employer.
How does it differ to a company brand?
Lindsay: In my opinion, there is no difference! An employer brand should be a key part of the company brand. After all, the exterior company brand is what prospective employees see before anything else. So many businesses have a website focused on winning clients, but nothing about the offering to employees – and yet that is the first place a prospective employee will look.
Lynn: You can’t have your external customer marketing over here and your employer value proposition over there – they must tie in with each other.
So much for the theory… how does it work in practice?
Lynn: I worked with a manufacturing company that was struggling to recruit. It had a high reputation in the trade and was highly rated by the staff who worked there, but none of that was known to the public. They were also advertising for a ‘machine operator’ which sounded like a dead-end job, despite it being a skilled role. So I worked with the managers to market the job better as a skilled position in a highly respected company with a great culture.
Lindsay: Image can be a problem in some industries. Carers, for example, are difficult to recruit and in short supply at the moment – many people do it because it’s a vocation. So you have to capture how they feel about their role and use that feeling to attract others. I helped a client in the care industry to make their employees feel more highly valued. Whilst the core practical needs of flexible hours, travel-timed pay and joining bonus were imperative, the real hook was in promoting the emotional rewards to this great service. We identified the emotional levers that motivate a carer and reflected those qualities in the recruitment campaign.
Attracting candidates through the power of ‘why’
Lindsay: Some companies have to recruit according to what they want to become rather than who they are at the time of recruiting. As brand guru, Simon Sinek says, ‘People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it’. I’ve worked successfully with growing businesses that valued bright and enthusiastic self-starters over specific skills and a desire for stability. We would ask candidates, ‘How do you self-motivate when there’s no-one to hold your hand?’ and ‘How do you feel about change?’ Both are of growing importance with home working.
Lynn: Skills can be trained but you can’t teach drive and initiative. That comes with the individual, but it’s so often missing in job descriptions. Job descriptions are so boring sometimes! You might get someone in who can do the job perfectly well – but if they don’t have the right attitude, it can go wrong.
Other benefits of an employer brand
Lindsay: It’s mutually beneficial when marketing and HR work together on brand culture. HR can help to engage staff with a new marketing strategy, and marketing can help embed a new working culture in the business. If employees live the brand values, they will bring them to wherever you have a touch point with people, whether it’s your shop floor or your call centre. At the end of the day, the best promoter you have is your staff… and it costs nothing!
Lynn: When it comes to employer branding and marketing, both have to be authentic and reflect who you are. Then you can say to prospective employees why you’re the right company for them while being honest and realistic about the job’s prospects. It’s win-win when it works but lose-lose when it doesn’t.
Top tips to drive your employer brand
- Create a space to enable marketing and HR to work together on brand culture
- When recruiting, consider what aspects of the role or your business are likely to attract the right applicants
- Ensure that your employee brand aligns with your external customer brand
- Be authentic and make sure that both reflect who you are!