Put simply, your employer brand is your reputation as an employer – good, bad or in between. Organisations with a good employer brand are the ones that consistently attract and retain the best talent, even though they don’t necessarily pay the highest salaries.
Your employer brand is more than just the perks you offer, like a funky office environment, tasty office snacks or a ping pong table. Perks make coming to work easier but they aren’t going to keep people working for you and they aren’t what sets you apart from other employers.
Your employer brand stems from the authenticity and strength of your organisational culture, values and mission, as well as the opportunities you offer employees, like incentives, flexible working arrangements, training, leadership development, charity involvement and mentoring programs.
But why does this all matter?
Industries like IT, mining, construction, engineering, financial services and professional services are all experiencing shortages of skilled workers. In such a tough labour market you need to use every competitive advantage you have to attract the best talent. And how potential employees perceive your organisation can impact whether they apply for your vacancies or accept your job offers.
When developing your employer brand you need to be proactive, otherwise your brand will be created for you by others. Here are three steps to develop a stronger employer brand.
Understand the current perceptions about your employer brand
This can be done by undertaking internal and external research, such as surveys. This will give you a benchmark and also highlight areas for improvement.
It will also show you what your current employees actually value. For instance, a consulting firm offered online leadership development courses to its employees, however, when asked employees said they felt obligated to do the courses and saw it as ‘extra’ work. What they valued instead was in-person mentoring. By switching how the firm delivered development opportunities it was able to strengthen its employer brand.
Develop an employee value proposition (EVP)
An EVP is like a blueprint of why employees want to work for your organisation, they are the foundation of your employer brand. Much like a customer value proposition in marketing, an EVP outlines the appeal of your business to employees and what sets you apart from your competitors.
Your EVP should reflect the current values of your workplace and highlight the characteristics, benefits and ways of working that your employees value highly.
Here are some examples of strong EVPs:
“From empowering mentorships to customized coaching, PwC provides you with the support you need to help you develop your career. You’ll work with people from diverse backgrounds and industries to solve important problems. Are you ready to grow?” – PwC.
“Do cool things that matter.” – Google
“We lead. We invent. We deliver. We use the power of sport to move the world.” – Nike
Communicate your EVP and showcase your employer brand
This is a critical step in having a good employer brand. You might have a great EVP but if it isn’t communicated potential employees won’t see what makes your workplace great. Your EVP should be communicated internally and externally, through channels such as your website, job ads, newsletters and social media.
The fact that companies like Google, Atlassian, PwC, L’Oreal and Nike are often named as great places to work is no accident. They have each built a strong employer brand that resonates with prospective employees. A big part of this comes down to developing and communicating a compelling EVP. If you want to win in the war for talent, this is what you’ll need to do to get the jump on your competitors.
Dayna Edwards is the Director of PeopleStart, a modern human resources and recruitment consultancy that partners with SMEs to help them reach their potential through the power of their people.