Employer brand leaders
The Employer Brand Management conference is a highlight in the calendar for branding specialists, HR professionals, internal communications specialists, recruiters and other communications experts with interests in their organisation’s productivity.
The full programme featured a broad range of high-profile experts in employer branding, from Simon Barrow, the creator of the employer brand approach, to Talita Farreira, chief financial officer at BMW UK Limited, Stephen Robertson, CEO of the Big Issue Foundation and Adam Sunman, employer branding and social media lead at Vodafone.
The range of case studies provided valuable insight into the development of employer brand strategy in major organisations. Sunman explained the importance of finding stories within your business - for Vodafone, that was communicating instances where connectedness had made a huge difference in people’s lives. He also said that the company is open to employee involvement and user-generated content (UGC). It is important to be able to trust employees with your brand, because they become advocates, and people trust their peers far better than they trust companies. He closed with the suggestion that those in the room not be afraid to borrow from their competitors, an appropriate message for the day.
Diccon Ward, head of brand and design delivery at Arcadis moderated the BMW session. Ferreira spoke about her brand’s journey to unite all of its sub-brands under one unifying identity. She showed how BMW put its employees personalities at the heart of this new identity by asking them, ‘What moves you?’ An uplifting video showed people give very different, but all very honest and genuine answers. The employer brand appeared to be a product of its people, a sentiment that was echoed by several speakers.
Simon Barrow continues to champion employer branding and its practitioners. He said, “A takeover of this area by marketing would be disastrous.” Barrow’s latest mission is to encourage employer brand experts, or people from traditionally HR-oriented backgrounds, into leadership roles. He also closed the conference with a summary of the day's sessions.
Other highlights of the day included Matthew Jeffery, VP, head of global sourcing and employer branding at SAP, speaking about the software corporation’s decision to open up its recruitment pool beyond the elite universities, which he said was driven by a desire to find ‘the best’ talent, but which had welcome social mobility outcomes. The diversity and inclusion session was also a stand-out, with representatives from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer law firm, Maersk shipping and EDF Energy, all sharing their very different attitudes and approaches towards the diversification of their respective organisations.
The Employer Brand Management conference, which took place at Etc Venues, St Paul’s, London on 9 December, covered a wide range of issues, but all who attended were confident that employer brand could have a significantly positive effect on their business.