• Transform magazine
  • June 19, 2019

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Opinion: "Putting values at the heart of business strategy"

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An employer brand strategy is essential for engagement. Jeff Sindone uses HSBC's business strategy, HSBC NOW, as an example

In today's world, employee satisfaction isn't enough. Employee's seek an emotional commitment and guidance throughout their careers, while employers expect everyone internally to be aligned to the company's vision and values.

An employer brand is the first touchpoint that a company can use to speak to its internal audiences. It builds trust through brand communication, supports and promotes business strategy and reaps rewards. The overarching employer brand can also unlock a company’s internal messaging to the outside world – enabling it to attract the best talent.

Creating a strong employer brand is a clear investment in order to remain competitive and deliver results. In 2011, HSBC embarked on the most significant change program in its 148-year history, unveiling a new business strategy amid unprecedented turmoil in the financial sector. Trust in the banking industry hit an all-time low as a series of scandals rocked, not only customer confidence, but also the confidence of its employees. Surveys showed that only 50% of employees trusted decisions made by top management at HSBC. This had an impact on the employer brand. Action needed to be taken.

The bank put values at the center of its new global business strategy. It then had to introduce a global sense of community and a shared sense of purpose to unite its 261,000 employees across more than 80 countries. To do so, it made employees the stars of the HSBC story and helped them discover the passion and drama of the world they share. HSBC NOW is a weekly TV programme that does exactly that. It has employees at its heart, enabling them to tell their compelling stories of commitment, friendship and triumph over adversity both inside and outside the business. The programme has become essential viewing, regularly reaching a third of the bank’s employees.

As this popularity grew, employees wanted to share their stories with family and friends. In response, HSBC NOW was made available externally in May 2013. Today, it can be watched on YouTube and via Twitter and LinkedIn. An unexpected outcome has been the increased interest in employment at the bank. HSBC NOW gives an authentic and honest view of life inside the bank and through powerful storytelling it lets real people show what’s good about banking and what it means to work for HSBC.

The TV programme, produced by HSBC’s own in-house broadcasting team alongside MerchantCantos, has produced 341 stories, 93 programmes, and over 17 hours of material. It has spread across the business so successfully that seven out of 10 employees said they feel more connected to HSBC after watching HSBC NOW and viewers experienced a 10% uplift in overall engagement. Significantly HSBC NOW has yielded a 15% increase in employees’ perception of being part of a singular global community within the bank.

Jeff Sindone is a director at MerchantCantos. MerchantCantos are sponsoring the Transform North America conference on 27 October in New York City. This conference covers an abundance of topics including brand development, rebranding and reputation management. The full programme and more information on our fantastic speakers can be viewed here. To book, follow this link.