• Transform magazine
  • August 23, 2017

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Opinion: Employer brand, beyond recruitment

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From this month's Employer Brand Management conference, Gemma McGrattan discusses the extension of employer brand management

According to LinkedIn, organisations focusing on employer brand see a 50% decrease in cost per hire and a 28% reduction in staff turnover.

Persuasive stats like these have resulted in 59% of recruiting leaders worldwide now proactively investing in employer brand. And while this is good news, it is interesting that the focus is still primarily on recruitment.

Synergy believes brands should be approaching employer brand management holistically, using it to transform the entire employee lifecycle and experience. It’s about defining who you are as a company, and then delivering on that brand promise at every single step of an employee’s journey from initial brand awareness, through hire to retire.

The brand engagement agency took this approach with long term client Odeon & UCI Cinema Group, and is transforming each employee touchpoint so it aligns with the new employer brand. This ongoing project won the Employer Brand Management Awards Grand Prix in 2016.

It has already resulted in the biggest increase in Organisational Health Index (OHI) scores ever seen in a two year period; showing just how powerful employer brand is when done right.

Earlier this year, Synergy held an exclusive roundtable event bringing brands such as Aviva, National Trust, St James Place, Las Iguanas and BP together to discuss this topic and create a practical 10 Step employer brand action plan. Action one, agree on a process. Agreeing on a process means your employer brand journey is tangible, gets everyone on the same page and ensures you stay on track.

Action two, engage key leaders and stakeholders. Your senior leadership team needs to be clear that employer brand is more than just an attraction tool, but a holistic strategy to ensure that people apply and stay too. Third, recruit your dream team. Collaboration is key to success; marketing, HR, internal communications, leadership and development, social, PR and even IT need to work together.

Fourth, define your purpose. People want more than just a job; they want to make a difference. Involve everyone in finding your purpose, and aim to ensure it runs through your whole business.

But, fifth, be prepared for the long haul. Once you have a process (and the people) in place, remember it’s never ending. A good employer brand is based on insight, which means it will be constantly evolving. Which brings it to six, find your truth. Your employer brand must tell the truth or you’ll get found out when people check social media, or leave because it’s not as you ‘sold it.’ This is important for attracting Millennials.

Seventh, discover your advocates. Word of mouth is powerful. Conversations will shape your brand and make it real. Find those with influence in your company and engage them – remember your alumni too. Step eight, is to test and learn. Test your ideas for evidence and success. This could mean piloting an initiative in a specific department, office or country and ironing out any kinks prior to a full scale roll out.

Penultimately, don’t be daunted by digital. With new technology, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Remember it’s just a platform. Go back to basics; audience, messaging, channels, test and prove. Finally, tailor your approach. Every business has slightly different cultures within it – perhaps across countries or divisions – adapt your approach to audience, location and needs, always reflecting those core values.

These 10 steps were the result of a frank and open discussion with brands at various stages of their employer brand journey. Whether you’re a fast-growing start-up or a global, multi-faceted organisation, following this roadmap will give you a strong start to a successful employer brand.

Gemma McGrattan, is a director at Synergy Creative. To read more about the Employer Brand Management conference, click here.