• Transform magazine
  • September 17, 2019


Employer brand management makes businesses perform better, conference shows


“The best way to manage the employer brand is by making your company the best place to work. You can’t put barbed wire around the door,” said Andrew Page, executive chairman at Alfa Systems, at the fifth annual Employer Brand Management conference last week. He summarised a day of discussions and case studies into best practice in employer brand management.

The day began with an examination of winning projects from the Employer Brand Management Awards, including tax accountancy ForrestBrown. The small firm punched well above its weight in terms of developing a strong employer brand and corporate culture. Working with Hodes, the company developed a visual style that is personal, characterful and cheerful. “The brand is really personal for us,” said Sara Brigden, associate director at ForrestBrown. “What you see is what you get.” They found that encouraging employees to fight assumptions about their sector and bring their authentic personalities to the office led to a stronger culture that built connections between employees and the business.

Similarly Hermes developed a new employer brand for its Christmas campaign last year, fostering a new perception of courier employment. One of the key lessons Hermes and Creed Communications drew from that experience was, “You absolutely need to know your audience. If you don’t, you’re just plastering advertising into the ether and hoping it works.” They also found that success in one part of the business – in this case, the employer brand – can help other parts of the business succeed as well.

The fact that a strong employer brand can lead to a better business is no secret Arval, now. The vehicle leasing brand has a passionate workforce, but had little to no external employer brand. The strategy it took, with the help of Synergy, was to “put the people at the forefront of Arval’s employer brand.” As a result, cost per hire was reduced from £2,000 to £117 and is set to drop to £0. Employees have become advocates and turnover is at an all-time low.

Those success stories were supported by strategic insight that analysed the employer brand landscape and evaluated best practice for each business. The conference also discussed some of the best strategies for approaching employer brand management. Pathmotion discussed the value of storytelling and the ways in which careers sites need to change to ensure a stronger use of content and thus, a stronger persuasion to joining a business. Sky Betting’s experience with a chatbot recruitment assistant showed it that robots can have a real human interaction, save a lot of time in answering key FAQs and still give prospective employees a positive experience due to its warm tone of voice.

These discussions were followed up in a set of roundtable sessions that saw delegates discussing everything from employer brand management following a merger or acquisition to diversity and inclusion in the employer brand.

Finally, Page took the stage alongside Paul Burns, MD of care home company, Victoria Nursing Group to discuss how the employer brand should start at the top. While Page took the view that the corporate leader should set the tone for the business and do his or her best to stay apprised of culture, Burns took a hands-on approach of ensuring that the employer brand was working as it should.

Whichever strategy a company chooses though, the employer brand should be considered one of the key priorities for developing a strong business from the inside and presenting that to a recruitment audience.

The Employer Brand Management Awards are open for entry until 14 December.