So, you’re an employer. You have a Staff Handbook and have made sure that you are complying with basic employment law.
You think that you’re an OK employer, and provide an OK place to work. But is OK enough? Why not be a great employer? If you’ve got the basics in place, don’t stop there – now the time is right to look at your Employer Brand and your people management practices, so that you’re providing great support, development and leadership to your team.
But what exactly is Employer Brand? Is it just yet another HR buzzword that sounds good but isn’t really anything new (right up there with ‘psychological contract’ and ‘employee value proposition’); is it something we vaguely know about but struggle to define, or is it just sticking your company logo at the top of every policy document?
The Noddy Guide to Employer Branding defines it as your reputation as an employer, and the things that you hope will make your staff consider your organisation a great place to work. It includes every aspect of their experience as a candidate and an employee, from recruitment through to leaving the company – everything that affects both your Employee Relations and your Public Relations.
By putting in place a professional, best-practice set of HR processes, you should be aiming to create a culture where managers are confident in their ability to lead and support their teams, and all staff are confident that they are being treated fairly. This means feeling that they are involved, listened to, trusted and cared about.
You want all your staff to be committed to the success and well-being of your business, and all your managers to be committed to the success and well-being of your staff.
So it’s more than just tangible benefits, such as having fat salaries, enhanced provisions and Free Fruit Fridays. It’s also about the touchy-feely benefits, and how people feel about how you feel about them. With that in mind, think about the various ways in which you manage and develop staff, such as:
- Performance management, including appraisals
- Training, learning and development
- Staff health and wellbeing
- Employee involvement and empowerment
- Management capabilities
- Career opportunities
Don’t be fooled into thinking though that your Employer Brand is just an ‘HR thing’ that you can bolt onto the rest of what your business does. It should also cover things like your core values, company mission and vision.
After all, you want people to want to work for you because they can identify with what you stand for, not just because you offer 3 years maternity leave on full pay and have a fully equipped gym in the toilets. That way they’ll be much more engaged, loyal and productive.
To all intents and purposes, your Employer Brand is how you market your appeal as an employer, so you have to consider how you communicate this to prospective, current and even ex employees.
Whether you realise it or not, if you have staff, you already have an Employer Brand (unless your staff are a bunch of mindless zombies with no opinions, preferences or priorities). After all, they are already talking about you – the only question is, what are they saying?!
Tara Daynes is an HR consultant and runs her own HR services and training company, Tara Daynes HR.
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