The time when you are most likely to think about employer branding is when it comes to recruiting; how are you going to attract great people to want to work for your business?
It is easy to overlook the fact that branding forms the identity of your organisation and remains important throughout the employment life-cycle, not just if you are to attract talented people to work for you, but if you are to engage them, retain them and then successfully transition them out of the business: the Employer Value Proposition.
Employer branding is about understanding the relationship with and appealing to all stakeholders both internal and external and addressing the needs of both in their holistic relationship with your organisation.
At the outset, when it comes to attraction, it is important not just to think about the more traditional aspects such as job descriptions, but to also look at your wider marketability – does your website for example, reflect the messages you want to get across to potential recruits; remember it is your shop window. What will the experience be like for anyone applying for a job through any of the channels you decide to use? Think about some of the finer detail such as the message that is portrayed through an offer letter and whether it is designed to excite the new recruit and give them the feeling that they can’t wait to start working with you.
Once recruited, the next vital aspect to get right is the on-boarding process. This is a great opportunity for you to embed your employer brand throughout the whole programme, making it engaging for all new starters no matter which role they are taking up.
Throughout the employment life cycle employees should be regularly reminded of the rewards and benefits, the employee experience and brand offered in return for their performance. In doing this, aim to keep the focus away from purely financial reward, instead emphasising the wider offering and set KPIs and incentives that have a clear link with delivery of the employer brand. Consider appointing ambassadors for the employer brand; individuals who can champion the cause but also contribute to ensuring that strategies and policies such as performance management, reflect the brand and convey the right images and messages and whether they are counter to the brand.
Expecting employees to deliver on your brand can’t just happen overnight though. Training across the organisation, at all levels is a key feature of making it happen. The next step is then to look at talent within the organisation and whether learning and development initiatives reflect your brand; do individual leaders have what it takes to deliver the brand strategy or do they need support in doing this?
Even when it comes to employees leaving the organisation, it is important to get their experience right; you want them to continue to say positive things about your business after they have gone, no matter the reason for leaving.
There are so many things that can impact on the brand and the challenge is to ensure that the organisation can deliver what has been promised. A starting point for doing so is to identify where your organisation is currently in terms of its employer brand and where you would like it to be, before putting together a plan to ensure that you take as broad a view as possible in developing a brand strategy that is reflected at all touch points within the employee life-cycle.