Why should you consider your employer brand? Why is it important and what do you need to know?
(The term is used to describe an organisation’s reputation as an employer, rather than the general brand reputation. See my glossary for more info.)
Here Brittany Golob, (pictured) editor of Communicate magazine, writes for the All Things IC blog to share her thoughts. Over to you Brittany…
The value of a strong employer brand strategy
With plummeting revenues and a poorly perceived brand, a rebrand was the logical choice for international gym company Fitness First.
But the external audience was neither the entire motivation nor was it the only audience addressed by the change. The company’s employees were unengaged by the organisation and thus became poor brand ambassadors.
“Look at this uniform and look at us,” an employee told Richard Buchanan, founder of Clearing, the brand agency responsible for the rebrand. That employee gestured to the polyester polo shirt and ill-fitting suit trousers that made up the company’s uniform. For a fitness centre, this was wildly out-of-place.
Fitness First aimed to redefine the way fitness centres approach health and wellbeing. It integrated technology into the gym experience and allowed for a more personal connection between the user and the physical space.
Service became the focal point of the repositioning. It would anchor the internal audience and provide a better experience for customers.
The Clearing made one change that impacted the way employees were treated within the business.
“We focused on the uniform,” Buchanan says. “We worked with the fitness guys about developing a new fitness philosophy and we worked with HR to drive the brand into certain sets of behaviours and performance metrics so that staff can be assessed.”
This changed the focus from sales to service.
The relaxation of the push to sell memberships had a ripple effect on customer satisfaction as people became members, rather than simply being sold a membership – a subtle but important difference that allowed Fitness First to becoming a brand-led business and induce a brand-led culture among staff.
Every employee got a new uniform.
This is one of many examples of a company instituting a well-defined, measurable employer brand that generates a benefit for the business, but also increases employee engagement.
Niall Cluley, HR director at Fitness First will join a slew of other speakers as he discusses the measurement strategies used during the change programme and the results the gym has seen in the past year, at the Employer Brand Management Conference on 9 December 2015.
The employer brand is the part of a brand strategy that relates to an organisation’s reputation as an employer, and thus is a vital aspect of brand management and a key concern for communicators.
A strong employer brand strategy will be reflected in the quality of staff, the amount of time they stay with a company and ability to attract new, skilled staff in a competitive market.
Sounds simple, but challenges abound. Like Fitness First, employees may not be engaged. The company might also have a large group of remote workers or an international workforce. Diversity might be lacking and should be improved through recruitment strategies. ROI (return on investment) on internal comms might be undefined.
Crafting an effective employer brand requires internal communications to work with HR, brand managers, recruiters and senior leaders to develop a strategy that works with the existing company culture but considers the changes the organisation needs to make.
Post author: Brittany Golob.
Find out more
The Employer Brand Management Conference takes place on Wednesday 9 December at Etc. Venues St Paul’s, London.
Brittany says: “During the course of the day we will hear from speakers from companies including BMW and Vodafone. They’ll be talking about a specific campaign or project that has been a success within their organisation.
“Losing talent through lack of engagement can be disastrous for businesses. The case studies in question will demonstrate how employer brand has the potential to engage and retain existing employees.
“The experiences shared will be invaluable for business owners, as well as managers and team leaders. The examples will also show how an employer brand can attract new employees and provide valuable takeaways.”
Further reading on the All Things IC blog: Seen what your employees are saying about you?
First published on the All Things IC blog 23 November 2015. Updated November 2016.