Putting people first – the promise of employer branding

What are your thoughts on employer branding?

Employer brand is used to describe an organisation’s reputation as an employer, rather than the general brand reputation. How does yours shape up? Want to know more? I’ve got a guest post to update us on the latest thinking.

It’s not new, many companies have been concentrating on their employer brands for years to attract and retain people.

But the reason there has been more noise about it recently is three-fold: people increasingly expect consumer-grade experiences as job candidates; organisations have realised they often ignored their biggest selling point – their own people; and there is a chronic shortage of talent that, in the gig economy, has more choices than ever before.

It fascinates me, I love reading about it and talking it through with All Things IC’s clients.

Why? Because it’s all about people. They are at the heart of every organisation and deserve to be treated as such. Communication, hiring and the way your organisation operates should organise itself around an effective, realistic and tangible employer brand.

Want to know more about this topic? I’ve included links to further reading about employer branding at the end of this article. It’s also regularly discussed in All Things IC Masterclasses, my one-day training courses for professional communicators.

These themes, and many more, were explored and debated at the third World Employer Branding Day in Budapest, Hungary last week.

Simon Rutter, @southendscribe (pictured), Future Talent Communications Manager at Takeda Pharmaceuticals in Europe and Canada, attended the event in Budapest. He has kindly captured his thoughts in the form of a guest post for All Things IC. Thank you Simon.

I’ll hand you over to him to share what we missed.

Putting people first – the promise of employer branding

In his opening address, Brett Minchington, CEO of hosts Employer Brand International, talked about the need for businesses to deliver a more personalised, real-time experience for candidates.

This is about a mindset shift towards treating potential and existing employees with the same care as customers, and not differently.

We need to stop thinking of candidates/customers/employees as different constituencies and instead concentrate on putting people first.

Case studies from Facebook and KPMG later in the day echoed this point, with examples of how they are addressing this.

Minchington ended his keynote with his belief that soon HR, Communications and Marketing will combine into one function, ‘Employer Brand’, with all the capabilities needed to deliver this people experience centralised.

A thought-provoking note, and certainly if any topic can unify these functions it is employer branding, because without collaboration between us we can’t deliver on the promised people experience.

(Further reading: Secret diary of a Comms Director… – for thoughts about HR and Comms and their roles – Rachel).

In a TripAdvisor world where peer recommendations hold far more weight than what businesses say about themselves, employee advocacy is crucial.

With net promoter scores now becoming a metric in employer branding success, it’s more vital than ever that employees are empowered and enabled to be advocates.

For too long this source of potential marketing dynamite has been untapped, but employer branding puts employees front and centre of an organisation’s external face.

With organisations looking to their people to speak for them, how your people feel about working for you will have a direct impact on whether other people want to come and work for you.

War on talent, shortage of talent – whatever term you use, speakers and delegates were agreed that there’s not enough good people to go around.

These good people also have more choice than ever, with a shrinking number of full-time roles and a resultant burgeoning gig economy, and a trend for ‘portfolio careers’ – that is, people focused on the nature of the work they do, not the company.

In this fractured and noisy world, companies need to proactively go and find the candidates they want by understanding where those people are, and building strong, sustainable relationships with them.

The brands who do this best, not the biggest brands, will succeed in attracting talent into their organisations.

Employer branding is only going to increase in importance in the coming years, and could have a major impact on the relevance and impact of the communications industry.

Post author: Simon Rutter.

Thank you Simon, so many useful and relevant pointers in there.

What’s your views on this subject? If you’ve got a story to share about employer branding, do get in touch if you’d like to write a guest post. You’re also welcome to comment below or Tweet me @AllthingsIC.

If you’ve not read about employee experience before, see this article to help kickstart your thinking:

Want to know more about employer branding?

I’m here to help – take a look at some of the articles I’ve published on the All Things IC blog on this topic:

The value of a strong employer brand strategy  – published December 2015
Seen what your employees are saying about you? – published January 2015
How to learn about employer brand management – published November 2016
How ODEON designed its employer brand strategy – published April 2016
Why you need to focus on employee experience – published March 2016.

I hope you have a great week,

Rachel Miller

First published on the All Things IC blog 2 May 2017.

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