18 Jun 2012
Employer Brand: put your money where your mouth is
We are very pleased to have a special guest contribution from Michael Holm, Employer Branding Manager with IBM in Denmark and one of the speakers on the 2012 NZ Employer Brand & Engagement Summit in Auckland on Tuesday, 19 June.
Since 2008 I have been working in employer branding and have been fortunate to watch the discipline evolve and consolidate itself as something much more than simply optimizing recruitment activities. Though this may be relevant for some companies, many are also leveraging employer branding activities for talent engagement and retention.
Employer branding is a multi string discipline with a focus on the whole lifecycle of an employee from pre-hire to retire! In between this, employer branding is being applied to recruitment, induction and onboarding, development and retention initiatives.
In my opinion employer branding is about optimizing every part of the employee lifecycle to deliver the employer value proposition (EVP). If you want to be perceived as an attractive employer then you need to demonstrate through behaviours that you can realistically live up to your promise.
Of course you need to understand what your target groups perceive as attractive attributes but once you have achieved that (and remembering that this changes over time) you have your raison d’être.
My best guess is that somewhere in your employment offering you´ll find attributes such as career opportunities, skilled colleagues, leadership, and a company you can be proud of.
So then who should tell the story about your company.
The obvious choice, though not always evident, are your employees.
Who better than your employees at telling the story of your company as a great place to work? However still too many companies don’t see the benefits of putting employees at the forefront of communicating their story.
If you set your employees free you might lose control of what´s being said about your company – but the story will most likely be told whether you control it or not through word of mouth or online conversations.
On the contrary allowing your employees to participate actively in the storytelling of your company they will tell their own personal stories to people who most likely are already part of their network. So we can spend the money in creating fancy campaigns and slick messaging or we can allow our colleagues to do the same amongst people in their network who they already trust.
Can they get this wrong? Sure they can but if you don´t trust them with this, what else don´t you trust them doing?
So create the attractive attributes relevant for your employees and then let them share the story of your company as employer either on social media platforms, professional network activities, campus or whatever channel is most appropriate for the purpose. Your employees will go where others like them are.
If your employees are your most important asset (even though I don´t particularly like the phrase ‘asset’ when describing employees) then put your money where your mouth is. Invest the money in creating and maintaining the attributes relevant to your employees by supporting employee ambassador programs
So what is the future for employer branding?
I see employer branding as the most essential discipline in the midst of HR, Marketing, Communications and of course the organisational strategy. This will be a never ending game – the minute your start to relax, is the minute you will start loosing ground. In today’s talent short market you simply can´t afford to lose the talent that will drive your business forward.