It may seem from the news that it is an employer’s market out there, with every job vacancy oversubscribed. But finding the best people for the job remains a headache for many employers.
At Christopher Benn we have over 30 years of experience in the industry and we know very well that if a company is known to be a lousy employer which doesn’t treat its staff well, it will struggle to find the right staff it needs to fill its vacancies. Therefore, an employer brand strategy is needed to make the company stand out and encourage the talent to come forward.
Effective corporate PR
It may sound obvious that all employer branding is mainly about PR and, in a way, it is. A business lives or dies by its reputation; it determines its customer base, its prices and future path and poor PR is often linked to poor sales.
When something goes wrong and the press gets a hold of it, the consequences can be catastrophic for the business. To build an employer brand, the company needs to actively engage in public relations.
Regularly pumping out good news stories to the press, on social media, in trade journals, will all help to maintain the company’s standing in the wider world. Employing a PR professional is advisable or booking the board in for media training are sensible strategies to ensure the brand and employer reputation is maintained.
Get the staff on board
It is not just up to the board to boost the company’s reputation because senior executives will always put a positive spin on things even when the situation is going pear-shaped. The staff tell the real story.
Many companies are uncomfortable about their staff openly talking about good practices and success stories at work for fear of the information being used by their rivals. Encouraging staff to actively talk about how much they love their job and the work that they do, along with the perks they enjoy is a good reputation management strategy, as long as staff know the penalties if they start degrading the company’s name on social media sites.
For a more structured approach, recruiting internal leaders can help. Asking reliable staff to vouch for your brand to overcome scepticism within and outside of the company is helpful.
Putting yourself in the candidate’s place
For those who have worked for a company for many years, it is easy for them to forget why they joined the organisation and what attracted them to it. An Employee Value Proposition, or EVP, reveals the reasons why someone will choose to work for a particular company.
As part of the company’s recruitment strategy, those ‘good’ reasons need to be put across. Simple techniques, such as interviewing high-performing employees about why they love their jobs and why this is a great place to work, is very powerful. Pictures of happy faces with their testimonials or a short video on the company website will enforce the message as long as the language used is their own rather than the corporate speak of a boss trying to force their employee to toe the company line.
Practice what you preach
If the company treats its staff poorly, the employer brand will be rubbish. If the staff are treated poorly, staff will feel demotivated, absences will be raised and productivity will fall. The recent TV series featuring the budget supermarket Iceland illustrated the importance a company places on having happy staff.
Its work was rewarded by being voted the Sunday Times ‘Best Big Company to work for’ in 2012. Its chief executive Malcolm Walker talked about how much he loves his staff and his customers. Equally, his staff were just as complimentary, describing the working atmosphere for Iceland as ‘feeling like a family’.
If Iceland’s reputation wasn’t widely known before, it is now. Being televised to the entire nation, Iceland’s brand shows that it is a good place to work. Other big organisations that publicise staff benefits, such as good pension schemes, pay scales, leave and flexible working policies, have also enhanced their reputations.
Making use of employer branding tools
As employer branding has become a recognised strategy to encourage the right candidates to come forward, new tools are appearing to help companies develop and promote their employer brand. At Christopher Benn for instance, we use social media to find and screen candidates and we see on a daily basis how conversations are developing which are connecting candidates and employers. These can be used to build up talent networks and create a dialogue between your company and future employees.
Employer branding is therefore very powerful. It can offer potential future employees a useful insight into what it would be like to work for an organisation, whether their colleagues will be happy and fulfilled and whether this is a business which is going places or not. In return, the company will stand out from the crowd attracting better or even the best candidates to apply for their vacancies.
December 3, 2013 in Marketing