The ‘deals’ between employers and employees, and how they are perceived externally, go a long way to determining who wants to work where.
employer branding is the image your organisation has among current and prospective employees.
It also applies to a wider set of stakeholders that includes people who might work for you in the future and people who influence them, such as their family, friends and social networks.
A compelling employer brand can thus boost your ability to attract, engage and retain a high-performance workforce.
The starting point for your employer brand is the employee value proposition (EVP). It defines what employees get from working for your organisation and what they give in return – the ‘employment deal’.
The ‘get’ encompasses every aspect of the employment experience, from your mission, values and culture, to the kind of work, training and career development opportunities you offer, to all the pay and benefits that make up your total reward package.
The ‘give’ encompasses what you want from your employees including the skills they should provide, their attitude to their work and how you expect them to behave.
The EVP enables you to define what’s important to you and hence differentiate your organisation from competitors in the job market.
In turn, a clearly articulated EVP helps employees to judge what they can achieve by continuing to work for your organisation and develop an emotional bond with what you want to achieve and what your organisation stands for, all of which leads to a better understanding of the value of staying.
The EVP could be likened to the design, engineering and component parts that come together to make a car, with the employer brand being the car’s image and driving experience.
social media’s voice
Randstad’s research has highlighted the extent to which employer branding is not just what an organisation says about itself. It also includes everything that is said about it.
The stories conveyed in traditional media have always had a strong influence on employer branding. One poor news story about pay and conditions can damage the brand for many years.
Social media takes this further by giving everybody a ‘voice’ in communicating about brands.
Half of the respondents in a Randstad study said they could glean employer brand information from social media alone (though only about a third said they would believe all of it). It’s important to monitor what is being said on social networks and seek to be part of the conversation.
Beyond social media is a host of other conversations in which perceptions of your organisation are shaped.
This might be what people are saying locally about which business in the area is better to work for than another.
In such cases, employer brand articulation might go beyond broad perceptions of the company as a whole to specific determinants such as the personality and approach of particular managers.
Such word-of-mouth communication is also critical in the networks that exist across professions such as accountancy and law.