Employer brand is driven by what your employees experience day-to-day – starting well before they sign an employment contract. It influences their engagement level, their performance and, ultimately, your ability to retain them.
But it also enables you to more easily attract top talent to your organisation.
Now, you may have the most incredible recruitment team, waxing lyrical about your company. You may also have the most fantastic communications team, shouting about your organisation from the social media rooftops. But brand is about what you do, not what you say.
That’s why it will be your employees’ authentic, first-hand accounts that will be heard over anything that you ‘message’. Your employer brand is shared through their stories and anecdotes – experience, not spin.
So, in fact, you will have an employer brand whether or not you choose to engage with it. Your employees are already experiencing your employer brand today and, more than likely, are talking about it with their network.
Covid-19 and the workplace
If you have articulated your desired employer brand, you probably developed it with ‘business as usual’ in mind – not a global pandemic that has locked down most countries around the world.
But the world has changed. This may be the new business as usual.
The first half of 2020 has people seriously re-evaluating: priorities, lifestyle, relationships, work. They are thinking about their employers – and prospective employers – through a very different lens. The non-financial elements of your employee value proposition are being given greater consideration than ever before.
Take a moment to consider your employees’ experience of Covid-19 and, more specifically, your business’ response to lockdown. It’s not about whether you continued to trade as normal or whether you needed to furlough staff, it’s about ‘how’ you did these things.
For example, if your business remained open, did you take a flexible approach to where and when your people could work? Did you empathise with their parental or carer responsibilities and show trust in them to do the work, even if that meant outside of normal office hours? Did you enable them to trade shifts to avoid public transport during peak times?
For businesses that furloughed staff, were you transparent in your decision-making about who was furloughed and why? Once furloughed, did you stay connected with them in any way?
In most instances, these examples of ‘how’ you approached the lockdown would not have added cost to your business. All would have added value to your employer brand when any of your team told someone in their network about how they had been treated by you during a difficult and unsettling time.
It’s not too late
We have started to transition out of full lockdown. It’s early days and progress will be slow, but all sectors are busy developing their plans for getting back to work under complex guidelines – even if they don’t know exactly when that will be.
So, while you may not have had time to think about your employer brand in the rush to respond to the pandemic and subsequent lockdown, this measured return to (a new) normal gives you another chance.
What will your transition plan say about you as an employer?
The potential for building employer brand kudos is huge, such as:
Offering flexible working, to enable employees to create a work pattern that meets company and personal needs
Retraining and redeploying employees, to mitigate extended furlough leave or redundancies
Offering unpaid leave, to give job security to those who can’t easily return to work until their children go back to school
Making the workplace safer, to give assurance to employees that you care about their welfare
Engaging employees, to hear what they need from you to enable them to get back to the workplace with confidence.
A marathon, not a sprint
Don’t be misled. Developing your lockdown transition plan with your employer brand in mind is good and it will deliver some short-term wins. But a clear, defined employer brand that is applied consistently and holistically throughout your organisation will achieve far greater long-term benefits for the company. Building a brand takes time and commitment. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
By investing time to articulate your desired employee brand, you give yourself a framework for prioritisation, assessment and decision-making that delivers greater employee engagement, retention and attraction. Moreover, it enables senior leaders, line managers, reward specialists, recruiters, communication teams – anyone who contributes to employee engagement – to apply the principles of your employer brand to everything they do … even in response to a crisis.
Whether you are starting from the beginning, looking to articulate your employer brand for the first time, or looking to review your existing brand in light of changing expectations of the workplace, Farraday is here to help.
Who we are
At Farraday we specialise in corporate communications. We help you tell your business stories in a compelling, engaging and creative way. We create financial reports that deliver results. We design and develop brands that leave a positive lasting impression. We create employee engagement campaigns and change-management programmes that inspire your people. We design marketing literature and websites that engage your audiences.
Our employee brand and engagement team are here to help you get the most out of your greatest asset. Speak with us about:
Employer brand and employee value proposition
HR and change communications
Internal communication channels
Whether you simply need some strategic advice or are looking for full, hands-on delivery, we can help.