Perplexed Man
Perplexed Man

Employer Branding – what to stop, start and keep doing in 2022

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Employer Branding – what to stop, start and keep doing in 2022

In a tight talent market, how can you attract and retain high performers? Yes, the answer is strong employer branding!

In times past, when referencing employer branding people would discuss the company Christmas party, the free breakfast, or the beanbags in the breakout room. In 2022, people want to hear about company values, strategy, vision, and culture. When the question of how said company fared throughout Covid is asked; often it’s not a financial question. That person is asking how the employees were treated, if the leaders are respected and is the company contributing to broader socioeconomic change.

Ensuring visibility, accountability and authenticity in projecting values, vision and culture whilst retaining your attractiveness and remaining truthful, is challenging.

Below are three things we suggest will help you counter these challenges and work on a more meaningful company brand.

1. Stop pretending to be something you are not, if true work needs to be done

Many of us have a childhood memory where a parent has promised us a treat in exchange for a task. Often through no ill will of the parents, the cookie jar is empty, or there is no cash left in the purse. If this behaviour is repeated, the child eventually learns that the promise of a reward is simply a statement with no follow through. The same concept applies when organisations project big, lofty goals and then do not meet them.

If you are concerned your company may be projecting an element of its brand in a misleading way; take the time to investigate it. Conduct internal research surveys and have conversations with staff. Through this you will determine if you have an issue, and from there you can work on how you frame that issue, to reunite the company towards a goal to fix it. Also remember that what is important to one person may not be important to the next; so, try to be as precise as possible in your assessment of problem areas, to ensure you are being true and unbiased in any company response.

We acknowledge that with the tools and resources at your disposal, it can be challenging to find the balance between advocating for change and ensuring change occurs. However, many job seekers out there do not want to walk into a readymade 10/10 checkbox company. Where is the challenge in that? You should not be shy in acknowledging any challenges faced in achieving company goals, as that recognition may support you in exceeding that goal next time around, and it may even bring an even better set of candidates to the table.

2. Start to prioritise with effectiveness

In this current day and age, it is very easy to become overwhelmed by trying to meet all of the expectations of the candidate market. Our advice? Prioritise what is most important to your company vision and focus on goals that will increase company performance. When people are succeeding, morale is high, and the flow on effect is huge.

In the suite of goals you have, see what opportunities for ‘low hanging fruit’ exist. What can you celebrate or promote now, that is low cost but high reward? As an example, perhaps these may be elements from your EVP. If you offer paid volunteer days, why don’t you profile how many people have taken theirs, encourage the remaining to do so, and highlight a positive case study of someone who has. Use that to promote your company CSR strategy. The larger goals i.e., achieving a 50/50 gender split on your executive team, will not happen overnight. Acknowledge this, plant the seeds to support that journey and regularly communicate back to the business the success and challenges faced.

Meeting employer branding goals takes time, patience and prioritisation. Yes, job seekers want to join companies that are fostering inclusive and equitable cultures that are demonstrating results; however, authenticity and accountability are also high on that same list. Don’t underestimate the time it can take to reach your goals and end up being guilty as charged, of point number one.

3. Stay focused on consistency of experience

We all know that an employer brand is made up through a combination of every single touch point across a business. From your employees (past and current), through to suppliers, general public, friends, and family. Achieving a strong employer brand should in theory mean that each of these different people; say the same thing about your company. The same words and phrases come to mind, and the same emotions are felt. The experience is consistent. What the leaders project, what the marketing says, is what the employees, suppliers and broader network see and feel.

To ensure the experience of everyone connected with your company is both positive and consistent, you need to conduct analysis on things like the hiring process, employee engagement and exit interviews. Be truthful with yourself and with the business if you see repeat instances of failure, say for example where employees are all leaving for the same reason, or there are weak spots in your recruitment process – address them.