New Year, New Employer Brand? While many millions of workers spend the first quarter of every new year having a personal “reset”, we think it’s wise for companies to do a little house keeping too, especially when considering your employer brand and how you plan to improve it over the coming 12 months.
Employer branding is a company bellwether in a world riven by COVID related flux and the great resignation. However, doing a brand MOT does not need to take an inordinate amount of effort – it just takes a little time investment, and a studious approach to involving the right people in your analysis.
Employer brand management marries traditional brand management in the execution – often well communicated employer brand messaging is wrapped up marketing, social media management and consumer advocacy. People like working for companies they like engaging with, where they see themselves reflected in the ethos, products or services they buy.
But EBM differs somewhat from traditional brand management in the operational analysis and, crucially, in the audience it’s designed for.
Your brand MOT shouldn’t be a sprawling mega-assessment. It needs to be targeted, meaningful, relevant and most importantly focused on results and improvement in the audience group that matters – your existing staff, and your potential future staff.
So we say focus on three, perennially important and agile parts of your employer brand – your community, digital alignment, and your operations.
Community: Seek community advocacy, and speak to your staff
Your employer brand cheerleaders should first and foremost be your staff. No matter the sector you work in, your staff should be the living, breathing embodiment of your EB, your purpose and your corporate culture.
However, company cultures are not linear environments and people are people, after all. Whether it’s disaffection with work loads, burnout, arguments between employees, bad customer interactions or being overseen for promotion, your team’s morale and belief in their purpose can fluctuate.
- It’s on every manager up and down the hierarchy to do their part in engaging and empowering their staff to represent the overall brand, products, services and purpose better and more effectively.
Your first port of call in your brand MOT should be seeking out a broad church of opinion on your brand as it is. Seek feedback from the people that live within your brand day in, day out – and most importantly, do they know your employer value proposition and the difference between that and your employer brand placement in the market?
- Ask your teams targeted questions on a variety of subjects, from brand logos and identity, to marketing, sales, corporate culture, work/life balance and more. Use their feedback, especially in regards to EVP and EB communications.
- Get a sense of how they feel about the company in its entirety, and make a summary document pulling together the points of commonality between staff, management and board.
Lastly, publish it internally. Keep any team feedback anonymous, but make a concerted effort to acknowledge where you’re doing well, and where you need to improve. This alone will do wonders for staff interactivity, and will help you grow a culture of staff empowerment.
Your Brand MOT Goal: to honour your staff, and create more meaningful cultures of feedback and employee engagement.
Digital: Are you digitally aligned?
Let’s talk about marketing. Marketing is a multidimensional, fast paced, digitally dominant universe of brand building and promotion. But throwing money at a marketing department won’t do the job of evaluating your employer brand performance. The only way you can do that is through alignment, and seeking results based on how well your company works as a unit.
In this regard, targeted investment in the right digital channels will speak volumes of your control of your brand.
- If the current state of consumer play is that trust in brands is hard won (mirroring that of EB), and that brand success hinges more and more on community/employee advocacy, the influencer economy and the relevance of consumer/peer/employee reviews, your digital presence has to pass muster across the whole company, and across every employee/prospective employee touch-point.
Your EB and EVP needs to align in person, in communities, online and in the palm of peoples hands, consistently.
Your Brand MOT Goal: A well invested-in digital strategy is good business and recruitment management. Making a good digital employer brand is the difference between whether that strategy works or not.
Operations: Don’t forget the little things
Some of the simplest aspects of maintaining a competitive employer brand, and brand building, are overlooked, such as: claiming your company profiles on Google; monitoring your company reviews on Glassdoor, Yelp, and LinkedIn; monitoring SEO and backlinks; monitoring your performance review systems and systematically including your teams in company brand building and policy; improving remuneration packages and communicating how and why you’re doing so…the list goes on.
- But investing time in maintaining these small things then builds an operational skeleton for your wider employer brand to build on.
It gives your existing teams an awareness you’re covering every recruitment, brand visibility and marketing base; it helps new recruits find you better and more effectively; and it shows that you are focused on brand detail and the cumulative effects of each small element of your brand on the whole.
- What we want companies to do is focus on the small things. The culmination of these seemingly minor executive decisions or company culture tweaks adds up to a seismic shift in employer brand commitments over time.
Your Brand MOT Goal: Consider your employer brand environment as both an actively curated list of tasks to maintain and a more passive, organic system that grows of its own accord. Let it grow, but don’t forget to care after the little things!
A quick, responsive process is what you need to attract and engage the best talent.
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