You understand the importance of employer branding and that having a clear employer branding strategy can impact the bottom line (i.e. a 10% increase in spend for employer branding can increase annual profits by $2,400 per employee per year). But where does one start with developing an employer branding strategy?
To assist you with where you need to focus first, we have created the following three step action plan.
1. Leadership commitment
Employer branding is a critical business strategy and therefore needs to be owned by several executive leaders, not just by HR or Marketing which has traditionally been the case. As with all business strategies, the executive team needs to understand and more importantly believe the impact it can have on the bottom line as it takes time and resources to implement an employer branding strategy. Take the time to do your research, educate your peers and ensure that the strategy is owned across several departments before proceeding. Regardless of what role you are in, this is a great opportunity for you to bring your peers together to facilitate a critical conversation on the perception of your organization as a great place to work (Brett Minchington’s book Employer Brand Leadership provides some great questions for you to use during that discussion).
2. Understand how your employees feel
In its simplest form, your employer brand can be defined as “the image of your organization as a ‘great place to work’ in the mind of current employees and key stakeholders in the external market (active and passive candidates, clients, customers, media, and other key stakeholders)”(Minchington 2005). Therefore, a critical initial step in developing your employer branding strategy should be to assess how your employees feel about your organization and to understand the key drivers that create a great workplace. What percentage of your employees would agree that your organization is a great place to work? There are a lot of great employee surveys available that can provide you with that information. We often work with companies to implement the Great Place to Work Survey because the survey measures trust which is an absolute foundation for employee engagement. The tool is informative, based on 25 years of research and is used by more than 6,000 organizations each year. Regardless of the tool you use, it is important to measure how your employees feel about your organization on a consistent basis so that you are aware and can pinpoint critical high impact areas to focus on.
3. Develop an Employee Value Proposition (EVP)
Your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is defined as a set of associations and offerings provided by your organization in return for the skills, capabilities and experiences an employee brings to the company (Minchington 2005). Every company has an EVP, it is just a matter of discovering what it is. For your EVP to be truly authentic it is important for you to gather quantitative and qualitative data with your employees on what they believe are the existing strengths of your organization, not just how your leaders feel or what they want it to be.
Employer branding is not easy, nor is it a single initiative. Developing an employer branding strategy is an ongoing commitment that takes a lot of time and resources. That being said, it is a critical strategy to grow your business and to compete in the current and future global economy.