With talent shortages at an all-time high, it is no surprise that many organizations are placing considerable time and investment in their Employer Brand strategy.
More often than not, Employer Brand projects have been owned and led by Talent Acquisition executives and simply by nature of their sphere of responsibilities and influence, tend to lean too heavily on shorter term recruitment marketing platforms and campaigns. This is indeed a key area of focus for the employer brand strategy; however, it is not the whole solution, and without the right executive stakeholders and owners, the true ROI of investment and change is often overlooked.
Today, we want to talk about the critical role that the executive leadership team needs to play when activating and managing your company’s employer brand and employee experience strategy. Before we jump into the how, let us explore the why leaders need to get in front of this work.
Productivity And Profitability
Businesses with strong Employer Brands are historically more successful than those without and are more attractive investment opportunities.
- Companies with strong employer brands saw a 4x increase in revenue over companies without
- And if that’s not enough, know that according to Deloitte, 94% of executives believe a “distinct workplace culture” is important to company success—and that there is a correlation between “clearly articulated and lived culture” and “strong business performance.”
The Brand of Your Leadership Team
Perhaps more than ever before, talent indicate that they are drawn to work for an organization based on its leaders. Leadership personal brands and reputations now play a significant role in attracting and retaining the top echelon of talent. Review sites like Comparably and Glassdoor now regularly encourage employees to rate and review its leaders and managers and increasingly influences the company reputation as a place to work.
Influence and Privilege
An organization’s leadership team works from a privileged position of influence and as such, the role they play in directing the Employer Brand and Culture is paramount to the employee experience. Your teams are getting their cues on why they work with the organization with each micro interaction they have with your leadership and management team. How leaders behave, and what they reinforce are vital to the health of your culture, reputation, and recruitment results.
Fewer HR and Reputation Issues
Employees resonate more with your employer brand and culture work when the executive leadership team are invested in promoting and supporting it. This in turn, contributes to a virtuous circle that feeds on and produces positivity. A lack of consistency in the experience, however, can lead to hires who don’t get along with managers, or colleagues. Failing to codify the EVP into leadership and management behaviours and communications can create a vicious cycle of disengagement and distrust that costs companies billions of dollars in health-related costs, employee turnover, and productivity loss.
Now that we agree on the why behind it, let’s explore how and where you want to get the executive team involved. Here are six vital ways to include executives in the Employer Brand Strategy:
1. Include Executives and Directors in The EVP Research
If the EVP and employer brand is to be a strategic imperative. If the hope is that your EVP is to be more than solid recruitment language. If you want the EVP to become an employer promise and to help steer ideal leadership behaviours, it is critical to get executive leaders involved in the initial research and build of the EVP. Impactful EVPs are not only a reflection of who you are today as a company but should have aspirational direction about where the company is headed, and why talent would be exciting to go on that journey. No one knows that north star better than your executive leadership team and no one has thought longer about what is missing to get them there.
Talk to a broad swath of executive leaders and directors about what they are most excited about for the organization’s future, why they think candidates will want to join the organization, why they think employees will be most excited gain from this journey to the future.
Find out what employee behavior shifts could most help them reach their desired business objectives and how retention is impacting performance. All these elements will help to shape the promise executives make to current and future employees.
2. EVP to Promise – What that Promise Means for Executive
Once you have the EVP and key messaging for the organization, we recommend turning it into an Employer Promise. An Employer Promise is a commitment from leaders and managers about how they will support and deliver on these EVP pillars to ensure that employees and the organization realize the people-first change you desire. Involve your leaders and directors in co-creating this promise. Get them to think about the programs and experiences can they commit to, to further enhance the employee experience with each pillar? What commitments will they make to ensure that promises are lived by their management team? What KPIs are they willing to commit to delivering to make this promise a lived reality?
Think of it this way, if your Customer Value Proposition were only on your product labels, it would have zero influence on innovations, guarantees, customer experiences or loyalty. It would not shape brand messaging, performance analytics or share of voice strategy. Similarly, your EVP must be more than words on a careers site and social content to drive change. It must be a commitment, a foundation that steers investment, programs and change as it relates to your people and leadership.
3. Building Awareness Through Launch and Communications
When launching your Employer Brand, we strongly recommend starting with an internal launch first. If this is indeed an Employee Value Proposition, built from the input of your global employee base, and with the intention of driving retention, engagement, and ambassadorship, launch it with them first! They took the time to help shape it. You will want them to take time to share and amplify it. You will want them to feel an emotional connection to it and to recall it as top of mind reasons they joined and stay. So, a week of celebrations and communication is a small but key investment.
When this internal launch happens, it should be communicated from the executive leadership team collectively rather than rolled out as just an HR or Marketing initiative. Build launch videos with the executives speaking about what the EVP and employer promise means to them and the future of the company. Provide leaders with launch communications and PowerPoints. Schedule regional and divisional town halls and celebrations. Get leaders involved in the creative photography alongside the employees.
The more leaders repeat the EVP stories, the more viral and lasting the impact on engagement and retention.
4. Role in Activation. Internally/Externally
As we mentioned above, leadership brand is key to attracting top tier talent. Your leadership team is also the most networked and influential in your roster. Include them in the role of social content marketing, sharing your employer brand story, personal blogs about the employee experience and culture, and promoting career opportunities. Rebrand their LinkedIn profiles, provide them with banners, videos, and content to ensure that their profiles are top tier marketing and brand platforms. This is a great reward for them and will make a tremendous impact on the overall brand.
5. Training and Succession Planning
For those that have been involved in building an EVP and Employer Brand, you know that it takes quite a bit of time to understand the strategy and how it connects to shaping the employee experience and organization change experience. Prior to launching the Employer Brand internally, and rushing to show the creative, pause and take time to get your leaders and directors involved in Living the Employer Brand Training.
This training will help them to understand the reason for the EVP and employer promise. Help them to understand their role in enhancing the employee experience, and what matters most. It’s also essential that executives be involved in identifying problem areas standing in the way of aspirational elements of the EVP — and then brainstorming solutions.
The entire team must commit to ways in which they plan to create measurable improvements, and EVP pillars must become widely visible priorities.
Do not stop there, embed this training program in ongoing management and leadership development programs. If the EVP is to shape experience and drive retention, it must be top of mind with the leaders responsible for delivering that promise. It must simply be far more than words to have an authentic and measurable impact on the people you have chosen to lead your company and culture into the future.
6. Measuring Impact
Finally, the adage of what gets measured, gets impacted holds true when it comes to employer branding and culture. It takes a minimum of 10-12 times to repeat a brand message for it to garner top of mind retention, and this is ever true in your employer brand leadership communications. To drive top of mind awareness, each leader should be repeating the EVP and employer promise messaging monthly to employees through town halls, employee storytelling, contests, recognition, and reinforcement of the programs in place that enhance this promise.
Agree on KPIs with leadership on building employee awareness of the EVP pillars and supporting programs. Pulse check regularly in surveys to see how awareness is building. Help your executives by writing blogs about the EVP and how it comes to life in their divisions. Encourage your leaders to post and share employer branded content in their own LinkedIn profiles. This measurement and reward system is key to delivering a branded experience and building leaders focused on delivering a magnetic employer brand reputation.
Employer Brand Success Hinges on Leadership Alignment and Support
There is tremendous power in employer brand strategy. The impact it can make on your leadership effectiveness, your culture, your brand reputation, and your recruitment results are monumental. The key however to realizing this impact is to have the right influencers at the helm, a fulsome change experience baked into the work, and a leadership team that reinforces, and amplifies your brand message and promise.
Author: Stacy Parker, Managing Director, Blu Ivy Group
Blu Ivy Group is a global leader in employer branding, organizational culture, and recruitment marketing. We help organizations across the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors build extraordinary employee experiences, magnetic employer brands and high-performance cultures.
From C-Suite to Employer Brand and Talent Acquisition leadership, we partner with our clients to transform their organizations and design the most compelling workplaces of the future.
For inquiries, please contact email@example.com.