A Strong Employer Brand Story is the Ultimate Weapon

If you want a top employer brand, emotionally connect with talent by telling stories that they are most interested in hearing.

At Blu Ivy Group we spend a significant amount of time conducting interviews with passive job seekers in a variety of demographics to find out what is important to them, what employer brands are most appealing to them, and what they are seeking from a future employment culture. When we review the results of thousands of interviews in 2015, three top attributes are consistently identified.

Although these top three may not be surprising, what is interesting, is how poorly a job most organizations do of clearly articulating these story lines and emotionally connecting with talent where it matters most. Let’s take a closer look at what talent globally agree are the three most valued attributes in a future employer offering.

  1. Compensation and Benefits

Building trust and a great culture doesn’t mean you have to pay your employees top compensation and offer them the richest benefits plan.  That said, what you do offer your employees needs to be fair and aligned with industry and role standards.

Candidates often tell us that it is primarily about the total compensation package, not just the salary. Salary, commissions, year-end performance bonuses, stock options, pension, flexhours, gym memberships, car or mobile allowances, employee discounts, annual training funds, company trips, and vacation packages are all key elements of the total compensation program. When explained in full, talent see much more value, and also can emotionally connect with what the offering may mean to their day to day lives.

Often times, because an organization does not have all of these compensation and perk items in one, centralized total compensation story, recruiters and hiring managers are left to discuss and negotiate with potential talent on salary alone.  Ensure that this story is well articulated to potential talent and internal employees alike. Often times, it becomes the total comp perks that over time, are key reasons employees stay with a company.

Best practices include developing packages that outline the total investment that your organization has available to employees on an annual basis..

Once you have developed a total compensation information package and statement, ensure that it is clearly aligned with the EVP and enhances your story.

Finally, regular compensation and benefits reviews not just of competitors offerings, but also conducting employee surveys to understand what employees value most and desire in future, is a fantastic way to demonstrate a commitment to hearing and responding to a critical part of your employer promise.  Have employees participate in shaping the evolution of your total compensation package, it will often be more cost effective and engaging when they are involved.

  1. Friendly Work Environment

A close second to compensation and benefits is the desire to work within a friendly work environment.   Interestingly though, few organizations have an Employer Brand story that focuses on the stories of team friendships, fun, and celebration. This is critical to a strong employer brand strategy both internally and externally. We are not talking about taking pictures of employees winning corporate awards, but rather truly compelling stories of how friendships and teams have impacted employees lives.

The need to tell these stories becomes even more critical when you consider:

The talent acquisition and growth demands of your organization.

One of the key reasons that talent remain passive , is that they are afraid to leave their existing employer friendships. In order for this talent pool to be convinced of leaving their current employer, understanding the fun & friendliness of your work environment is key. If you want to attract passive talent, do a stellar job of articulating real stories that demonstrate how friendships at their current employer will be easily replicated or replaced by fantastic friendships, teamwork, friendly leaders and fun. It doesn’t matter what industry you operate in, these stories ring true to all talent and generations.

The employee engagement, and profitability demands of your organization.

One of the questions in the Gallup Q12 survey is, “I have a best friend at work.” The data clearly shows that friendship is more important to employee engagement than pay or benefits, and strongly correlates to productivity, safety, customer loyalty and profitability (source: The Collective Advantage, Gallup

If you want to drive engagement within your organization, ensure that a key element of your Employer Brand Communications strategy focuses on these powerful relationships and teams.

Best practices include cross-departmental team celebrations and events, desktop calendars that talk about the EVP, Video blogging about team celebrations and accomplishments, and internal monthly calendars that feature team stories of fun, friendly encounters with colleagues.

  1. Career Opportunities

The third most important attribute that talent identify as a key preference in a new employer is career opportunities.  Talent of all ages and demographics are looking to be challenged and developed.   Career opportunities does not necessarily mean climbing the corporate ladder. In fact, when we dig deeper with our interviews, we find that it means constantly developing ones skills and being challenged.  Many resources are willing to move to smaller organizations that allow them to have a greater span of control, learn more and have more authority in their decision making.  Understanding the lack of silos, span of control, opportunity for lateral and upward mobility are equally important to talent today. In addition, understanding any policies on how long one must be in a role prior to the next challenge is critical, particularly for millennial and high potentials looking to be fast tracked.

As we discussed in last week’s blog http://bit.ly/1gRjofm , the messaging of internal career opportunities is a massive opportunity for most organizations to elevate their employer brand and reduce turnover.

From an external brand perspective, often times a corporate recruitment team is far removed from succession planning and career pathing opportunities. Ensure that policies, opportunities and success plan strategies are well documented, and communicated and that your recruitment teams and vendors have been trained on these details. Many career pages have an ATS that lists only open positions or potentially includes a couple of testimonials.  Ensure that the page also clearly articulates how careers can and do grow within your firm.

Best practices include developing Individual Development Plans, Internal communications each month that featuring employees who have grown within the company, and a clear and transparent internal recruitment process

Too often we see organizations focus their employer brand strategy and budget on taglines, and creative visuals. You stand to drive the biggest ROI is by understanding your key talent segments, the company and regional EVPs, then effectively communicating, engaging and aligning your people practices to those values. Your stories are what connect people emotionally to your brand. Your stories are what motivate and retain internal talent. Stories are easily shared in social content, and with friends and family at the dinner table. A strong employer brand story that addresses what talent are most interested in is truly your ultimate weapon.

About Blu Ivy Group

Blu Ivy Group is a leading employer branding and employee engagement consultancy that aligns your organization with contemporary workplace paradigms. Blu Ivy Group’s mission is to help client’s build award-winning people practices, inspire extraordinary employee engagement, and cultivate unique and desirable workplaces.

Blu Ivy Group provides integrated solutions in employer brand and engagement research, strategic consulting, employer brand integration, creative and talent communications.

Blu Ivy Group is a trusted partner to many of North America’s most respected employer brands. For more information, go to www.bluivygroup.com

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