As employer brand strategists who have worked with premier brands across North America and internationally, we have had the opportunity to partner and collaborate with phenomenally talented HR leaders and executive teams in an effort to help build best in class employer brands and workplace cultures.
Organizations globally are increasing their investment in employer brand, whether it is building Employee Value Propositions, building new careers pages, videos, social media content marketing, brand ambassador programs, billboard ads, recruitment marketing materials or larger spends on social employer brand sites like Glassdoor and The Muse.
All of this is key to building an employer brand that is top of mind, authentic and attractive. But here’s the rub.
Most organizations have yet to look at training, and aligning the way Directors, Managers and Supervisors deliver the employee experience based on that EVP. Most organizations stop their employer brand efforts at the EVP and marketing materials development stage. Most organizations focus on their Employer Brand as a marketing exercise to attract candidates. This is a massive missed opportunity in driving a real talent and culture strategy.
Stop looking at employer brand in terms of recruitment programs and materials, and start looking at it in terms of candidate and employee experiences. The very best and most impactful branding aligns memorable experiences with compelling messages. When they are not aligned, employees, customers, and key stakeholders become disillusioned and quickly see through the veil.
The biggest gap in the employer brand experience is consistency in leadership. The biggest cause of turnover within your organization is the employee relationship with his or her management.
So let’s explore the impact of your key leadership team on your employer brand. Why does an organization have so many layers of leaders in the first place? At its root, a leadership team is in place to direct, guide, develop and support your employees (who are both your organizations largest source of revenue and your single largest expense). They are the team that establish and share the company vision so that others participate willingly in those efforts.
The challenge for most organizations is that more and more leaders act in dual functions, responsible for a multitude of individual deliverables based on areas of expertise. Reporting and analysis, governance, administration, & project management demands have skyrocketed. As a result, the amount of time that leaders are spending on the talent experience has significantly dwindled and is often times the last priority, or is pushed off to HR to solve in the form of another program. What is so concerning is that what is being missed is that talent is typically an organizations single largest investment AND opportunity for driving Profit and Productivity.
In a world of email requests, and follow-ups, how do you ensure that there are powerful, and consistent employee to leader relationships being nurtured?
10 Key Questions To Determine If Your Leadership Is Aligned to Your Employer Brand Strategy
- Do all of your people leaders know what your employee value proposition is and what it means?
- Do all of your leaders know clearly what the vision of the organization is over the next 3 to 5 years? (note: that posting it on websites and plaques does not ensure that they know, or understand it. In fact, about 70% of managers we speak with cannot consistently tell us what the vision or EVP of their company is)
- Do you have a clear and consistent set of leadership behaviours that you look for when hiring or promoting your people leaders? It is imperative that leaders have great skills not only in “managing up” but in “managing wide” in their relationships.
- What formal training and onboarding roles do you have as a leader steps into each new level within your organization? There are new demands, new expectations, and the old adage that leaders are born not developed is nonsense. Leaders learn by experience. They require tremendous support and coaching in early days and a platform to understand how to deliver their best in their new role. It is great to have an onboarding and training program for new hires, but have you set up a program for new leadership?
- What is the balance in rewards between the development and support of talent and engagement vs company and divisional profit?
- Do you conduct quarterly Employee Net Promoter Surveys?
- Do you conduct 360 surveys quarterly to understand how consistently leaders are delivering the employer value proposition?
- Now let’s talk about celebrating your employees, vs celebrating business results alone. How often does that occur?
- How much time does the C-Suite take to review and discuss the current Talent Experience during monthly meetings? Do you have a leader in place that oversees Employee Experience and are they at the table during these discussions? That speaks loudly to the commitment an organization truly has to its employer brand
- How much do decisions on leadership potential and succession planning rely on the success one has had with people development, engagement, ambassadorship, referrals?
Employer Branding Leadership is BOTH a Show AND a Tell Exercise. Although it does start with developing an EVP, brand and tagline, that isn’t enough. If it stops as a marketing exercise, you have a problem and your employees and talent will be fast to point it out. Employees are quite frankly the biggest consumers and representatives of your brand. Your leadership, starting from the first level of people managers must understand, communicate and measure on delivery of an outstanding branded employee experience.
If you want to move the dial on your consumer net promoter score with better and more consistent customer experiences, you would be wise to acknowledge that it starts with the employee experience. Without a doubt there is a distinct co-relation, and until you start measuring and responding to Employee Net Promoter and EVP experience on a quarterly basis, your employer brand will not achieve its desired results.
For deeper dialogue about any of the 10 Key Questions To Determine If Your Leadership Is Aligned to Your Employer Brand Strategy or Employer Branding, please feel free to send questions directly to Stacy Parker, Managing Director at Blu Ivy Group. She can be reached at email@example.com
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