The Link Between Employer Brand and Workplace Culture

There are varying levels of agreement on which is more important in talent attraction and engagement, Employer Brand or Workplace Culture. However, both can drastically impact organizations and talent everywhere. So what is the link between the two? How does one affect the other? What happens if one is out of sync with the other? These are some of the questions we’ll answer in this blog. 

Semantics.

What is an Employer Brand? An Employer Brand is a company’s reputation as a place of work, and is shaped by an employee value proposition (EVP), what employees value most about an organization. When it comes to your reputation as an employer, it’s based on the perspectives of internal and external talent. Whether you actively manage your employer brand or not, all organizations have one.

What is Workplace Culture? One definition, according to Aristotle and HBR, is that it is “consistent, observable patterns of behaviours in organizations”. These repeated behaviours begin to define your core workplace culture and influence how people think, feel, and act at work. 

Employer Brand Is Influenced by Workplace Culture.

This is a matter of fact, not opinion. An employer brand is your reputation as a place of work, created by the perceptions of internal and external talent. Since how your employees think, feel and act at work (your culture) is a big part of that, you culture influences your employer brand. 

Not all companies promote an employer brand that accurately represents their culture though. For starters, a company may create recruitment and employer brand marketing materials without having a good sense about how their employees feel about them. That can result in projecting a false image. Of course, there are also companies who say what they feel they need to say to attract talent, whether or not it’s accurate.

In today’s digital and consumer-driven world, you can’t hide workplace culture with clever campaigns. Sites like Glassdoor and Indeed give employees a protected and anonymous forum to share what life is really like at their workplace. Workplace culture is now on display for all to see. In the process, a company’s employer brand is influenced by their workplace culture.

Workplace Culture Can Be Shaped By Employer Brand.

Who you say you are as an employer forms something called a Psychological Contract, and this can shape what an employee expects of you as an employer. The basic idea behind Psychological Contracts is that they form through communication between an employer and employee. Everything that you say as an employer – about compensation, benefits, policies, work environment, etc. – creates an implied promise of what you will deliver. Since employer branding highlights what you have to offer as an employer, the messages that you share not only create a perception of who you are, but what you will deliver. If you get it wrong, you’ll create expectations that you’re unable to fulfill. This results in disengaged employees and often turnover. If you get it right, you’ll share compelling brand messages that will inspire talent and align with what you offer. 

The Beer Store is a great example of how employer brand work can be a catalyst for change and can boost employee pride. By conducting employee research and using employee stories as part of their employer brand launch, the Beer Store was able to drive a 40% increase in employee engagement in 12 months. They also saw a remarkable increase in Glassdoor rating, positive business outlook, leadership behaviours, and employer pride. All of these metrics where critical in helping them drive change and achieve their strategic objectives. 

Great Employer Brands Are Aligned With Workplace Culture. 

We now know that employer brands can shape workplace culture and vice versa, but GREAT employer brands and cultures aren’t just linked, they’re ALIGNED. It all comes down to “walking the talk’. When an employer brand is authentic, aligned with workplace culture, and showcases what employees value most (your EVP), that’s when you really see the benefit. You attract the right type of talent to enhance your existing workplace culture. You promote employer brand stories that create pride, trust, and inspire your existing employees. You share messaging that is aligned with who you are today and where you’re heading, which helps steer your organization and culture. And you continually communicate and deliver the culture that you’re trying to create. So, when managed well, a great employer brand not only creates an attractive facade, it contributes to your culture and organizational foundation.

 

Photo Credit:  Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

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