An Employer Brand Masterclass Series – Featuring Thomson Reuters’ Director of Global Employer Branding

As Employer Branding continues to grow and we see more organizations building internal leadership roles and departments, Blu Ivy seeks to highlight rising stars. Our goal is to help others gain insights on how to establish a voice within the organization, create value and navigate the changing landscape of employer brand leadership. 

Today we feature Emily Harrington, Director of Global Employer Branding at Thomson Reuters, the world’s leading provider of intelligent information for businesses and professionals.   Emily leads Thomson Reuters’ employer brand strategy and brings it to life through all internal and external channels.  Emily has spent several years working in the employer brand field as both a consultant and an in-house practitioner.

Below are fantastic insights and guidance from Emily on building and navigating the employer brand landscape.

Emily, what do you enjoy most about working in the employer brand space? 

In my current role, I love working with teammates from all over the world, learning about their stories, about their career paths, and what they value about working at Thomson Reuters. It’s fun bringing peoples’ stories to life in an authentic way. It’s rewarding seeing the excitement from colleagues when they share their stories, realizing the impact that they have on others internally and externally. An aspect that is a bit unique at Thomson Reuters is that we operate in 70+ countries around the world. This means that I’m constantly learning about people and cultures, it’s awesome.

And what do you feel are the most common misconceptions about the work that goes into developing and maintaining an Employer Brand?

  1. Only large organizations with big budgets can do the work. Employer branding is important regardless of the size of the organization – your brand will be defined whether you choose to acknowledge it or not.
  2. That it is a one-time project.  As employee expectations and experiences change (as it did rapidly in 2020), the brand must also evolve 24/7. Brands that cannot keep up with these demands, can get left behind, and feel out of touch with the demands of talent. 
  3. HR is the only function involved in employer branding. It is especially important to not only have buy-in, but engagement from the business. To truly amplify your brand internally and externally, your employee advocates are critical to the process.
  4. Your brand only lives on your career site. A brand exists whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, and it lives in every interaction that involves doing work. It includes having a working laptop for a new employee on day one, a structured exit interviews for those that choose to pursue a new opportunity, and everything in between.
  5. Employer branding is just tracking eNPS scores. Many people do not realize that we are marketers, but just for a different product – sharing people stories instead of a product or service.

Emily what advice would you offer employer brand leaders to help them succeed in 2021?

  1. As a result of the changing dynamics in our society over the last 12 months, I believe there will be an even bigger focus on the relationship between employees and their employer in the future – smart brands will find new ways to tell these stories of connection. The more authentic you can be in the messages about your employees, their impact, and how the organization has supported them, the more effective you will be at keeping your business centred on what matters most, the human element
  2. The way we go-to-market is changing drastically, and many of the previous methods are not possible anymore. It is so important to stay on top of what is happening in the digital world, and up to date on what candidates and employees care about. Staying informed with ongoing research and producing current and inspiring content based on data will be key to success in 2021.

Where have you made the biggest impact at Thomson Reuters? 

  • Since joining in 2019, I am immensely proud of our work to elevate our brand awareness globally. Despite the unprecedented year of 2020, we were able to make a large impact – especially on Glassdoor – where many current employees left feedback on their authentic employee experience and provided a fulsome view of our culture that I am proud to be a part of.
  • Our #BeYouAtTR campaign showcases how our teammates can bring their whole self to work, in a culture that celebrates diversity and fosters inclusion. From career mentorship to impostor syndrome, to LGBTQ+ celebration to inclusive AI, we have been sharing stories that resonate with our Thomson Reuters community and beyond. Our #BeYouAtTR campaign was created and run by a small team of us beginning in the fall of 2019. Since launch in early 2020, we have been highly successful in terms of engagement and it has been a top performing campaign globally.

One more question. As you know Employer Branding is still in its early stages in terms of global adoption. What do you anticipate will be some of the biggest hurdles for employer brand leaders to overcome?

  • I think a lot of work has been done over the years, but the industry is still relatively new. Many organizations still do not have roles focused on this work. This is a big gap in terms of ensuring internal alignment, ownership, budgeting, and planning. I think the next few years will see expansion of employer brand teams within many organizations. 
  • The other major hurdle for the industry is to consistently measure the employer brand. There are so many ways that it can be measured such as employee and candidate NPS, quality of applicants,  social media engagement rates, brand sentiment, etc.  Getting this right will be key to determine if employer branding is to continue to expand its strategic role within organizations. 

Thank you for sharing your insights and advice, Emily. Your career success has been inspiring to watch and we are excited to see what is next for the Thomson Reuters Employer Brand.  

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