Thursday, 22 October 2015

Employer brand - what does it say about you?

Employer branding is far reaching.  It encompasses the perception of your company from a wide audience including; employees, both current and future, stakeholders, customers and peers in the business community. It is a term used to describe an organisations reputation as an employer as opposed to its more general corporate brand reputation. Thinking of employer branding in this way implies there is a lot of pressure to get things right!
An employer brand promises a particular kind of ‘employment experience’ when you think of the likes of Google and Virgin, their brands are strong and well known. When you think of Google we understand it’s fun, it’s quirky and has open spaces, this in turn reflects the way they wish their employees to work. To allow for free flowing ideas and to prompt innovative ideas and creative thinking.  Virgin are very much people centric in their approach to employer branding.  They have great benefits for the individual and their families for example recently revealing they will be offering a year’s full pay for employees on maternity, paternity or adoption leave (after 4 years services...) staff also receive unlimited leave! This leads customers and potential employees to think Virgin are family employers, they are caring and want to look after their customers and staff.
You don’t have to look that far afield to discover great employer branding within Wiltshire, for example Apetito in Trowbridge offer their staff secondments where possible to broaden their knowledge and this is based not just on skill sets alone, if an employee has the passion and drive they will be considered for development. The company also offers a great induction package to new starters, ensuring new employees will learn about all areas of the business and create contacts across the service areas. Another example of a Wiltshire based employer who has outstanding employer branding is Monahans, they support their staff through structured learning and development (examinations) and via personal continually professional development (CPD), they also offer a great work life balance to ensure the employees are happy in their work.
We can see by these examples the effect employer branding has on a company’s reputation.  In this case it’s positive, but it’s important to remember that whether you make a conscious decision or not to develop an employer brand, your perceived brand will grow via reputation regardless. Ensure you jump on board and help to mould your brand before it gets away from you.  Don’t let others determine what the market thinks of you, in an ideal world you should have these ideas set out from the get go.
 This can be done at the initial recruitment stage, setting the scene for applicants, helping them to understand your company culture. This should then be reinforced in the induction process and furthermore throughout the employees life cycle via performance management, team meetings and internal communications. Even at the end of an employee’s time with the company, keep it professional.  You can learn a lot from exit interviews and so learn to embrace them. Remember a happy employee or ex - employee is free advertising they become advocates for your company! You should be eager to develop this and put it as a top HR priority in all sectors but especially in those sectors where the market is tough, where skills shortages lie and where there is a need for fresh new talent.

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