We’re in the aftermath of lockdown, and there’s rumbling in the labour market. A great wake-up is happening. Hordes of us have realised we can literally work from anywhere. There’s an exodus from our cities. Many have started to believe that life is too short and precious to not do something ‘special’. The result: more than 40 per cent of people intend to leave their employers this year.
It’s an unsettling time for business. Possession of a fleet-of-foot business model is separating those that have the lights switched on from those whose lights are off. And while we’ve seen a lucky few flourish, most have struggled at some point during the pandemic. As we enter the ‘new world’ (with all its undoubted drama) of hybrid working, premises downsizing, and clambering to maintain ‘culture’ in all its forms, businesses are facing the very real threat of labour shortages.
But the picture doesn’t have to be bleak. For organisations with confidence in their employee and brand offer, this rumble in the market could end up being just a bumpy start in a new cycle of fresh ideas and blood entering their workforce. That confidence has never been more important. A LinkedIn report estimates that a record 84% of candidates are doing their homework before applying for a role – using platforms like Glassdoor and Indeed to lift the lid on their potential employers and see behind the façade of job boards and polished career pages. In an increasingly transparent and competitive market, what you say – and what you do - matters.
Enter employer brand, an elusive concept often talked about in HR (and raises eyebrows elsewhere). In its simplest form, a good employer brand is the matching of your employee experience to your brand and values to help deliver a consistent experience of your brand – whether you’re a candidate looking in from the outside or an employee with your feet already firmly under the table.
Three steps to a successful employer brand
While there’s no magic wand for a great employer brand, we believe there are three vital ingredients that will make sure your business is in shape for the market shifts happening right now.
1. Make sure your recruitment marketing and brand complement each other
From application onwards, the candidate experience will mainly be controlled through employer marketing channels. However, prior to that, candidates are likely to encounter a mix of both recruitment and conventional brand marketing. It’s important your recruitment messaging is consistent with your brand to create a joined-up experience from the off and that your internal and external recruiters are on the same page.
Remember, try as we might, a candidate’s journey is non-linear. It’s a jumble of online and offline channels, some originating from your organisation and others not. It’s important that those you can control are consistent and create a positive, warm impression of your brand - it all contributes to a candidate’s consideration of you as a potential employer.
2. Match your employee experience to your promise
Identifying the tensions that exist between your desired employer brand, your values and the reality of the current employee experience is a critical step in developing an authentic and future-looking employer brand. Through conversations with your leaders and employees, explore any weaknesses in the employee journey that may detract from the employer brand you want to create and your strengths that support it. Although you won’t be able to address everything immediately, knowing where to focus your fire will help you develop an employee value proposition that’s true to you.
If, for example, you say you’re at the cutting edge and work with the latest tech, as a minimum make sure your onboarding experience lives up to the hype.
3. Zero-in on your most wanted
Being specific about the types of roles you want to fill and the desired characteristics of candidates will make sure your employer brand has focus. Building personas can help you zero in on the talent you need. Speak to those already in the role, get to know them and the route they took to employment with you a little better. Understand what they care about and what excites them about working for you. When it comes to briefing your recruiters and taking your employer brand to market, both will benefit from the focus.
None of this is easy. It takes time, self-awareness and an eye for detail. Want some help getting started? Our team of experts can help build your brand inside and out. Get in touch – we’d love to discuss your challenge.