By Andrea Bankier

One of the biggest challenges businesses face today remains attracting people to their organisation.

According to a study conducted by Harvard Business Review, 73% of CEOs reported being concerned about the availability of key skills for their organisation. The article entitled, CEOs need to pay attention to Employer Branding, suggests that many leaders now place primary responsibility for the employer brand with the CEO or marketingrather than with recruiters and HR. Of course, to do this effectively you need to develop a strong employer brand, but what exactly is this and what does it mean?

73% of CEOs reported being concerned about the availability of key skills for their organisation

“Employer brand” first made an appearance in the 1990s, denoting a firm’s reputation as an employer, as opposed to its more general corporate brand reputation. This idea then took off at the turn of the century with the development of the EVP also known as the Employee Value Proposition, in other words, what value does the company offer employees? aka why work for this company?

Today, the rise of social media has made companies a great deal more transparent. People are far more likely to trust a company based on what its employees have to say, compared to its recruitment advertising. Therefore, we’re increasingly seeing talent acquisition rely more heavily on employee engagement and advocacy. In other words, if we have happy staff, it will be spread all over social media.

Power is now with talent because they’re doing research on companies before they get to interview. We encourage our candidates to do the same, do your research and due diligence before you get to the interview. And the advice is all the same: check the company’s social media page(s).

A quick look at a social media page can often tell you a lot about a company and how they treat their staff. Also, this is where advertising jobs presents an opportunity for businesses to really sell themselves.

Deloitte sum up this notion in their article Courting the Candidate. They state:

“Brand-conscious companies are beginning to interact with potential employees with the same care they would give to their customers. These companies are redefining the entire talent acquisition experience by making sure their candidate-customers gain tangible value from the interview process, and have the capabilities to navigate and succeed within the organisation should they be offered a position.”

In other words, the recruitment process is the closest people are going to get to understanding your company without directly working for it or with it.

This then begs the question, what’s your recruitment process like? What’s your employer brand like? With studies clearly linking happy employees to happy customers, it’s hardly surprising that most companies want to align their employer and brand strategies.

There are many ways to think about Employer Brand, but an example often cited is one about “the way we work”. For example, working flexibly.

Many employers take pride in saying “we offer flexible working for our employees”. And many people think flexible working means “working part-time” but it’s so much more than that.

Flexible working might embody itself as any of the following:

·        Staggered start and finish times

·        Working remotely

·        Part-time work, in the traditional sense of it,

·        Job sharing… working a job with someone else who wants to work less hours

·        Taking leave in school holidays…

·        Or working compressed/extended hours. In other words, longer days but less days of the week; or working shorter days but more days of the week.

There are so many options and doing this is positive for your employees, it’s good for the culture and your employer brand. Marketed right, you’re not merely offering a perk to your employees, you’re developing your employer brand and attracting the right talent to work at your organisation. Built into your recruitment and onboarding processes, it will enable your “candidate care” to shine and easily distinguish good companies from the great ones.

In conclusion, ask yourself the following question: what distinguishes our company culture from our competitors?

That’s a question a good candidate will ask. You need to ensure you can confidently answer it and stand by that answer.

 

This article is based on research carried out by Sheffield South Island in the annual Sheffield Leadership Survey. More information on their latest survey can be found here.

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