Recently, I have had quite a few executive level candidates returning from overseas posts who have asked me how desirable several big organisations are as a place to work. They were curious about my opinion, as they had heard mixed, yet mainly negative reports from their friends and networks. Of the six or so organisations they have been curious about, I would only ever consider working for two, the other four having reputations as being non-flexible, soul-destroying, horrible places to spend my valuable time and energy. Their “brand” as a good employer has been damaged over time. Having a poor employer brand can make it very difficult to attract, hire and retain the type and caliber of employees needed in today’s fast changing environment. My recent experience with those executive level candidates just demonstrates why you should care deeply about your employer brand.
How Do I Find Out What My Employer Brand Is?
Ask your external recruiters (i.e. your preferred supplier panel and some credible recruiters that are not on the panel, etc.) to participate in a round table discussion to hear what they think of your employer brand. The stories this group tells will be a strong indicator of the common themes out there in the job market as they are likely to be the people rehashing these stories at each of their candidate interviews. The information that you receive from this meeting is the reality/perception that your brand is purveying.
Ask for honesty and transparency in the feedback they provide. If there are areas for concern probe to find out more on why they think this. Are there real life examples or is it simply what they heard from one person and they have then relayed this information countless times since.
Most importantly, don’t shoot the messenger. Even if their opinions of your employer brand are completely untrue it is their perception and their reality and hence a strong reality in the marketplace. This valuable feedback is a gift that you must take on board. Don’t let a misplaced ego unhinge your ability to move forward in improving your employer brand.
Use What You Have Learned –
Knowledge is power. If the information that you have received is not positive you now have an opportunity and choices to make about how to achieve positive change. Maybe some positive changes have already been made, but you need to SHOUT out about them so the marketplace and potential job candidates realise things have changed.
Start by deliberately sharing the positive real time stories of your brand. Use all the channels available to you, e.g. social media, word of mouth, advertising, etc. Be transparent about areas that your business is working on and the organisation’s vision for the future. We are all human and one thing most people appreciate is a company with self-awareness. Share your positive stories with enthusiasm and pride and own up to the areas that you are working on. Most people have a soft spot for people who know things aren’t perfect, have openly admitted it and are working hard to improve things.
Get Your Allies To Be Your Ambassadors And Spread The Word
Share positive stories with your external recruiters. They are your ambassadors in the marketplace even if you don’t want them to be.
Appoint employer brand ambassadors internally – include internal recruiters, some line managers from different divisions, some rising stars and at least one executive. Meet once a month and update your employer brand storyboard with new, relevant and powerful real-time stories that will engage the marketplace. Ask your ambassadors to retell those stories internally. Hopefully, the staff will gravitate to one of the stories and tell these stories with pride at BBQs with friends!
Ask your ambassadors to tell these stories at career fairs, networking events, podcasts or via blogs, etc. Hopefully, your internal recruiters will relay at least one story in their first interviews with potential candidates and also to the external recruiters when briefing them on new roles. This approach will not only get the positive and engaging stories out there, it allows your brand to show a consistent front which also builds credibility and trust.
Make sure your C Suite people and executives from different functions are presenting at various industry body breakfasts and events to capture the attention of potential employees now and in the future. Before presenting, your C Suite ambassador can ask the employer brand ambassador team for the latest storyboard toolkit of positive and engaging stories and insert a relevant one into their presentation for a more memorable experience. This will also raise the profile of the executive and the company.
In summary, WHEN should a company do the discovery session or health check about our Employer Brand ? NOW of course! Like any important health check get in early so if there are problems you can address them immediately to stop further damage occurring to your brand. Then set up a MONTHLY ambassador meeting/workshop to keep your Employer Brand in check and THRIVING.
Why bother with a health check? A company should undertake an employer brand health check to determine whether there is negative sentiment about your company that is damaging the potential flow of top candidates to your organisation. It is important to understand what stories/common themes are in the marketplace being heard by those potential candidates. If there is negative sentiment, the sooner you know about it, the sooner you can do something about it.
Great companies undertake periodic health checks to make sure their employer brand is attractive to potential job candidates. If you take charge and accountability for your brand’s reputation in the marketplace the right candidates will be knocking on your doors keen to add value at your company.
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If you don’t think you will get total honesty or value facilitating the Discovery process in-house Pursuit Consulting can work with you to anonymously survey your external recruiters or facilitate a Discovery session.
If you would like some assistance with the “HOW” and/or want to work with a recruitment/HR company that cares about your Employer Brand then please contact Clare Phelan at Pursuit Consulting at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow Pursuit Consulting on Linkedin and feel free to check out our website to find out more about how we can help you at www.pursuitconsulting.com.au We look forward to working with companies that care about their Employer Brand and want to THRIVE.