We all spend a lot of time concentrating on how to be an attractive brand to our customers.
Less discussed, perhaps, but arguably equally important is how to make your brand attractive to employees – both existing and potential.
Why employer branding matters
Employer branding matters for a range of reasons:
- So you can attract and retain the best staff
- And that they are happy and rewarded working for you and pass this on in good customer service
- So they stand as brand ambassadors more broadly in the outside world, including on social media
- We have talked before about your customers and employees being absolutely key to the new wave of Influencer Marketing – and of course having genuinely committed and engaged employees will make the world of difference
As John Salt, Group Sales Director at Totaljobs is quoted in this useful piece on Marketing Week: ‘Employees are your biggest advocates, so creating a great employer brand is also about making them feel valued.’
How to become one
But how do you become an excellent employer brand: i.e. a brand the best people most want to work for and stay with? And also tell others about?
A good place to start may be looking at examples of companies who’ve got this right.
Marketing Week highlights a number – one of which is HomeServe, at which we take a closer look…
But there are also some guiding principles that seem to apply for all. Here are our 4 top tips to building an employer brand.
1. Let your people be themselves
Having happy employees is not actually about salary. So discovered Marketing Week’s Employer Brands project.
This found salary was a source of limited satisfaction even among better paid employees. So it may not be ‘a quick fix’ to enhancing your employer brand.
What people are engaged with is their colleagues. ‘Brands without a collaborative and supportive atmosphere are therefore likely to fall a long way behind’, says Marketing Week.
Direct Line Group is one the brands MW highlights.
Its approach is to embrace neuro-diversity. ‘This means’, says MW, ‘recruiting talent and building teams from people with a range of life experiences and mindsets’.
And Direct Line Group’s Marketing Director Mark Evans, speaks of ‘a place where people can be the best versions of themselves’ – an excellent goal, surely, for any company?
2. Aim for consistency
Your employer brand must also be consistent with your external consumer brand, and reflect the same values, according to MW.
‘Becoming a brand employer must be integrated. It must be reflected in every facet and interaction the business has, entwined through all operations from back office to front line.’ So says Javier Diez-Aguirre, Vice President of Corporate Marketing, CSR and Environment for Ricoh Europe.
Others echo the sentiment. Here’s Tom Pepper, UK Director of Linkedin Marketing Solutions: ‘A consumer brand needs to work in harmony with an employer brand. In fact, it should be difficult to distinguish between the two.’
3. Know who you are
John Salt emphasises that this does all mean that you do need to ‘know who you are as a company’ before you start trying to communicate.
Salt says ‘defining a company proposition and figuring out your point of difference from the competition is the starting point for creating your employer brand’.
Indeed, too many leave it till later, says Saurav Chopra, Co-Founder and CEO of Perkbox – and this is a mistake. You want a mission in place from early on – one that ‘resonates’, he suggests.
4. Communicate clearly
And then, of course, there’s the challenges of communicating this, and consistently, across channels and encounters.
John Salt again: ‘One key challenge is effective communication: a company could have an amazing brand but this is wasted if it’s not communicated in an effective and engaging manner. Developing a great employer brand requires planning and investment, just like any other brand.’
You can’t just lunge. And hope for the best.
No. Sort out what you’re about, and then invest upfront in how to communicate that.
Case study: Homeserve
HomeServe was one of Marketing Week’s Employer Brand Showcases.
This company, according to MW, ‘admits it has been on a transformation journey since experiencing “a significant reputational challenge” a few years ago’.
‘It has created an “authentic and open culture” on the principle that “if you take care of your people, they will take care of your customers, and the rest will take care of itself”.’
So how has this gone in practice?
Qube asked HomeServe CMO, Greg Reed, exclusively about its journey.
What’s changed in the last three years, he told us, is how HomeServe has started ‘building our brand from the inside’.
The approach has been to put employees first, ‘give them a sense of belief and purpose through trust, transparency and empowerment’, explains Greg Reed.
And it’s paid off.
Among other measures, ‘We’re one of Glassdoor’s top three places to work in the UK and our CEO was rated by HR Magazine as “Most People-focused CEO of the year”’, he says.
‘At the start of this year, the Institute of Customer Service rated HomeServe as the most improved company in the UK for Customer satisfaction… We have also seen our business grow, in terms of new Customers and in terms of turnover’.
You can hear the commitment when Greg Reed talks about ‘massive amounts of two-way communication, making empowerment a real, tangible thing, a commitment to transparency’, and ‘as we continue on our journey, we know this is how we are going to win.’
It’s one inspiring story.
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