Somewhere along the line, we let employer branding get wrapped up in a stigma of being fluffy, treating it as an afterthought once the consumer brand is sorted. When people hear ‘employer branding’ their minds leap to thinking about the values, the mission, the purpose, benefits and salary package, Glassdoor reviews - and in a drive to get all of that in order, we get distracted from what employer branding really is.
When you set up a business, you set out to achieve something. And in order to achieve it and grow it to be successful, you tend to need a few people to sign up and follow along. For that to happen, you need to be able to clearly articulate what it is you’re trying to achieve and what’s in it for someone if they join.
This is what underpins all of the strongest employer brands: a strong sense of who they are, what the goals are, and why someone should join. You can have as many free snacks and gym memberships as you like, but if you don’t articulate that in the right way, your employer brand will have faulty foundations.
A sense of belonging
The other thing we get asked a lot is ‘who does the employer brand of a business belong to?’ Should it sit with the brand and marketing teams? Or does it live more naturally with the people and talent teams?
This can vary from business to business, depending on the size and locations of teams but the best way to avoid your employer brand becoming the lost child of the company is to set up a task force that brings in as many areas of the business as possible.
Your finance, legal and engineering teams should have as strong a say in what your employer brand stands for as the people and brand teams; and will be more willing advocates for it if you they have a forum to share ideas.
At its best, employer branding is the thing that gives a business an identity and a gravitational pull. It takes a diverse collection of people and pulls them together to achieve the same goals. Without one, your business runs the risk of operating with a cavity or in silos. It should be treated as a long-term strategy for achieving business goals rather than a short-term tactic for talent attraction.
The reason people should care is because your people are the greatest competitive advantage you can have and it's your employer brand that guides how they think about you and behave.
Hattie Ghaui, head of creative projects at Wiser.