How to build an employer brand that attracts the right talent - and keeps it
Your brand is the embodiment of your purpose, your culture and what employees and customers can expect from you. The best employer brands are communicated seamlessly via your employee value proposition (EVP) from the first point of contact, through all experiences your employees, audiences and stakeholders have with you.
But how do you build an employer brand that attracts and retains the right talent?
Defining your employer brand and unique EVP requires a thorough assessment of your organisation’s core strengths and identifying the different elements that make your organisation a destination workplace.
There are five core elements of a strong EVP and employer brand that need to be identified and articulated:
Consider how you compensate and reward your employees financially. Not just salary, but in terms of bonuses, stock options, potential for overtime, etc.
Although many assume remuneration to be an employee’s main motivation to work, in today’s job market employees are looking to have their philanthropic needs met too. Financial opportunities are just one of the key components of an effective employer brand and EVP.
A benefits package always works best when it’s customised to the industry, an organisation, and its employees. A traditional benefits package would include:
- Health insurance/benefits
- Additional pension provision/long service rewards
- Paid leave or generous holiday allowance
- Gym membership
- Company sponsored away days and team building activities.
But more contemporary packages can also include benefits such as:
- Duvet days/birthday leave
- Free fruit in communal spaces
- Free chair massages
- Early finishing on Fridays
- And even Paid Puppy Leave.
To attract the right talent, you need to communicate the growth potential of their role and as individuals. Communicating clearly how the company can contribute to their overall career and support their management and personal development is a key component of a strong EVP and employer brand.
Articulate this through the following types of training, development and career pathing programmes:
- Technical training
- Leadership training
- Career pathing programme
- Sponsored courses/professional qualifications
- Mentoring and career guidance
- Promotion opportunities
- Opportunities to work in other cities or countries
For an organisation that is unable to offer competitive salaries, offering a clear career development and growth plan can be the difference between employee retention and losing quality talent.
This component of EVP is associated with factors that constitute a positive working environment. These include things like:
- Communication systems
- Flexible working hours
- Work-life balance
- Wellbeing programmes
- Team building
- Workspace design.
Organisations must recognise the importance of creating a work environment in which employees thrive. An engaging, exciting, and motivating work environment adds to a positive work experience. But a company’s commitment to an employee-focused work environment can’t just be a slogan on the wall and a fridge full of smoothies in reception.
Continuous and sustained effort and commitment to a positive work environment is necessary for this to become an authentic part of your employer brand and EVP.
Which brings us onto the last element of a strong EVP…
Your company culture is the broad articulation of the shared values, goals, attitudes and practices that characterise the organisation. It's the way your people feel about the work they do, the values they believe in, where they see the company going and what they're doing to get it there.
It is reflected in how you treat your employees and how they feel and talk about the business. It can’t be faked and is a direct and blended output of all the elements that make up your employer brand and EVP.
Communicating your employer brand and EVP
Once identified and articulated, the next challenge is analysing whether you are effectively communicating your EVP and employer brand to your team.
A four-step process enables you to identify whether or not your EVP is landing well and, if not, what to do about it.
1. Employee Surveys
Investing time in capturing each employee's experience of the business is a great way to determine if there is a gap between your internal and external messaging.
Begin by looking into how your company's purpose resonates with each employee. What attracted them to the company? What do they enjoy working on the most? What does the future of this company look like to them?
2. Create a communication strategy from the research
Once you have conducted your research, it is time to compare company expectations with the employee experience. Gap analysis will enable you to identify where your current messaging may be falling short and opportunities for improvement.
This is an excellent opportunity to get creative.
3. Engage and empower leaders
Engage your stakeholders and ensure that everyone understands the importance of effectively communicating your EVP. Empower and involve your heads of department and team leaders; their support and belief are central to ensuring your EVP is lived throughout the life cycle of the business.
Encourage your leaders to be clear, explain the context, inspire with personal stories and be unafraid to share detail.
4. Review, reinforce, reassess
Measure the continued success of your EVP communication by looking at:
- Your applicant acceptance rate
- Speed and quality of finding a new hire
- Employee referrals
- Employee engagement rate
- Employee retention rate
- Employee surveys
Note areas for improvement and key successes to share with stakeholders.
An EVP and employer brand is not a one-size-fits-all solution – each EVP is as unique as the business it articulates. Research, analysis, vision and honesty is required to determine what your EVP is and how it can be communicated to your employers.
But the continued and consistent assertion of your brand is the key to attracting and engaging new talent and retaining your most valuable team members.
The author is Christy Peters, employee communication specialist at Caburn Hope, part of the Buck family.
This article is provided by Caburn Hope, part of the Buck family.
In partnership with Buck
Buck is a global, integrated HR consulting, benefits administration & technology services provider.