Displaying items by tag: Employer Branding

Brands have recognised the importance of customer experience (CX) and the vital role it plays in bringing their brand values to life and living up to their brand promise. The same should be said of employer branding and employee experience (EX).

Just as a customer value proposition (CVP) defines why consumers purchase from an organisation, an employee value proposition (EVP) should articulate why employees want to work for an organisation.

A strong and coherent EVP will provide the north star for employees in terms of expectations and experience.  Read more about developing a strong employee value proposition in our previous blog – Winning the war on talent: the employee value proposition.

Gallup has identified seven stages of the employee journey where employers can make a real impact and create defining moments that will attract, engage and retain the right employees.

Screen Shot 2019-08-08 at 4.22.27 pm.png

*Image source: Gallup

Throughout this employee journey, it is vital that the common thread of an organisation’s EVP is evident and comes to life in a consistent and authentic way.

According to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, trust is the foundation of a positive employer-employee relationship. Trust is the cement that binds this relationship. Employees who feel trusted are more likely to stay longer, perform better and be more actively engaged at work.

There are two essential ingredients to remember when activating your EVP at each of the stages in the employee journey:

  • Consistency
  • Authenticity

Leave these two ingredients out of the mix, and you will be faced with a recipe for disaster.

Consistency

Imagine being attracted by an exciting, dynamic job advertisement that promises a particular working environment, and then arriving to find something completely different on your first day. Every time there is a mismatch in an employee’s experience vs expectation, trust is eroded and employee satisfaction will decrease.

An employee’s experience inside the organisation should mirror what their perception was prior to commencing employment. Recruiting promises must be fulfilled, expectations from both sides must be clearly and consistently communicated. 

Authenticity

Just as customers demand and expect authenticity from a brand, employees also want to ensure the organisation's vision, values and purpose are aligned with their own. 

In the wake of the various royal commissions, along with other corporate scandals – companies will simply not retain trusted employees without proving they are ethical and trustworthy. Authenticity needs to be lived throughout an organisation starting from the top; with a record high 65%* of employees expecting their CEO to step up and lead positive change.

On the subject of authenticity;

 

  • 58%* of employees say they look to their employer to be a trustworthy source of information about contentious societal issues.

 

  • 68%* of employees expect that their prospective employer will join them in taking action on societal issues.

*Source: Edelman

How can brands attract and retain the best and brightest employees?

As an organisation grows and changes, a key focus needs to be on retaining exceptional talent and attracting new talent to fill the expertise gaps. It is clear that it takes more than just the highest salary to find and keep the best employees, and it can cost an organisation more than it imagines, if an employee does not fit within the culture and share the same values.

Attracting the best candidates

The first two stages of the employee journey is where attraction comes into play. Future employees can be influences via a number of touch points including;

  • Employment Expos
  • Graduate Programs
  • Careers page on your website
  • Employee brand ambassadors
  • Recruitment method and process

Organisations need to put their best foot forward in this process, ensure clear communication of their expectations, demonstrate the culture and clearly showcase their values throughout the process.

Retaining the best candidates

Once an employee has been hired, their experience from this point on will decide not only if their expectations matched the reality, but also if they see themselves having a long-term ongoing relationship with the employer. It is also the time for the employer to ensure the person meets their expectations as well.

How you engage employees in the following stages will impact retention:

  • Onboarding
  • Training and initiation process
  • Performance and development
  • Reward and recognition
  • Career progression

Throughout all of the stages, including the final stages when an employee departs the organisation (either retires or for other reasons), it is important to ensure your employee values are aligned with your brand and that they come to life at every opportunity. 

Creating a compelling EVP

At BrandMatters, we can help you connect your brand values with your employee values. We use a research-driven methodology, mining insights and gaining a deep understanding of your current situation and desired future state.

When it comes to employer branding, we are experts in uncovering and articulating what sets your organisation apart from your competitors. It is these key findings, that will help you offer employees a workplace that is clearly and fundamentally unique. Your employees will be motivated, engaged and productive.

We look forward to working with you to create a coherent EVP that is inspiring, authentic and resonates with your employees. 

In this digital age, word of mouth has gone viral. When you need a recommendation, you head to social media to ask the question.

Brands are paying close attention. Movements and trends coming from global influencers are being adopted quickly. Consider the rise of the sharing economy; or the adoption of non-traditional banking and funds management solutions, along with the trending fashion brands endorsed by celebrities. But it is not all about celebrity and vanity - there is some resultant social good, including issues such as equality, diversity and sustainability, all of which have been gaining momentum via public support and social channels. Brands have been watching and are now seeking to lead on these trends.

For example, the global movement that takes climate change seriously has been heard loud and clear and brands are responding to promote their activities and efforts in these spaces.

Unilever launched its sustainable living brands a few years back and have recently announced that these brands are growing 69% faster than the rest of the business. Nike has announced they will be signing the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Change Action, and in doing so will be committing to the industry’s most challenging climate targets to date. 

Closer to home, Qantas launched the first-ever commercial flight to produce no landfill waste. They announced that this was the start of their mission to cut 100 million single-use plastics by the end of 2020 and eliminate 75% of the airline’s waste by the end of 2021.

Brands can spend millions of their marketing dollars communicating these efforts to customers via various channels - but one of the most effective (from a cost and efficiency point of view) is vocal endorsement via their own employees.

Employees can become micro influencers. Qantas employees are praising their employer on LinkedIn, publicly demonstrating their support of the initiative for the zero waste future. An initiative that is obviously aligned with their own values. 

Consumers love vocalising their opinions or reviews on everything from the best coffee to new and exciting restaurant openings, right through to championing the company they work for. If your internal team is not advocating how great their employer is, or living your offer - several things may require addressing:

  • The company’s values may not align to their own.
  • In an absence of values, they may not be quite sure what you stand for and therefore find it difficult to articulate this to others.
  • Corporate social responsibility activities may not reflect the current employee view of what these could or should be.
  • Your employees are at best disengaged, and at worst looking for engagement from other employers.

These issues can be addressed by aligning your brand, your values, and the value you can bring individual employees in an employer value proposition (EVP). An EVP is a clear definition of what your employment brand stands for. In the increasingly competitive market conditions, attracting and retaining talent should be one of an organisation’s key priorities. Just as a compelling brand proposition will demonstrate a brand’s benefit for customers, so an EVP should define and demonstrate the value an organisation can bring to its employees.

A coherently developed and clearly articulated EVP will support initiatives and contribute to the building of the culture of an organisation. This then becomes central to the current and future employees’ experience with the brand. It allows each employee to understand the role they play in the company and what this means in the context of the overall business strategy and the brand’s promise to internal and external customers.

 

Organisations with a well-defined EVP will benefit in several ways, the obvious being:

  • Talent attraction

  • Talent retention and lower attrition rates

  • Overall lower recruitment costs

  • A more satisfied workforce

  • A more vocal and advocating workforce

The not so obvious, is the benefit of an effective and compelling EVP on the transformation of an organisation’s employees becoming brand ambassadors. Employees that are vocal and positive about their employer in public/social spaces create an organic marketing channel where the value of word of mouth is paramount. This, in turn, creates a more positive internal environment with higher morale: greater retention and lower attrition. Externally, this creates the perception of an engaged and active workforce. Positive, external vocalisation by employees is an authentic brand building strategy that a traditional marketing approach, cannot recreate.

Creating a strong employee value proposition should be a collaborative process that engages stakeholders from across the organisation and includes employees at all levels of seniority, tenure, department and function.

 

An EVP is built from the inside out, engaging current employees to build out the answers to 3 very simple but critical questions:

  • Why do I work here?
  • Why do I stay?
  • What’s in it for me?

At BrandMatters, we run EVP workshops to unearth employees’ perceptions of their employers, and to start articulating the value an employer brings to their working life. By distilling these views down to a core value proposition, we’re able to cut through to the essence of what attracts and keep an employee engaged, what keeps them motivated, and what will make them become vocal advocates.

Once you have articulated your EVP, (re) engagement with both existing employees and external recruitment targets commences. An action plan needs to be put in place to communicate the EVP to both audiences, and a plan that rings true and is authentic. One key goal today should be authentic, self-directed, independent, vocal advocacy in social media spaces.  

An organisation’s people will ultimately become the representation of a business, especially in service-based industries. Employers should be in no doubt that every single employee is a brand ambassador or a brand detractor. At BrandMatters, we believe strong and authentic brands are built from the inside out by motivated and committed employees who understand the organisation’s vision, values and behaviours and the role they play in delivering to these. To learn more about how we can supply more information about the criticality and benefits of building an EVP, or to help you commence your EVP journey, contact us.

 

Get in contact

Strong brands are truly brought to life from the inside out. A distinctive positioning, promise and value system are all important brand foundations, and essential for a compelling brand delivery, however, ultimately the value delivered to your customers is provided by those at the coalface: your people.

The real power of people to drive up brand equity is often undervalued, as some businesses are more focussed on embedding their brand in the hearts and minds of their clients. External engagement first, internal engagement second. But is this approach skipping over the latent collective voice of those delivering the brand?

Marketers across sectors are tapping into the amplification power inherent in employees. As social media enters its second generation, the vocal power of individual employees via LinkedIn or other sites to create and represent the brand experience is one of the most powerful marketing tools an organisation can activate. And, in an environment of ever-decreasing marketing spend, activating the voice of your employees is a cost-effective amplification of you brand.

The ultimate power here is those that live your brand amplify your brand. It creates a brand authenticity that a marketing communications program cannot replicate.

Making the brand real

Identifying this latent power is one thing, but, how to activate your people as positive advocates for your brand? There are a number of paths an organisation can take:

Embed the brand internally

Hold an internal brand launch for all employees that generates excitement and spark for your people. By showcasing the brand story, the brand values, attributes, tone of voice and key messages, employees will not only increase their advocacy of the brand, but will also understand their role in delivering the brand experience externally.

Identify and empower brand ambassadors

Creating internal brand ambassadors is a powerful peer-to-peer tool for embedding the brand internally. Brand ambassadors demonstrate the brand experience by example, by living the brand values and evangelising it to colleagues. Be smart in identifying your ambassadors to avoid cynicism, as it is the authenticity of these ambassadors that emotionally connects with others, and motivates further word-of-mouth of action-based advocacy internally.

Keep the momentum going

The hardest part for any organisation – once the brand is launched and understood internally – is how to maintain engagement. Regular brand touchpoints for employees are essential for the brand not to become static, not to become a tick-box HR exercise. All employee engagements – induction, town halls, internal conferences, away days – should work to incorporate and further embed the brand.

Activating your people

Empowerment to share

We all have professional social media profiles. Letting your employees share your content, whether that be thought leadership, blogs or announcements, expands the reach of your messages exponentially, hitting a vastly larger footprint that marketing communications alone. When you launch content, send the link around internally and encourage sharing. If you have 200 staff with 200 contacts, that’s a potential 40,000 people now exposed to your content.

Empowerment to produce

Identify key personnel with active social media accounts with large contact bases. Can these employees write and share blogs? Can they share photos from external speaking events where your people have been presenting? Can they live Tweet from these events? The power of extending content generation beyond your marketing team ensures a cost-effective breadth of thought and reach.

Empowerment to be themselves

Essential in allowing your people to amplify your brand is for them to identify as themselves. The blogs are authored by them; the sharing of events photos are taken by them – not generated from the anonymity of the organisation. Your brand can now own and very specific authenticity: your brand as real people providing authentic brand experiences, further extending the reputation and reach of your brand.

Benefit to the brand

Brand amplification via an organisation’s people is one of today’s essential ingredients in providing differentiation from competitors and having the edge on the scale of external footprint. It provides a low-cost but powerful expansion of your brand’s reach and can further embed your brand in the eyes of your customers and audiences.