29 October 2020

Five scary employer brand mistakes to avoid

Watch out for these horrors!

The term ’employer branding’ has grown to encompass so much more than just recruitment and requires long-term planning, plenty of resource and a communications team who are all on the same page. Get it right, though, and the benefits are huge; better-engaged employees results in improved customer experience. Here’s the five biggest mistakes to avoid when thinking about employer brand for your business.    

Mistake One: Thinking ’employer branding’ means ‘recruitment’

 An employer brand is about so much more than attraction and recruitment. It is about offering a consistent experience to your employees on every step of their journey with you. From initial attraction and interview to onboarding, training, reward and recognition and even exit. An employer brand is the ‘glue’ that holds all of these together. An employer brand is being clear about the deal that you make with your employees – what’s expected from them and what they’ll get in return – and delivering on it every single step of the way.  


Mistake two: Not mapping the whole employee journey

 The first stage of creating a strong employer brand is to look at your employee journey – from the moment of attraction to the moment of exit – and map out every single touchpoint along the way. A standard employee journey could be:  

  1. Brand awareness and attraction
  2. Application and joining
  3. Onboarding and induction
  4. Career progression, learning and development
  5. Reward and recognition
  6. Retire or brand exit  

Each of these areas can then be broken down into individual workstreams. Think about the various channels for each touchpoint – ask yourself, what do you have in place already? What are you missing? Are there any that aren’t working? Are your messages consistent? Do your values shine through consistently at each stage?   For example – looking at attraction – you may have:  

  • A careers website (or careers section on your corporate website)
  • Owned social channels such as Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter/YouTube/Instagram
  • Marketing collateral for recruitment fairs/events (stands, leaflets, posters)
  • Word-of-mouth or referral schemes for employees  

All of these channels should be consistent, clear and reflect the true culture and ethos of your company. They should live and breathe your Employer Value Proposition (EVP). The other area to consider at the attraction stage is third party websites such as Glassdoor and employees’ social media mentions. Have a clear social media policy in place, monitor regularly – but most importantly – listen to feedback. The comments you hear (both positive and negative) are invaluable to the employer brand that you create. And that’s just a top line view of one stage of the journey!  


Mistake three: Not being in it for the long haul

As you can tell from above, creating an employer brand is no quick fix. It’s not about creating a nice recruitment campaign with some smiling headshots of your staff. There are detailed workstreams for each touchpoint, all of which will need assessment and investment.

Accept that it will probably take a long time to get your employer brand into shape. Different departments need to be on board and you need your leadership to support too. Prioritise what you need to do first: Perhaps your employee survey highlights that employees feel undervalued? Focus on reward and recognition. Perhaps you have a high bounce rate on your careers site? Focus on attraction.

The work doesn’t stop then, either. It’s an ongoing project to embed your vision, values and behaviours across your company. From one-off creative campaigns to ongoing training of your managers, it’s about creating a culture that attracts and retains the people that you want in your business.  


Mistake four: Failing to recognise it as a business function

Our whitepaper has highlighted an ongoing disagreement between departments such as HR, internal communications, PR and corporate communications about who should own employer brand. Some companies are now recruiting employer brand managers while in others, HR leads strategy and IC leads creative and deployment.   Whatever structure you decide, ensure the following:  

  • That you all understand what employer branding means for your company, and how it will be introduced and managed
  • That you focus on skillsets – not hierarchy or internal politics

Choose the structure that plays most to your peoples’ and departments’ strengths, agree to stick to it and check in regularly on how it’s going.  


Mistake five: Failing to listen

Before you embark on your employer brand journey speak to your employees, find out what made them join in the first place, what makes them stay, what makes them leave. Research, listen, test and measure every single step of the way.  


Discover your employer brand

Email Lucy McKerron via lucy.mckerron@mccannsynergy.com and find out how we can help you discover, define, launch and embed your employer brand.


Employer brand whitepaper

Get your exclusive copy of our employer brand whitepaper here and get the views from brands including LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Aviva and Nationwide.


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