Improving brand advocacy among employees is certainly a topic of conversation in many organisations today.…
Businesses need to define and agree a clear process and work collaboratively if they are to create successful employer brands, found our recent roundtable.
Workplace 2025: Defining the successful employer brand of the future, was a frank, open discussion featuring senior representatives from organisations including Las Iguanas, Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), Brightside Group, National Trust and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), alongside BP and Aviva.
The event aimed to share best practice and create a blueprint for companies looking to implement employer brand to attract, retain and engage the right people for their business.
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Gemma McGrattan, our director, said: “There is a misconception that employer branding is simply a nice logo and strapline used in the recruitment process. But it’s so much more than this, it’s about defining who you are as a company and then delivering on that brand promise on every single step of an employee’s journey with you.”
The delegation agreed. Jon Little, head of resourcing & reward, at Brightside Group explained: “There can’t be a marked difference between the way your company represents itself during the recruitment process and every day corporate life or people won’t stick around.”
The importance of a clear process
The need to define a clear process for employer brand was seen as a top priority, followed closely by the necessity of ensuring buy-in from key leaders and stakeholders.
Alison Adams, head of talent at the DVSA, said: “We’re going through a change of leadership and we have lots of ideas but recognise that we need to engage our new CEO before we even start thinking about moving our employer brand plans forward.”
Collaborative working was seen as another key focus, with many recognising that this is often easier said than done.
“For an employer brand strategy to be successful departments need to work together and collaborate,” agreed Julie Jupe, chair of CIPR South West. “HR, internal communications, corporate communications, resourcing, leadership, marketing all need to be involved in the process and join up the dots to ensure a consistent experience.”
Putting your vision and values first
Although it was agreed that a process was needed to roll out an employer brand, it was made clear that a lot of thought needs to go into the brand itself before you reach that stage.
Purpose, vision and values should always form the basis on an employer brand, and these need to be authentic and based on real truth and insight, gathered through research with employees and prospective employees. The delegates shared stories of how this works in their organisations.
“As part of defining what it means to work here, we ran an extensive employee survey which asked people to rank statements about what’s important to them,” explained Jon Hawkins, global internal communications at Aviva. “From that, we were able to define our values. These values, along with a clear purpose, have become central to how we work and have helped shape a culture that is uniquely Aviva.”
The impact of technology
The discussion concluded with the needs of future generations such as Millennials and Gen Z, and the ever-changing technology available to communicate with this new workforce.
Cost and complex organisational structures were cited as barriers for some when looking at new technology and social platforms, while others were able to embrace what was already available in the marketplace.
“We have a closed Facebook group for our thousands of staff based across 46 locations and it is generating lots of ideas, collaboration, team work, healthy competition, and encouraging relationship building,” explained Angela Da Silva, head of talent & leadership development at Las Iguanas. “We’re also able to lift some of this content and use in our own external social media channels. The content is authentic, real and reflects company spirit and culture. We tapped into a channel that was already being used by our colleagues.”
Workplace 2025: Defining the successful employer brand of the future was part of a campaign being ran by Synergy Creative to raise awareness of employer branding to UK businesses. It began with a whitepaper on the topic, which features comments from companies including LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Morrisons and ODEON.
Our director Gemma concluded: “This was a fascinating insight into how companies in the region are exploring and defining their employer brand. Some great advice and stories were shared, and we hope that the 10 step plan proves useful for other businesses in their employer brand journey.”