Advice

How to build a strong employer brand

By Bryony Gibson
Issue No. 05 The Brand One
June 2017

5 Min Read

Kids on a football pitch at night

Company Brand vs. Employer Brand

Far too many businesses make the mistake of thinking their company branding will take care of their employer brand, but it won’t.

For the first time in history, every employee has a free channel of communication with the rest of the world. Through social media and the rise in popularity of websites like Glassdoor, it’s never been easier for people to share their opinion about your workplace; and this transfer of control can have huge implications on your ability to recruit.

Like any brand, your employer brand is a mark of trust and the benefit of building a reputation as one the most desirable companies to work for is enormous.

The top brands stand out in their industries as leaders. They have simple and clearly defined visions and goals, meaning they can sell their organisation’s aspiration to potential employees much easier than most. But this doesn’t happen by accident.

The very best businesses work extremely hard to get their organisational culture right. They understand the value of communicating this over and over; reinforcing it with each member of their team and taking every opportunity possible to make sure their values are represented in everything that they do.

If you often struggle to attract good quality job applicants, consider how hard you honestly work at this within your business.

Building Your Employer Brand

In the book ‘Brands and Branding’, Rita Clifton describes brand as an iceberg where the company name, visual identity, products and services and external communications are in constant view above the sea, but the real strength is found below the surface.

Out of sight you will discover the organisation’s sense of purpose, vision, values, beliefs and personality. These are fundamental to any successful brand and underpin the company as a whole.

The very DNA of an organisation, they must be aligned with your employer brand, because if you can build a company culture that has clarity and is deep-rooted in everything you do, then people will not only believe in your vision, they will want to help you achieve it.

If you’re not sure how to do this, start by considering what you’d like the perfect recruit to think about when they come in contact with your business, and build a culture that reflects this.

Support your ideas with action, because being successful in building a strong employer brand means you have to practice what you preach.

If you say you offer career progression, make sure you give plenty of support for training and development. If you want to be known as flexible and fun, your working conditions and the way you treat staff must echo that; or it won’t be long until staff are unhappy and telling others about it.

But don’t stop there. A clear brand strategy should cover all aspects of the organisation, from your business processes and systems, to your methods of rewarding staff and your employee communications. Make sure they are relevant and on message with the way you want to be understood.

If you look and sound like your competitors, no one will be able to tell you apart, so establish what it is about working for you that makes you unique and make sure people know about it.

Strong and clear communication as to why people should want to be part of your team will give you the edge when top talent are considering their options; and this is what you need to try and achieve if you’re going to create long lasting relationships with employees that are built on trust.

In Summary

I’ve been working in the recruitment industry for more than 15 years, supporting accountancy practices in their search to find and integrate the best talent into their organisations. Being in the service sector myself, I know only too well the importance the right people play in being able to differentiate yourself against your competitors.

If you have a strong proposition and good, honest values, then the more consistent you can be across all aspects of your business, the more people will warm to you. After all, the employees you want to recruit the most are also in high demand by your competitors.

If you want an army of passionate, engaged employees, then recruitment doesn’t start the day people see your job advertisement. It begins long before that, when they first read about you in a magazine like this one, or hear about the experience their friend had meeting one of your staff.

If you haven’t already realised, the time has come to accept that, big or small, all businesses are being judged in the same way; and it’s public.

Mark Zuckerberg once said: “The web is going from the wisdom of crowds to the wisdom of friends”. If that is the case, then people are going to continue to rely more and more on trust. As an employer, that means you need to focus on being really good at what you do, so that your staff will tell others for you.

It often feels like there are too many potential ‘touch points’ to manage them all, but by addressing them one by one, you will begin to build your reputation and gain the trust of those that matter most, including your future employees.

Contact Bryony for help finding the right tax & accountancy role or recruits on (0191) 375 9983. Alternatively, visit www.bryonygibson.com, connect on LinkedIn or follow @bryonygibson.