Is your employer brand an ambitious but obscure vision in the meeting room, or a reflection of the reality of your employees?Employer branding plays a large part in making sure you control the message of who you are as an employer. Employer branding happens whenever people interact with your employees and your brand, and each of your employees is a part of building your employer brand. This is why it’s very important every employee knows what you wish to communicate about yourself as an employer.
Check out this as well: The New Meaning of Employer Branding
Employer Branding Is Employee Engagement
Employer branding is often considered the art of crafting and sending out the message or the perception of your company to the talents you wish to attract. Employer branding isn’t only about attracting new talent, however. It is also about engaging your current workforce and making sure they know what the company stands for.
A strong employer brand is one that is known and noticed, relevant and differentiated. An employer brand that is strong enough encourages prospects to apply to the workplace and improves retention of current employees. Employer branding improves employee engagement, creates internal brand advocates and makes talent acquisition easier and faster.
Employer Branding Is Value Promotion
Employer branding can be defined as “the promotion of core values to build employee identification and an ethical workplace”. The promotion of core values starts from employee recruitment and onboarding and continues throughout the employment cycle, until the last day of employment (and beyond!).
It is usually the CEO together with the executive team who develops the core values. After this communication professionals may help refine the values, plan ways to communicate them and then execute the communication of the values to all parties involved.
Communicating about values and ethics is one of the core responsibilities of employers and many human resources professionals consider the "core values" of a company as competitive advantages for employer branding. But if values are not laid out in a clear matter, employees may not understand their importance and because of this, they may not seek to live by the values in their work.
Employer Branding Is Employer Reality
Employer branding can be seen as a strategic agenda and as another PR or marketing dimension. It can also be viewed as a talent acquisition strategy or as a part of a partner, stakeholder or collaboration strategy. Yet the difference between employer branding and any other type of branding is that an employer brand is tested on the field every day, and if the communicated brand differs from reality, your best communicators (that is, your employees) will not be on board in sharing your message.
This is especially important to keep in mind when thinking about the core values decided and communicated by the company. Separate “aspirational values” from “lived-by values” and be honest about the values you are not necessarily fulfilling every day, but would like to. “Values” do not equal “reality”.
Moreover, when communicating your core values to your employees, make sure to tell them in specific how you plan to execute the fulfillment of your aspirational values. If you name honesty and transparency as your top values but consistently make decisions behind closed doors and cultivate a culture of distrust in your company, the discrepancy between aspirational values and everyday life becomes painstakingly clear. Conveying an image which doesn’t stem from reality is inauthentic and may even harm your brand. So practice what you preach.
Employer Branding Is a Work-in-Progress
Your core values should be a part of your business agenda, not only a part of your employer branding strategy.
Besides differentiating between aspirational and lived-by values, you can also consider the top-down versus peer-to-peer dimension of employer branding. In many ways, an employer brand is a reflection of a company culture and a combination of all the employees, and an employer brand exists with or without the continuous efforts of the company.
From this perspective, employer branding becomes not a conscious PR effort to attract the eye of the right people, but a summary of “what is it like to work in our company”. Thus, build a good workplace, keep your employees happy and make sure you actively strive towards living up to your values, and your employer brand will improve as a result.
To learn more about creating an open company culture, check out our free guide on knowledge sharing below.