Words by: Fran Ratliff, Head of Client Services
Just as attracting and retaining customers is essential to a successful enterprise, if you are a business owner or part of a senior management team then your people – or having a ready talent pool of good people – can be your strongest weapon.
Whether you’re looking to resource a big contract which has suddenly dropped in, are introducing a new service line which requires a different skill set or simply sitting tight ahead of the Brexit outcome; having a strong employer brand is a powerful asset, whatever your size or future growth plans.
But what is employer brand anyway? It can be anything from how your working environment looks, through to how you communicate with your employees or potential recruits. It doesn’t have to be fancy or involve beanbags and a cool coffee machine, but it does matter.
At O we have clear values and it is important to us that our people buy into these values. As much as brand perception is important for us to continue to attract the best people into our business, it’s also an ongoing exercise to ensure our people are constantly engaged. There are loads of different ways to go about promoting your employer brand and you don’t have to go ‘big’ to have an impact.
- A strong brand – commit to making it strong, consistent, recognisable and clear – particularly vital when communicating to your external audiences whilst giving your people a sense of pride and belonging.
- Community and the part you play in it – perhaps more important than ever, customers and staff cite a company’s commitment to giving back and their general business ethics as being a real deal breaker, so take time to think about where your CSR efforts might be best placed – can you align yourself with something sector-specific, or do your people have a leaning towards a particular charity? What are your beliefs and can you make them a core art of your business practice?
- Communication – having an internal and external employer brand communications strategy is vital to ensure you attract and retain great people. From a quick message at team gatherings, to an internal newsletter or social network and video communications for multi-site operations – there are heaps of technologies that can help aid regular flow of communication. This extends to social media and how your business approaches these channels; they should mirror your working environment and company values, they are also one of the first places a potential new recruit will head to, to understand what life is like working with you.
- Wellbeing – definitely the buzzword for 2019, being open and transparent about your commitments to staff wellbeing will put you in good stead for attracting well rounded, dedicated staff. From a staff running club at lunchtime to installing showers or a new fridge freezer; wellbeing extends to the general workplace environment and making it as accessible and pleasant for your people as possible.
Finally, don’t underestimate how important having a strong brand can be for your people – they are your ambassadors and the ones whose testimonials really count, if they aren’t happy your customers will sense it, so find ways to empower your people so they can be their best being and truly wave the flag for your organisation.
There’s so much more to cover and this is just a snap shot of what goes into building a strong employer brand. Check out our highlights on O’s Instagram Stories (@oprpics) for our MD’s recent post on creating a magnetic employer brand or, if it’s something you’d like to discuss in more detail, drop me a line and we’ll grab a coffee firstname.lastname@example.org.