They are calling it the “ great resignation” but for employers, there is nothing great about it. Staff are leaving in record numbers, some off on new career adventures, others contemplating a less pressured life and the inevitable result is, the war for talent is even more fierce than before and only the organisations with a strong, authentic employer brand can compete.
Candidates are drawn to strong employer brands, organisations that typically inspire speculative job applications and receive overwhelming responses when they advertise roles. Their employees tend to be more engaged and more loyal. Contrast this with employers that failed to provide their people with adequate support during the pandemic. As soon as the market bounced back, their employees jumped ship, as they did not want to be associated with a brand that no longer aligned with their values. For them, the only real solution to filling their growing vacancies is head-hunting, which is labour-intensive, time- consuming is costly and does not always achieve the end goal.
At a time when candidates can take their pick, an organisation needs to stand out. But where does the responsibility for employer brand really lie?
Clearly, people and culture teams have a key part to play, given their pivotal role in attracting and retaining talent.
However, there is a growing realisation that it requires collaboration across the business and benefits from skills outside the conventional HR toolkit. Buy-in from the CEO is vital, of course, as the face and voice of the organisation – they are the custodian of the brand and need to set the tone – a tone that starts from the top but is driven from the ground up. This is key, for an employer brand to be authentic, the image an organisation projects externally needs to mirror what employees experience on the inside.
Claim one thing, practice another and the business will be found out. With review sites like Glassdoor and the omnipresence of social media, employers have no place to hide.
A strong employer brand is rooted in a great employee experience, which is why organisations are looking increasingly to hire HR professionals from backgrounds such as, retail or the airline industry, for whom delivering service excellence is part of their DNA. Providing a first-class employee experience not only helps with talent retention and attraction, it also positively affects how the company is perceived by its customers, investors and other stakeholders. This inextricable link between the employer brand and corporate reputation is precisely why HR should work together with marketing, whose core skills are; understanding target audiences and how they behave, developing a competitive proposition that responds to customer needs and promoting the same brand promise across every touch point.
This is highly applicable to employer branding, which requires an organisation to define who it is trying to attract, what makes its culture unique and then deliver a consistent experience across every interaction, incorporating potential candidates, candidates and employees. Marketing teams can also help develop persuasive content, they own the relationship with creative service providers, so can access any external expertise required and negotiate preferential rates. HR teams can also benefit from marketing’s focus on data-driven insights; by measuring engagement levels they can better understand the impact of their employer brand activity and how it might be adapted for greater success. Undoubtedly, employer brand strategies and campaigns are more effective when marketing and HR join forces. Employer brand has never been so important.
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