Employer brand statements, or employee value propositions, are gaining momentum in industry and key to talent acquisition and retention. 55% of talent leaders view employer branding as their top investment for 2017 and data from the Harvard Business Review suggests that CEOs and HR executives will increase their budget for employer branding significantly over the next few years and by 2020 make it a part of their recruiting team’s long-term strategy.

When created effectively, an employer brand lays out a “give and get” agreement based on three fundamental promises between employer and employee:

  • How the company will provide you, the employee, with an excellent work experience and new skills.
  • Your input to the company: what the employer expects from your work.
  • What the company stands for, its culture and values.

By designing an employer brand around these characteristics – and especially incorporating these notions in everyday business with freelancers – a company will be able to effectively attract the best talent.

There are many ways to state an employer brand without it sounding like an advertising campaign, starting from treating it like a contract and not over-promising. Mean what you write.

The essential test is not just portraying it correctly and meaning it, it’s delivering upon it.

When lacking an employer brand all together

Many companies, especially startups, who are still in the process of establishing a company culture may find it difficult to draft a clear and purposeful employer brand. There is no “correct” format and its highly personal to the organization’s identity.

The active ingredient is a clear statement defining what the company stands for, believes in, and prioritizes; how it will provide an employee with meaningful and exciting work experience and projects; and the employee’s contribution to the company, what is expected in terms of performance, integrity, communication, and relationships within the team.

Making the employer brand come alive

As aforementioned, the employer brand represents an agreement and promise to provide a clearly defined experience. But what matters most to employees and future candidates?

An important factor from the employee’s perspective is the employer brand’s authenticity. It’s renowned how false advertising and promises are generally discovered and cost a big hit to the brand’s reputation. The same applies to the employer brand. When employees perceive deep discrepancies between the employer brand and the actual employee experience, the consequences are very costly to the company. For example, an organization with these sort of discrepancies must resort to higher pay in order to attract candidates and often times this doesn’t work either.

So, walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk. In order to determine best practices for managing top talent, it’s useful to see employees as customers of your company. To obtain loyal customers, or loyal employees, it’s necessary to look at certain characteristics of the company’s culture and customer mindset. For example, it’s important to examine your customer experience – or employees in this case – from the customer’s perspective, and make chances accordingly. Another important element is being able to meet your customer’s needs, an organization must establish a foundation of consistent and effective performance to build positive employee relationships. Finally, focus on differentiating yourself in the areas that matters most to the customers – or employees. It’s important to understand and seek to satisfy employees’ most important needs.

Final thoughts

The first step to attracting a diverse and talented workforce is to define and execute a strong and effective employer brand. In order to achieve committed employees and improve financial performance, businesses will need to concentrate on acting upon, through words and action, the notion that employees are a crucial and invaluable piece of their organization.

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