Employer Branding does not mean sticking a uniform on your people and having them parade around wearing your logo. It is not about promotional products, or logo’s on trucks. It’s about an authentic, real and open conversation that is created spontaneously by employees.
Some people think that Employer Branding is about the recruitment ads that they place. Employer Branding is HR generated external communication – but it is so much more than that.
In my definition Employer Branding is about a truly focused and engaged workforce that cannot help themselves but exude their ‘love’ and commitment to the organisation they work for. This does not come easily… let me look at what I think are the ingredients’ for a great Employer Brand.
Think Apple – I remember my first day working there (a very long time ago) and as I was being wheeled around to meet everyone… one of my peers handed to me an Apple t-shirt. She said ‘Let me be the first to give you the “currency” – you always remember your first.’ And she was right. Of the many Apple t-shirts, I received over the course of my career with Apple this one was special. It was my entry ticket to being a part of something bigger than myself – joining a community.
There are three clear stages to Employer Branding: 1. Logical Connection, 2. Emotional Connection, 3 Brand Connection – but I will need more than one blog to describe them.
Logical Connection. It is very hard to have an employee truly engaged if they have not worked through things logically. Much of this will happen during the attachment phase of employment when people are just getting to know the organisation that they agreed to work for. Let us consider that from the time someone responds to your job ad until they pass their ‘probationary’ period – then we call this the attachment phase. An employer is being judged as assessed on the employee experience. Quite simply ‘Is the organisation all that it was cracked up to be?’ ‘Did it fulfil its promise?’ ‘How does the new employee experience the business?’
A third of people will decide in their first month of employment when they will leave an organisation. The degree to which a company keeps its promises made during the recruitment phase is critical.
I remember being so excited to join Ansett – but by the time my first week was up I knew that my experience as an employee was nothing like what I had expected. I had wanted to work for an organisation that was inspiring… instead, I had to learn how to fight a bureaucracy simply to get some stationery to do my job. No one seemed to care if I was there or not… and I definitely had no idea what I was there to do. No such thing as a job description or KPIs.
This logical connection is about compliance – do I have a job description? Do I know what is expected of me? Do I know what the companies products or services are? Do I know how I am supposed to do my job? Do I have the tools to do the job expected of me? (how about business cards on the desk ready to go).
We cannot get to a place of high Employee Engagement unless all this ‘table stakes’ stuff is taken care of. We are not talking about creating a kindergarten here… we are talking about creating a focused, productive and efficient business that is likely to deliver 27% higher profitability according to Gallup.
The most recent figures from Gallup show that for highly engaged employees – 78% will openly promote the products or services of their employer in Australia and 76% will in NZ. But to get them talking Logical Connection is not enough to really get them talking. Emotional Connection comes next….