(Why) Your Employer Brand Matters
Brands are complicated things.
Beginning and ending with people.
Brought into being through countless physical and digital expressions and interactions — and interpreted by individual’s personal, ever-changing associations and attitudes — it’s hard to pin down exactly where the motivating meaning and substance of a brand lives.
Somewhere in the web of relationships between creators, experiences, technologies, users, fans, haters and hype exists an idea, a reputation — a source of value beyond the rational.
In these ever-changing conditions, confidently answering the question, “what makes a brand?” is more challenging than first appears.
But, until such times as algorithms, automation, and AI take over completely (either freeing us to exist in a utopian world of leisure, or relegating us to unwitting power sources for whatever robots consider happy, fulfilling lives) we can be confident in one continuing truth: brands begin and end with people.
While technology may help in an increasing number of ways, it’s still people, people’s decisions, people’s ideas, strategies and executions that put a brand out into the world; and people’s reactions, interactions, and decisions that decide how it grows, spreads and succeeds or fails.
This makes people pretty damn important to the whole process of building brands.
In our experience, much time, effort, and creativity is spent understanding how best to engage and motivate brands’ external audiences — the people who will buy or use the product, service, or solution — but this is only half the story.
What about all the people behind the scenes, whose daily decisions and actions determine how the brand shows up in the world?
These people are also crucial to the long-term success and value of the brand.
If the outward-facing experience of a brand can inspire irrational loyalty and enthusiasm from consumers, imagine the power and potential when the employee-facing experience is just as thoughtfully shaped.
Employer branding matters.
Your employer brand is the image your current, future and past employees have in their minds about working at your company.
Whether intentional or accidental, every organization has an employer brand, and, as with all brands, the reputation often precedes the experience.
The result of characteristics like purpose, culture, leadership, working environment, development prospects and benefits, it strongly affects your employees, their focus and the work they do.
A strong employer brand works hard inside and out of the company — getting the best from the people you have and attracting the best to join them. Built to ensure your mission, values and vision are at the center of every employee’s experience it helps keep people focused on the right goals and growing in ways that benefit both the individual and the organization.
At its best, your employer brand makes your organization and brand more resilient, adaptive and forward-looking. It creates a sense of enthusiasm, emotional connection and sincere investment in the success and growth of the company.
At worst it’s the product of inertia and lowest-common-denominator thinking; reflecting what is or was rather than what could be — creating stagnation, frustration and confusion.
Being prepared for what’s next.
Low unemployment rates and a rapidly changing workforce mean competition for talent is intensifying at a time when the world of work is becoming more complex.
Attracting, retaining and empowering the right talent is key to sustainable success. To create the kind of energy and direction that becomes magnetic inside and out of the organization brands must facilitate compelling experiences at each stage of the employee journey — from recruiting, training, and enrichment, to space design, benefits, communications and recognition. After all, some of the most influential voices of your employer brand are current and former employees.
An employer brand that acts with integrity, consistency and intention embraces the laws of attraction; sending a clear signal that your organization is dedicated to the company purpose, the people it serves, and the people that make it happen.
Tapping into new potential.
The passion, drive, focus and commitment of employees will dictate how well any strategy or business goal is pursued and executed — if you’re not intentionally building your employer brand, you’re taking a huge risk.
While this process takes focused intention, buy-in from across the organization and disciplined execution — the benefits are more than worth it.
- Understanding and solidifying the company vision and values
- Defining what matters to the people you want to attract and retain
- Reviewing the competitive threats and opportunities
- Establishing the most important steps of the employee journey
- And ultimately creating a positioning and expression that feels true, engaging and differentiating
- Create a sense of urgency and excitement about working for your company
- Provide a compelling reason for employees to invest wholeheartedly and imaginatively in your success
- Incentivize and encourage behaviors and actions that turn employees into fierce advocates
- Complement and drive your company’s consumer-facing brand and offerings
- Balance today’s reality with tomorrow’s aspirations
As we partner to develop and evolve our clients’ brands, we are reminded time and again that people are the heart and soul of it all — the beginning and the end. Whether you’re a small group or a global corporation, investing in the employee-facing world of your brand is no longer a nice to have, it’s imperative to your success.