This may surprise you, but you already have an employer brand. As long as you have employees, candidates and customers you have an employer brand, no matter how small your business. And as long as people can form an opinion (and express it to others),you have an employer brand. It is developed by default and simply means that your organisation has a reputation as a place to work. It may not be the reputation you would want, or that accurately reflects the internal reality of working for your organisation, but there is a brand.
This book is written for small businesses whose owners tend to have little time and limited resources, so I am deliberately simplifying and shortening the processes that you can take to build your employer brand. One of the great things about smaller businesses is their dynamism. It often means you can make meaningful and profound changes very quickly and achieve results equally quickly.
What’s your employer brand? Jot down a few words to describe it. If you struggle to define it, prospective employees probably haven’t correctly understood your brand either.
Base your employer brand on research. Consider the following.
- What are the most attractive elements of your business to both current and potential employees as a place to work?
- What roles within the company are most critical to your success?
- What do you need to do to attract and retain the best talent in these critical areas?
- What are the typical characteristics and attributes of current employees?
- What are the current perceptions of working within the organisation?
- How are they affecting your current ability to recruit the best talent?
Find out what it is your audience wants. Talk to your current employees about what they like about working for your company and how they would sell their job to others. Coming out of this exercise you may well find you have to deal with some difficult responses. Be prepared to give some thought as to how to respond and whether it is appropriate to make changes.
With a clear understanding of these areas you can then define an outline of where you are now, what you would like your employer brand to be and the steps required to get there, all of which form the basis for your employer brand strategy.
Remember that your employer brand can’t be forced onto employees. That means true employee engagement only happens if the brand is embedded into the culture of the organisation, lived and breathed by everyone and underpinned by a leadership team that leads by example.
Getting and keeping good quality employees is expensive so it’s worth taking the time to get your employer branding right.
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