In almost every business the attraction and retention of staff is a key requirement and often burning issue that management teams spend hours debating and a great deal of money trying to get right. In this article we look at creating a brand that people believe in. These comments are based on our exposure to the market and the feedback we receive everyday about the perceptions of creative agency brands.
Creating a brand that employees or prospective employees believe in
For a business to be successful (in nearly all cases) it has to be recognised. Its brand is more than its name, its logo, its website, or its advertising. Yes, a brand is recognisable by these assets, but its essence is encapsulated by the perception it creates in the eyes of its audience. That includes; its customers, its competitors and its employees.
So where do you start if you want to attract and retain staff via your Brand Essence. Well, first you need to ask yourself and then answer some of the following questions.
Question: What do we stand for as a brand and what are our values? Is our employer brand in tune with our customer brand values?
Question: How are we different from our competitors as an employer? What makes us unique for the people that work here and do we communicate the above both internally and externally?
Question: Do we have an advertising, marketing and PR strategy around recruitment that supports and enhances our ‘Employer Brand' position
Question: When we recruit do we utilise a value based recruitment process and do we stick to it?
Question: Do we review the brand perception, both internally and externally regularly to ensure we are consistently emanating the right Employer Brand message?
As business owners and managers we generally feel pretty confident of what we think our brand stands for and what our brand values are, but this is generally only in terms of our customers. However, if your staff are going to believe in your brand and advocate it, they need to feel that you live your brand values throughout the business. We recommend that you document your brand values and then create your own internal “Core Values” that are fully aligned to the brand. Display them, ideally in a staff handbook, on your website and around the business – but a word of caution – make them real, don't just make them up. Workshops with key stakeholders in the business can be a great way to find out from them what they think the core values of the business really are – you might be surprised! What ever the result, for a brand to be really successful, the employer brand has to be in tune with the customer brand. You need to stand out
Being different as an employer is tough, but in an ever competitive market vying for talent, it is vital. Whether its employee benefits packages, training, mentoring, flexible working, corporate social responsibility initiatives or just creating a fun atmosphere, its important to communicate this to the outside world and continually remind the staff what it is that is on offer. It keeps your grass the greenest!
Additionally, it's important to think about HOW YOU RECRUIT! The best approach is value based recruitment. As you are reviewing a candidates suitability for the company, dig deep to understand what makes the individual tick. Sure, they may have the skills and experience you require, but do they, in their own life portray the values that your brand represents – if not it won't work out well!!! For more on value based recruitment speak to Nicky Coffin a specialist in this area.
Finally, ensure you review the message you are putting out internally and externally. As companies grow and change so the culture changes too, and so do some elements of your employer brand.
Staying on top of this work will allow you to easily recruit, because you will be known as a great employer, your existing staff will advocate the benefits of working for you and with any luck people will come to you rather than you having to seek them out – wouldn't that be nice!!!