How are the team? Are your customers seeing a positive employer brand?

Business 25th August 2022

In our challenging economy, how you are seen as an employer is becoming increasingly important to your overall brand and reputation. No wonder then that there is a growing awareness of the importance of having a strong workplace culture and highly visible employer brand.

The increased importance of employer brand

When you spend as much time in the HR world as we do, you can’t help but notice that there is a cycle to how new attitudes and working practices gradually embed themselves. Employer branding has been no exception to this. What started out as an interesting idea has now become standard practice if you want to attract the best talent. Recently, though we have also seen employer branding making itself felt in other areas. Clients are telling us that their customers are now frequently taking an interest in the employees of businesses they work with and favouring those that are seen to be a good employer. In short, how people see your employer brand could be affecting sales as well as recruitment.

As you probably already know, employer brand is a simple enough idea at heart. It is basically the management of your reputation as an employer. A good employer brand therefore grows from the way you approach amongst other things:

• Your working practices 

• How you meet the needs of your employees 

• Your values and workplace culture 

These are then distilled as a brand. It becomes your message about who you are as an employer. You want to be seen as delivering the positive employment experience that will attract and retain the best teams.

In many ways your employer brand has a similar relationship with your human resources management that your consumer brand has with your customer sales and support. If you want a strong employer brand, you clearly need robust and agile human resources management to embed that brand in your team. This is also combined with the policies and procedures that reinforce and frame your commitment to your employees.

But isn’t employer brand all about internal culture and recruitment?

No, it would seem not, or at least not any more. There is a growing acceptance that the two brand areas overlap. That doesn’t mean they are the same thing, but rather that your customers may well be seeing your employer brand and considering it part of the overall mix. It is becoming a part of how they perceive your business as a whole.

Consumer and employer brand are not the same despite their interaction and one of the main differences between them is the target audience. The employer brand is targeted towards specific groups with the intention of promoting the idea of working for you and staying with you once in the team.

On a purely practical side then, employer brand will be reinforced in such things as:

• The candidate journey from applicant to employed status

• Your job advertisements and recruitment activities

• Outreach to the community

• Your policies

• Your employment contracts

• Your benefits and rewards package

• Your workplace facilities

In fact, it is arguably part of all engagement with your employees.

How does employer brand impact the consumer brand?

Let’s take one of the items above as an example. Imagine you are taking part in fairly common activity such as being part of a careers event at a local education institution.

• You will be seen by everyone who works there

• You will be seen by the visitors

• You will probably promote your presence on your business social media and website

• The school, college or university will certainly be telling people you are there

• Your employees will post about it

• The visitors could also post about you being there

• There may well be printed materials and even media coverage

That one common community outreach activity has become very visible to your clients and customers. It is a nexus where your employer and consumer brands meet.

Now let’s consider the influence of individual employees. Your senior managers are probably highly visible on social media, and they are, of course, linked to your consumer brand. Crucially, so are your employees. What they say and what they post is therefore affecting how you are perceived. If they are positing how unhappy they are, then that is potentially impacting your brand perception across the board. Even something like what your entry on ‘Glassdoor’ says about you matters, because it colours the perception of who you are. Again, this is employer brand reaching into the public and consumer perception of your business.

Now, to take this whole thing a little further. Let me ask you a question. Would you prefer to buy from a business that treats it employees well and is seen to have a happy and proactive workforce? I am guessing you said ‘yes’. Your employer brand is vital if you want that to be the perception of your business.

We started this article by talking about a sort of cycle of awareness that builds around a concept. As people become more aware of it employer brand will become, and often already is, intrinsically part of how you are seen. If your current and prospective customers are looking to do business with companies with a strong ethos and a culture that they can align with, then your employer brand is a big part of the evidence of those values.

A great employer brand is rooted in solid HR procedures, which are underpinned by an understanding of employment law and ever evolving good practices. Ideally, this is then reinforced by tailored and effective reward management. Combined in the right way these facilitate the engaged, happy, and productive teams that broadcast a positive message.

Call us on 01604 763494 and let’s see how we can help you implement the human resource management that supports an outstanding employer brand.

It’s our pleasure to keep our clients happy

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