THURSDAY 16 SEP 2021 2:03 PM


Paul Ainley, managing director at Chatter Communications, explains how to prove the worth of meaningful employer brand to leadership teams, and reach external talent in the changing market.

Having worked in employer brand/recruitment advertising for the last 20 years, it’s often been unclear whether we’re fighting a war for talent, seeing green shoots of recovery or about to see the whole jobs market crash around our ears; most of the time, it’s been a bit of all three!

But after the uncertainty of the last 18 months (Brexit & Covid) and the years of economic uncertainty before that, I know we’re all experiencing the reality of a job market that’s very rapidly heated up.

So as the need to hire and retain great people really starts to bite, the boardroom has never been more ready to talk about employer brands.

In fact *77% of CEOs already believed that talent availability was the biggest threat to their business before the world shut down. If the flurry of briefs we’ve been receiving recently, many of them emanating from and sponsored by the board, are anything to go by, there’s never been a time when People and Talent have been a higher priority as far as leaders are concerned.

Whilst some of the most successful brands - Netflix, Lego, John Lewis - seem to have nailed the concept of people first as an approach to running their business, it’s been a slower burn elsewhere. Often lip service but not much in the way of real action. The pandemic has certainly helped to provide more focus on the value that people and talent play within any organisation, and how vulnerable businesses can be if their employees are not fully bought in.

So if now is the moment to get to grips with your employer brand, what does the board really want it to deliver?

The priorities for C-suite never really alter. Growth, efficiency and profit are the things that drive most organisations. So as HR professionals, we have to make the discussions we have about employer brands more meaningful to our leadership colleagues.

We have to understand the business plan and be able to show that investment in the employer brand will unite and ignite the potential in every employee and together, deliver the competitive advantage that all businesses look to achieve.

So whether your organisation is looking to grow, change, scale, adapt, acquire, divest, branch out or go public, a strong employer brand will help make sure everyone is pulling in the same direction and that you can reach the external talent you’ll need as you face new challenges.

It starts with understanding who your audiences are and what they want from you. Employer brands already have a broad remit - appealing to a wide range of people at different stages in their lives and careers, across the broadest spectrum of backgrounds and experiences. So, being clear about the type of talent your business needs will help to prioritise the things you need the brand to deliver.

Having built a clearer understanding of your audiences, you’ll have more insight into the things that are important to them from a careers’ perspective. Referencing those against your own EVP (Employee Value Proposition) from pay and benefits, to learning and development, culture, values and purpose etc, you’ll be able to amplify what you have to offer based on the things you know are important to each audience group.

The lived experience of your people is critical. The key input for any vibrant employer brand starts with the things you do to create the best working environment to support your people to be at their best. Feedback, engagement and action to be able to work together as a team is fundamental. Having a clearly articulated, simple and straightforward employer brand will help everyone connect. Help everyone set the standard.

And the final piece of the puzzle is the way that experience, that personality, the journey you’re on, what’s expected and what’s on offer is brought to life across your communications. A seamless, ownable brand experience to track the entire employee lifecycle.

*CEO Survey - Global Talent - PWC