WEDNESDAY 20 DEC 2017 11:25 AM


The word of the day was ‘firestarters.’ An unusual expression for the more often used ‘brand ambassadors,’ firestarters captured the imaginations of attendees at the Employer Brand Management conference last week.

Used by Benoy, an architecture firm, to explain how the company redeveloped its brand from the inside, the firestarters – volunteers who helped spark change internally – inspired the company and helped employees better understand the company’s approach to change. Other discussions at the conference focused on brand ambassadors as key messengers for the employer brand. Some brands select key individuals, others call for volunteers, but most use their brand ambassadors to share content, promote the business on social and internal channels and, generally, invoke enthusiasm for the employer brand.

But employer brand management is not just an internal process, though it does involve internal comms, HR and corporate leadership. For some, like Fujitsu RunMyProcess found the external rebrand was made relevant through the change occurring internally. Ian Thomas, strategy officer at RunMyProcess, says, “It only became clear to us what the benefits of employer branding were as a side effect of the brand…We found out there is such a thing as employer brand management.”

For leisure centre manager GLL, external comms was also the key to an internal shift. Promoting careers in lifeguarding to senior citizens, GLL found that its recruitment and PR campaign was also a benefit to reputation, to diversity and to the level of experience among the staff. It also helped drive older people into fitness centres because, as employer brand manager Melanie Silverman says, “If you’ve got staff that look like you, you’re probably going to come in and use those facilities as well.”

Another key discussion throughout the day centred on digital and the approach to Millennials and Gen Z. Speakers from Fuller’s, Circle Health and Capita/the British Army discussed the successes of using digital recruitment strategies, but the challenges of then reaching non-desk based employees via digital once employed. Focusing on generational demographics helped some businesses better understand their workforce and improve their internal communications and recruitment.

Finally, an examination of employer brand theory was offered by theblueballroom’s founder and chairman, Sheila Parry. She described the ways in which the employer brand approach espoused by SMEs – for which motivation is driven internally – can be applied to larger businesses as well. People want to find meaning at work and have a desire to contribute to the business, Parry says. Tapping into those emotions can help businesses of all sizes better improve their employer brands and in turn, their reputations.