TUESDAY 12 MAY 2020 3:49 PM


Graeme Johnson, director of resourcing at GVC Group writes about the great impact an employer brand event can have on a company.

Employer brand events are on the rise. When I think about why that is, I’ve seen a clear shift in thinking in the past five years – from executing an employer brand launch externally first (with a recruiting objective) to internally first (with a longer-term, sustainable business objective focused on engagement and retention).

I see employer brand work having most success in 2020 when it’s honest, with clear repelling as well as compelling messaging, developed in tight partnership between talent acquisition, brand and internal communication teams.

Employer brand, in my view, is the lived experience of working in an organisation. So, if you’re confident enough that you’ve got it right, then what bigger test than to put on an event to engage your whole organisation? A rallying cry. A reason for everyone to believe and be energised about the future. Put your employer brand on stage.

And that’s exactly what we did at GVC.

After 6 months of research, focus groups, surveys and leadership interviews across 23 brands and 12 key offices across the globe, not only had we discovered a compelling employer brand, but we’d  also discovered a story that re-wrote the rules of employer brand and became our company brand, purpose and values all in one!


We gathered 2,000 people in London at Here East in the Olympic Park. We streamed live to 12 offices around the world and made the show available to our 18,000 retail colleagues across the UK in our Ladbrokes and Coral shops. Lynsey Hipgrave, from BT Sport, was our live MC to stitch the event together, a showcase of ‘the story of our employer brand’.

We picked out stories from our research, we used examples of employees who are great representatives of our culture, and we made them heroes. It was a celebration and recognition of our people and what makes our company so special. What’s more, it was led by our CEO, on stage.  For one hour we had the captive attention of the whole business, with our CEO talking about the reputational impact and commercial importance of employer brand.

We have a bunch of metrics to measure the success of the event. But none greater that the millions of goosebumps we created. It was an incredible success and the start of embedding a new employer brand which we’re all immensely proud of. It has been without doubt the most successful employer brand launch I’ve seen or been involved in, the most impactful and most fun. I’ve since been asked if you should dial down the ambition and have a smaller launch. My view is that you could. But I wouldn’t.