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Employer brands need these five features

Copy of article in ShortList appearing Friday 02 September 2016 11:55am

Employer branding strategies that don't highlight five universal employment value propositions are doomed to fail, according to a specialist.

There is a basic EVP template that recruiters and employers can't go wrong with, says Employer Brand International CEO Brett Minchington.

In his global travels, he has found the most important features of an EVP are:

  • Fair pay;

  • Personal development and growth;

  • Meaningful work, making a contribution;

  • Good reputation; and

  • Working with friendly colleagues.

"We want fair pay – of course. We want to grow when we join and when we leave an organisation. It's not rocket science, when you think about it," he told the RCSA Conference last week.

Minchington has always advised companies to invest in research and insights, but now he urges them to do it smarter.

"You don't need to survey everyone in the company... Money is tight for research, so be smart about it as well, if you understand what's going on in the marketplace."

When it comes to researching EVP, a net promoter score is often the most effective methodology, he says.

"Even if you asked one question of your stakeholders, 'would you work for us?'... your response on that type of question tells you a lot, doesn't it?"

Employers should be seeking the expertise of recruiters for advice on the candidate experience as it relates to employer branding, Minchington says.

"Why should recruitment and HR do such a great job at the front end, and then when [a candidate] gets into an organisation, that's when all the issues start to happen?"

The skills used to deliver a high-quality candidate experience should be built across the business, he adds.

Employer branding strategies remain underdeveloped Most industries are still maturing when it comes to developing employer brand strategies, and many large organisations still only focus on branding as part of their recruitment process rather than more holistically, as part of the entire employee lifecycle, Minchington says.

It takes roughly five years to go from 'we're going to start doing something about it' through to 'we've totally transformed the way we do business', he warns, so employers need to begin immediately if they haven't done so already.

"Employer branding is not something you jump into and throw a few tweets out, and post a few videos... This is stuff that actually takes time."

The war for talent is a myth When a company is unable to find talent after using the same methods for an extended period of time, it's time to do things differently, not to "just keeping saying 'we can't find them'", Minchington says.

"We don't have a war for talent – you'll never see me write that anywhere and good luck if you can find it. We've got a matching crisis. We can't connect the dots – yet."

Strong employer branding solves the problem, he says, and it can appear in many guises. One example of long-term thinking is a Finnish ship engine company that created a radio station to engage its workforce, he says.

"It was slow going at the start... over time, two years later... people were listening to it! When they inducted people, that's how they built their brand into the marketplace."

Transparency is also essential to an employer brand, and an example of this in practice is Dell's candidate service standards, which the company has online for all to see, Minchington says.

"What I like about it is that it holds people accountable when you put it out there."

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