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The importance of the Employer Brand

By Vuyo Dwane – 

Introduction

The SABPP launched the Employer Brand Standard in July 2016 at its Annual Conference, describing it as “the practice of creating [and marketing] the idea or image of the organisation that employees connect with… both internally and externally, building a recognition and reputation as an employer of choice in order to attract, engage and retain employees who best fit the organisation’s values and enable the organisation to achieve its objectives. The brand is rooted in the identification of the EVP”. While it makes sense for the employer brand to be connected to the corporate brand, it is different because its association is with the experiences that employees have during their employment relationship and the full cycle from attraction and selection to exit from the relationship.

Why is the Employer Brand Important?

Everybody want the best for their careers…

The current employment environment is one where the “War for Talent” is still very much a reality. Tables have been turned in favour of talented employees as organisations are learning to put their best foot forward in order to attract and retain the best there is in order to achieve their strategic goals and objectives. Talented individuals are spoilt for choice, which makes organisations’ reputation as employers, and employees’ experience of them, key to both current and prospective employees’ decision on who to work for.

With the transparency of social media making employees’ experiences in the workplace so easily accessible, prospective employees are able to make more informed choices about which employer brand they want to align themselves with. They are also becoming increasingly selective about which employers appear on their CVs – who they choose to work for, what they do during their time of employment and how long they stay there are all choices. Choices, ultimately, say something about them as professionals and contribute to their personal and professional brand and, ultimately, their ability to exercise choice in the future.

While many employers offer attractive and compelling employee benefits and employee engagement opportunities as part of their Employee Value Proposition, it is best positioned and communicated when these benefits and opportunities are contained within a People and Employer Brand Strategy that expresses the values, culture and personality of the organisation in a manner that resonates with its employees and associates. Logically, such a strategy must align with the corporate and organisational strategy and the effort that will successfully pull it off requires the involvement and partnership with multiple stakeholders within the organisation – employees, organisational leadership, partner with the Human Resources (specifically Talent Acquisition / Recruitment) and Marketing functions. What is valuable in the employer brand and the manner in which the Employee Value Proposition is communicated and shared is that the experience is both relevant to what prospective employees seek in an employment experience and, also, that its expression is authentic, providing the viewer or reader with a tangible sense of the value that can be gained through the employment experience with the organisation in question.

Articulating and Leveraging the Employer Brand

  1. Define your employer brand – what does it represent? Who is it aimed at? What can those target individuals expect to experience of the employer brand?
  2. Create brand experience alignment across the spectrum or journey of employment – what are the consistent experiences that an employee will have of the brand during their employment lifetime within the organisation? How will these be etched into each human resource process – recruitment and selection; orientation and on-boarding; learning, development and career exposure; remuneration and benefits; recognition; career planning and progression and exit.
  3. Position and communicate your employer brand – internally and externally. Get everybody who is already aligned to the employer brand (existing employees and stakeholders) onto the same page about the key brand messages – one way this could be done is through a communication plan that will touch the entire organisation from top to bottom. Once this has been done, define how the same message will be modified and shared with the external audience – who you will use to share the message in an authentic and representative way. What media you will use to get the message across to your target audience.
  4. Ingrain and support the Employer Brand and its messaging into all your Marketing and PR communications – communicating the Employer Brand is not just a once-off campaign but the lifeblood of your organisation’s current and future success.
  5. How does the EB standard help to guide practice?

 

Vuyo Zwane is the HR Director for LexisNexis South Africa.

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Head of HR at The Unlimited, having joined the organisation in March 2016. Prior to this, I have gained extensive human resources, management consulting and change management experience, gained over the past 21 years and across a variety of respected organisations and industries.

vuyo@gmail.com

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