Owning the employer brand: Cross functional collaboration to success

Who owns the employer brand?

Often, HR has to collaborate with different functions such as marketing on employer branding initiatives, but the reality is that there’s more to employer branding than collaboration between 2 departments. There are two essential ingredients to a successful employer brand.

The first is to accept this is a leadership issue. Great businesses have strong leaders invested in employer branding as the best way to attract, engage and retain the best and brightest talent. The second is the need to share responsibility for how your employer brand comes to life.

360 degree view of employer branding

It's important to spend time working across your business in 'the discovery phase' – collecting information from marketing about your consumer brand, from HR about your talent strategy, from your management team about the vision for your business and most importantly, from your people about what motivates them to come to work and do great things every day. Mentioned below are 5 things you must include to ensure that your employer branding strategy is comprehensive:

Articulate the management vision

What is their vision regarding your employer brand? Are there any major themes driving the business goals, and how does this impact future and long-term talent needs? What do they think makes your workplace unique? Do they have ideas about the employee culture they want in the business? Ask them to describe employees who fit with the current culture? Does their description ring true?

Check-in on your company values

Do your values reflect what you need today and for the future? Are they communicated well in your organisation? Are they reflected in your workplace policies and programs? Do people live and breathe the values each day?

Look at your competitors

How does your business compare to what your competitors are doing? Can you find something unique that will help you stand-out from the crowd? Research narrative strategies being used in the market which you could implement.

Know what motivates your people

Use engagement surveys, one-to-one meetings, focus groups, new hire surveys and exit interviews to ask the critical questions. Why do people join your organisation? What stories do they tell about working for you? What motivates them to perform well? What demotivates them and what could be improved? How does your current employment offering, including salary, benefits and incentives, stand up? Are there different perspectives across departments, locations, gender, cultural background and age?

Set parameters to measure your employer brand

From the outset it's important to define what you're looking to achieve and how you will measure your return on investment. Ask what KPI's you will track to demonstrate the success of your program – time to fill job vacancies, employee engagement scores, turnover rates and workforce productivity measures will all have a measurable impact on your bottom line.

The information gathered in the discovery phase will help ensure your employer brand is aligned with your organisation's leadership vision, consumer brand and talent strategy. It will also help you to clearly identify what your current employees think and feel, and therefore what will make your employer brand stand out. This is your unique employer brand signature.

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