Building a Strong Employer Brand
An employer's brand has become a critical component of attracting and retaining top talent. Employers are updating their benefits to include perks like social gatherings to revamping severance pay packages in order to remain competitive and be viewed as an employer of choice. But what organizational components are necessary to build a strong employer brand? What factors should executives and boards be considering when trying to attract and retain executive talent?
In our Executive Talent 2025 research, clients mark ‘employer brand’ as being the greatest challenge to attracting top executive talent. Can you unpack what makes employer branding so challenging for today’s organizations? What can CEOs and Boards do to influence a stronger employer brand for their companies?
Your organization’s success depends on the quality of your people and their connectedness to you. Yet so many employers still treat recruitment as a reactive admin process, and build their employee experience around a ping pong table and booze on a Friday. Unfortunately, many companies who ARE trying to shape their employer brand are being led down a path of marketing hype and overselling.
Three pieces of advice!
- Build a clear, actionable people strategy. If you only think about recruitment when someone resigns, you’ll struggle to consistently attract the best talent. If you measure employee engagement through one annual survey, you’ll struggle to stay connected to your people. What is your plan for attracting and empowering the right people, so that they stay, deliver results and contribute to your culture?
- Develop a unique, AUTHENTIC Employee Value Proposition, built with your current people. Shaping your employer brand starts with articulating, succinctly and consistently, why you’re a great choice for the right people. By combining proven research methods with strategic thinking and creativity, you can capture and bring to life the essence of your talent offer.
- Avoid the hype and fake marketing. Show your people stories. Employer branding is about proudly, honestly showing who you are and who you’re not. It’s not about over-glossy videos and marketing gimmicks. The best way to attract future talent is to show your current people, embedded, connected and performing. And if you want people to connect with you, don’t lie or over-exaggerate. We can all smell it a mile away.
In today’s market, the competition for top talent is fierce and candidates have many options. However, implementing an employer brand can take time and be quite difficult for mid-size and smaller organizations. What tips can you offer smaller organizations looking to change their employer brand to both attract and retain top talent? What are some advantages smaller organizations have?
You may not have much time or budget, but you do have a potentially much more powerful talent offer! There are 5 common attraction factors of smaller employers:
- More involvement and ownership
- Greater personal impact and visibility
- Accelerated growth and a stronger resume story
- Better, more authentic communications
- Connected people, closer relationships, joint purpose
Different people want different things but small businesses often enable greater opportunities to ‘belong’, to take ownership, and to deliver a meaningful, visible impact. Again, open the windows and show your people. I also offer several tips on how smaller businesses can beat the bigger players on talent.
Activating an employer brand in the workplace culture is an opportunity for a company to demonstrate its commitment to its mission and values. Executive search and leadership consultants are increasingly partnering with organizations on executive talent solutions that include culture shaping and culture assessment. What are some of the immediate and long-term benefits clients gain in working with external advisors on their employer brand?
It’s about expertise, objectivity and focus, in that order. While I may be biased, I’ve rarely seen this stuff convert to results when conducted entirely in-house. It’s about a partnership. That said, you should choose your partners very carefully. I’ve seen so many leaders finally get the green light to do something strategic in this space, choose the wrong ‘experts’ and end up delivering disappointing results.
You will be speaking at AESC’s APAC Conference on August 20, providing insights to leaders within our profession on how to harness the huge potential of their employer brand. What can attendees look forward to learning about in your session?
I want to turn employer branding from theory and conference chat to practical action and impact. We’ll do that through actionable insights, best practice examples and real stories giving attendees an opportunity to feel inspired and energized to help their clients and firm get serious on employer branding.
Connect with Mark, AESC and others at the AESC APAC Conference.