In a nutshell, Employer Branding is the formation of a competitive employer brand. In the first part of this series, which we published recently, we highlighted the importance of suitable branding in the real estate and construction industry (Employer Branding Part 1). Today’s Valdivia Expert Tip is about employer branding planning: What are the requirements of a sustainable employer brand?
Step 1: Gather the Facts
When asking yourself what it its that makes your company stand out as an employer, it will probably be hard facts that come to mind first: Benefits, training opportunities, social offers, etc. Also, the status quo in terms of flexible working hours and remote working, diversity, digitalisation and sustainability will play an important role in this.
Important as these factors may be with regard to modern employer branding, competing employers will most likely list very similar benefits, some of which we will take a closer look at in this series. In order to build up a competitive employer brand based on these crucial benefits, though, further rather soft features are needed.
Step 2: Take an Honest Look into the Mirror
An employer brand does not sell dreams, but it does sell emotions. In order for recipients to perceive them as authentic, however, these emotions have to be truly alive in the company. Otherwise, the brand can quickly lose its credibility and impact. Therefore, the next step to building a credible employer brand is honest self-analysis:
- How do people in the company feel? Do they experience real appreciation and recognition of their achievements?
- How are leadership styles, team responsibility, and individual responsibility perceived?
- What is the interaction among colleagues like — in the team, in departments as well as overall?
- Are the company’s mission statement, work-life balance, and other values truly practised within the company?
Surveying the above points is not necessarily a costly matter: an anonymous, digital questionnaire will do. An important group to target is younger and/or recently hired staff. These will provide a good opportunity to also enquire about how the company is perceived from the outside: “What impression did we leave with you?“
Being honest with yourself as a company includes asking the question whether or not benefits granted are really welcome and fulfil their intention. Not all extras are useful or popular with employees. Free public transport, for instance, is not helpful with company’s headquarters difficult to reach by means of public transportation. Another aspect of honest self-analysis is a keeping an eye at company evaluation platforms such as kununu, Glassdoor, or Indeed. Positive assessments are welcome, of course. Yet, negative ones can also contain important clues, especially if a certain point of criticism is repeatedly stated by different (former) employees.
Step 3: Find the Gem
From the results from the first two steps, you will now need to filter out what it really is that distinguishes the company from others with regard to employer-specific characteristics. Is it, for example, living traditions in a modern guise? Is it a leading position in digitalisation? Are creative ideas particularly encouraged? Is family-friendliness a priority?
All this can be worked out best in internal workshops that also give employees a sense of participation. An external facilitator can be very helpful in the process. Many consultancies and trainers offer such services, thus ensuring a professional approach which considers all aspects, and balances out differing positions.