Employer brand: what’s being said about the organisation

Randstad’s own research has highlighted the extent to which employer brand is not just what an organisation says about itself – it also includes everything that is said about it. Article 15 onwards gives a summary of these findings from the 2015 Randstad Award UK report.

The stories conveyed in traditional media have always had a strong influence on the employer brand. One poor news story about pay and conditions can damage the brand for many years to come.

Social media takes this further by giving everybody a ‘voice’ in communicating about the brand. Notably, half of the respondents in a 2014 Randstad study said they could glean employer brand information from social media alone, though only around one-third said they would believe all of it. As well as looking at what the organisation says about itself, people also seek out what existing and previous employees say about the culture and what customers think about the service they received. It’s therefore important to monitor what is being said on social networks and seek to be part of the conversation.

Beyond social media is a host of other conversations in which perceptions of your organisation are shaped. This might be what people are saying locally about which business in the area is better to work for than another, for example. In these cases, the articulation of the employer brand might go beyond broad perceptions of the company as a whole to specific determinants such as the personality and approach of particular managers. Such word of mouth communication is also critical within the networks that exist across professions such as accountancy and law. The key questions for your organisation are: do you know what is being said about you, are you doing enough to influence it and what could you do to respond to any negative perceptions? The multiple interactions that shape the commercial brand will also influence the employer brand. Just as employees are ambassadors for your commercial brand, the way they behave and project themselves will influence how potential employees perceive you – do your staff look like they’re happy to be at work and do they have the motivation to go the extra mile? This overlap between the commercial and employer brand is especially important for larger organisations, where customers may also be potential recruits.

The value of values

With so much information about what your company is really like to work for now in the public domain, Randstad research underlines the importance of authenticity in the way you project your employer brand.

How you behave as an employer is critical. The more the behaviours within your organisation live up to the rhetoric that surrounds it, the stronger the employer brand will be. There certainly shouldn’t be a gap between your description of the employee experience and the reality.

As you look at how to align how you want to be seen and how you actually behave, it’s important to ensure that your employer brand reflects your corporate values and objectives and that this mission is clearly articulated. At the core of this is what you need to do to meet stakeholder expectations, including creating the products and services customers want and delivering returns for shareholders, if applicable. You can then look at what sets you apart such as your knowledge and experience, the passion for what you do as an organisation, what you stand for, where you want to be and the value this delivers for society as a whole.

The need to align corporate strategy with the employer brand ! demands active engagement with the board, rather than just being a consideration for HR. It also means that employer brand should be managed and monitored in the same strategic and integrated ways as investor relations and marketing campaigns.