The unwritten or psychological contract

Employer branding isn’t just about recruitment. Research indicates that a positive employer brand can enhance employee engagement, increase loyalty and reduce staff turnover.

Within the workforce, the employer brand is strongly influenced by what has come to be known as the ‘psychological contract’. This goes beyond the physical contract to what your employees believe the relationship between you and them to be. This is shaped in job interviews, meetings, custom and practice. Key determinants include the use of skills, quality of management, support for career development and care you and they take over the working environment. It’s also important to recognise that this is a two-way process that includes how they behave and support your objectives.

Making this work requires an honest and mature relationship between you and your employees. Economic realities mean that you may not be able to offer the levels of pay that many people might want, for example. But you can offer training and guidance that will enable employees to develop strong career prospects. Similarly, a psychological contract and underlying employer brand that are built around long- term job security will not be relevant to temporary workers, who may only be with you for a few days. But you can make sure they are welcomed into the team and can gain experience that will improve their ability to secure the next assignment when they leave.