The need for active employer brand management

Despite growing recognition of the value of employer branding, many organisations are failing to articulate or actively communicate their key brand attributes. Many organisations are also failing to monitor shifts in their employer brand perception, which means they are working on out-of-date assumptions or might think that their brand is stronger than it actually is. In short, employer brand can no longer be left to chance or for others to shape.

A key aspect of active brand management is monitoring and managing the relationship between what insiders and outsiders think. Over the many years Randstad has been carrying out the Award survey, there has been a strong and consistent correlation between employer branding ratings and employee satisfaction within an organisation and the HR policies that underpin it. Employees tell their friends about what it’s like to work at their organisation and, thanks to social media and professional networks, these impressions help to shape wider perceptions. And these impressions aren’t just shaped by what employees say, but how they behave with customers, suppliers and other stakeholders.

Social media is becoming increasingly important, not only does it reach out to potential candidates in the short-term, but it also creates a more proactive approach to recruitment. This includes connecting with school and university students and encouraging them to think about working for the organisation in the future. Just as the advent of social media has changed marketing from a series of one-way messages to a two-way dialogue between a company and the public, so social media is reshaping employer branding. People are seeking out what employees say just as much as what the organisation says about itself.

This feedback could be positive or negative, although if it’s damaging it can quickly spread. It’s therefore important to listen to this social media conversation, as this may be the most honest appraisal the company receives. Some organisations are taking this further by encouraging employees to tell their own stories about what it’s like to work for the organisation as part of their employer branding strategies. The great value of this approach is in providing the authenticity and personal touch that is so important in the social media age.