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Employer Brand: Latest Business Fad or Essential Talent Draw?

Employer Brand: Latest Business Fad or Essential Talent Draw?


IDG’s Marketing Manager Amy Grange explores employer branding and why it can help to support your business in more ways than one.

Even if you’ve never heard of employer branding, chances are you’ve experienced it. Think of Google and picture a fun, colourful and innovative brand as well as workplace? Know Ikea for its family focus, whether its product design or flexible working arrangements for staff? You’ve guessed it, that’s employer branding.

In a nutshell, a strong employer brand should connect an organisation’s values, people strategy and HR policies together with its company brand – supporting positive perceptions and experiences of your business whether a customer, supplier or employee.

But why so much interest now?

The upshot is that people and performance are closely linked. With a rapidly changing environment, successful businesses need to attract and keep the best people to support growth, innovation and competitive advantage. Couple this with a population that is working for longer and increasingly interested in the purpose behind their job, you can see why it is such a hot topic and one that ambitious organisations can’t really ignore.

  • 75% of job seekers consider an employer’s brand before applying for a job (CareerArc)
  • 69% would not take a job with a company that had a bad reputation, even if they were unemployed (Glassdoor)
  • Employer branding can increase your stock prices by 36% (Lippincott via LinkedIn)
  • 62% of job seekers visit social media channels to evaluate an employer’s brand (CareerArc
  • When asked what will make them choose one job over another, 38% of millennials said “visibility and buy-in to the mission and vision of the organisation” (HR Grapevine)
  • Having a good employer reputation was one of the top considerations for prospective employees according to the Investors in People Job Exodus 2016 report 

And with more and more studies and surveys finding similar results, it looks as though building a positive experience for your people and in turn building your employer brand isn’t just a fad – it could be your secret weapon to long term business advantage.

Brand building
Having a successful employer brand centres around your reputation as an employer and what employees – both current and future – expect of you. Not only can this help in terms of recruitment and retention, but it can also support long term productivity, profitability, brand value and customer satisfaction as your people, business and performance are so closely connected.

In fact, a direct correlation has been found between a focus on certain people management principles, improved efficiency and improved performance. And if all UK businesses adopted an improved approach to people management, the UK economy could benefit from an efficiency gain of up to £77bn. Wow. (Impact of investing in people report 2015)

But don’t expect it to be achieved overnight. Building an authentic employer brand and people focused approach takes time, consistency and buy-in – but the results are worth it.

We’ve helped thousands of organisations to explore and embed good people management practices, supporting the development of positive employer brands. Here are just a few areas to think about if you’re looking to develop and strengthen yours.

  • Authenticity: Develop and use your company values as a way to test and check what you are offering as an employer, why and how it is benefiting your people, community and overall business. The best employer brands are authentic and their activities and initiatives support employees in a relevant way – all in line with their vision and mission. Take the earlier example of Ikea. They are all about improving family life – from their designs and family friendly stores, right through to their FAMILY customer loyalty scheme and in turn family friendly work benefits and approach.
  • People: You can’t have an employer brand without them. Your people are your strongest advocates and it makes sense to invest in them to support your business and its future. Get feedback on your practices and where you can improve. With a framework and accreditation like Investors in People, you can start a journey of continuous improvement too as well as gain public acknowledgement for your work.
  • Talk about it: How can you build a positive employer brand if nobody knows about you? Take the opportunity to tell stories about your business, people and culture – building positive perceptions and connections. Have you seen the Heineken interview film? Worth a watch for a clever example in practice. And with 62% of job seekers visiting social media channels to evaluate an employer’s brand (CareerArc), consider how you use your channels to tell your stories and also how you encourage your current employees to get involved too. They are your best stories.

If you would like to explore how a people focus can support your business to improve, develop and grow, we can help. From Investors in People accreditation, to leadership development and sessions to help you distill and communicate your business values and direction, get in touch to find out more.