HR · 10 May 2016

How brand matters when it comes to HR: Part one

HR brand
A strong brand will attract people who subscribe to your values and are therefore likely to be engaged

Micro business owners can benefit in many ways from developing a strong brand identity – especially when it comes to recruitment.

What is a brand?

A brand is what an organisation stands for or represents. It conveys the identity of the organisation and its working culture. Employer branding is gained by the effective communication of the brand values. As a small company looking to grow, establishing a strong brand representing your qualities, goals, and culture will go a long way to promoting your organisation in the mind of prospective employees. This will help you recruit more efficiently and also attract people who subscribe to your values and are therefore likely to be engaged and a good fit.

Why is employer branding important?

 Good employer branding helps to attract the right applicants to vacancies, as well as help the existing employees create a deep sense of loyalty with the organisation. An effective employer brand presents your organisation as a good employer and a great place to work. It is key to capture the job satisfaction that comes from doing work that is valuable, exciting and important. Promoting these characteristics projects the brand and attracts new recruits with the same values. However, it is essential to remember that to employees and other stakeholders, “perception is reality”, so you must back up the brand promise with action.

What’s in it for you?

Building a respected employer brand can bring the following benefits:

  • Reduced attrition, and retention of the best talent
  • You become a desirable place to work, which puts you in a position of strength when a candidate is choosing between two companies
  • Loyalty will make your employees work to their greatest potential and always give their best
  • Employee engagement and recognition, encouraging innovation and creativity, will happen as a result of acquiring the best recruits to your business because of your brand

How can a smaller organisation build a brand?

While a small company cannot compete in terms of the money available to develop a brand, you can think about such things as career progression and a defined career path. Career opportunities are important to most job applicants, so explain how your organisation can help an employee’s development.

You also need to adapt your brand to your audiences. It is crucial to speak the language of your target audience – something that is appealing to a school leaver is unlikely to be appealing to someone in the middle of their career. Think about how you can align your company’s vision to tap into an individual’s aspirations and ambitions at all stages of their career.

It’s not just the first impression that counts, but every interaction that the job seeker has with your organisation, by themselves, hearing from others, all communication streams, etc. Every brush that they have with your organisation, both positive and negative, affects the brand. Therefore, identify every step in the recruitment process to assess whether it is performing to its best to create a good brand for recruitment. Go beyond the recruitment process and cover all angles – as a customer, supplier, onlooker, etc. Work at improving every stage.

At interview, try to understand why candidates chose to work for their past and present employers. Look for emerging themes that can help you to build your brand and recruit effectively.

The employer and customer brands must be aligned very closely. Consistent messages must be given by both parties to appeal to the right people. The experience of the recruitment process for the candidate must reflect your brand accurately and positively to ensure it attracts and engages the right candidates.

What do you need to take into account if you want a strong brand?

  • The media you choose to advertise your vacancy
  • How easy you make the application process for the candidate
  • How you respond to candidates ­– the method, tone and message you are portraying
  • The interview process and any additional requirements at subsequent stages
  • Where you conduct your interviews
  • How you manage your regret pile and how you communicate with them
  • How you deal with offering the position to the selected candidate
  • How you stay in communication with a new recruit before they start work

Keep an eye out for part to of our guide to branding and HR, when we look at how it is relevant to motivating existing employees.

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest from Business Advice.


 
TAGS:

ABOUT THE EXPERT

Margaret Keane is the managing director of Outsourcing HR, an HR consultancy that helps businesses succeed by providing practical, cost-effective human resources management and recruitment services. In addition to being an experienced HR professional, Margaret has a successful track record in general management roles. As a result, Margaret is focused on ensuring that HR contributes to the bottom line.

Insurance