HR · 11 May 2016

How brand matters when it comes to HR: Part two

branding and retention
A brand needs to seem familiar and always meet expectations

In the second part of this series of articles looking at the importance of a strong brand for effective HR, Margaret Keane looks at how branding and retention are interlinked.

Your current team’s understanding and interpretation of the brand is extremely important. It is vital to ensure that the key messages are conveyed consistently at every possible opportunity: recruitment, induction, training, team meetings, appraisals and company meetings. Make sure the message is heavily communicated and embedded.

It is vital that you spend as much time and effort on your internal employee buy-in as your external marketing efforts. But, to be successful in your efforts there must be constant confirmation and reinforcement of the brand by the people at the top of the organisation

Building a brand is a long-term objective and needs to be consistent in good and bad economic times. The confidence and support of your employees and also prospective employees depends on this.

Consistency is a vital word – a brand needs to be reliable and familiar in our busy lives and always meet expectations.

The final part of the circle is to constantly monitor how you are doing. Ask customers, employees and past employees. Act on negative feedback and make necessary changes. Use the following processes to seek improvements:

  • Job chats
  • Employee surveys
  • Team meeting
  • Appraisals
  • Exit interviews
  • Mystery shoppers
  • Company meetings
  • Customer surveys

By asking the following questions, organisations can define and plan their branding and align it to suit the needs and wants of their employees.

What is the promise you are offering to employees?

Salary addresses a large part but what else is it that you offer in return for your employees’ enthusiasm, passion, energy, and dedication?

What is your brand personality?

Do you offer sought-after qualities such as flexibility, creativity and innovation to your employees?

How do you want to treat your employees?

In return for their hard work and passion, employees love to be recognised and valued. How do you recognise and appreciate your employees?

Can you improve employer branding?

Even if you’re a major organisation with a strong brand, employer branding can always be fine-tuned. Here are some ways to improve the process.

Consider the following:

  • What are the most attractive and compelling attributes of your company to current and potential employees?
  • What do you need to do to attract and retain the best talent to the roles that are most critical to the success of the organisation?
  • What are the typical characteristics and attributes of current employees and their future requirements?
  • What current perceptions exist about working for your organisation and how are they affecting your ability to recruit?

It is therefore vital that all employees “live” the brand and can demonstrate the brand’s desired behaviours, beliefs and culture. This is not an immediate process and takes embedding. You need to invest in your existing employees. If you promote a culture of innovation, ambition, career development and training then this need to be made a reality. The best employer brands accentuate the positive aspects of the company but at the same time are realistic and create a picture people can relate to.

How can you strengthen your employer proposition?

  • Promote culture and rewards
  • Show what success looks like
  • Introduce current employees
  • Promote initiatives such as the various “Top 100 employers” or “Investors in People”
  • Show a commitment to corporate social responsibility whatever your size
  • Promote your commitment to career development and training

Don’t forget, your employees are the people who can best promote your brand by sharing their sense of pride in being part of your organisation when they talk to people.

Social media can offer a simple and effective way to demonstrate your brand values and reach your target audience. Look at your followers and measure how deeply and frequently they engage with your posts.

Remember that a brand has to be created, nurtured and developed. It won’t happen overnight, but when it does and you use it correctly it will without doubt help you win the battle to recruit and retain talent.

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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.

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