Often incorrectly referred to as the Employee Value Proposition or EVP, the idea of “Employer Brand” has been around for well over twenty years. For a long time it was considered the preserve of big business, meaningful only for big brands with big budgets, or worse seen as something nebulous and an HR fad.

“EVP: expensive, vague, pointless,” was one CEO’s cynical view. But no more.

In the last five years, creating a clear employer brand has risen to the top of the to-do list for Heads of Talent Acquisition, HRDs, and increasingly CEOs, particularly as its links to consumer brand become ever stronger. Our own work with the TALiNT Benchmark programme clearly identifies employer brand as the top talent priority (with Diversity & Inclusion coming in second, since you ask).

Whether they like it or not  or can define it or not, every organisation has an employer brand. Simply put it is the answer to the question “what is it like to work here?”

Today, there is really no excuse for a business not to understand its employer brand, or how it can be improved and communicated to target audiences as effectively as possible. Platforms like Glassdoor, Indeed, and Google can often provide a useful starting point, whereas direct interaction with successful and unsuccessful candidates and current and past employees can  provide much richer and more relevant insights.

The challenges and complexities of building a strong employer brand cannot be underestimated. Having said that, we hear consistent themes from employers who have made good progress with their brand:

  • Make sure you have buy-in across the organisation, especially from the C-Suite, before embarking on major employer brand activity
  • It doesn’t have to be expensive – there are lots of simple tips and tricks to make your brand stronger
  • Employer brand is not just for big companies – SME’s can often be much more effective at engaging with their local communities than “big business”
  • It does take time, hard work and most importantly, consistency

Finally, it is crucial to remember that “employer brand” doesn’t exist in isolation. It is only one aspect of your talent strategy. If other elements come up short, onboarding springs to mind as a good example, it’s akin to a creating a bridge that only gets you 80% across the gap.

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