Employment brand: Why authenticity is vitalAugust 12, 2020
Guest blog post
Bryan Adams, CEO at Ph.Creative
What do employees and candidates really want?
Candidates want to be able to answer one fundamental question when joining an organisation: 'Do I have what it takes?' From the careers site, it sounds great. From Glassdoor, it sounds either amazing or the worst place possible – so what’s the truth?
Employees don’t want to be asked to say 'this is a great place to work.' They want acknowledgement, appreciation and recognition that they are thriving under less-than-perfect conditions. The flip side to that is there’s still plenty of reasons to stick around.
The 'real' truth connects employees who are willing to talk with the candidates wanting to listen. It’s also the premise of a more authentic employer brand that can help you nurture and grow the culture that makes your organisation what it is.
Employment brand as a smart filter rather than a magnet.
The reality is no talent leader simply wants more volume of applications. Employer brand is a means to controlling (or at least significantly influencing) the calibre of applicants you receive in terms of culture match and culture add.
By accepting the reality of what employees and candidates really want, the opportunity for employment brand is to help potential candidates make more informed decisions about whether to apply, stay in the recruitment process or accept a job offer.
Employers should acknowledge, appreciate and influence employees to articulate the employee experience in a more genuine way because the reality they’re asking them to advocate for is a fair reflection of what they see, think and feel.
The ‘give and get’ of employer brand is essential to elevate the strengths, benefits and opportunities on offer with the reality of what it really takes to thrive, including the sacrifices, commitments and frustrations along the way. Making known the demands and expectations an organisation has of employees is an extremely effective means of helping people filter out of the recruitment process.
Why perceived weakness or vulnerability could be your biggest strength.
Beneath it all (and more than anything), people want to find a sense of purpose, impact and belonging. This means that having a purpose we can all believe in is important, however, understanding how you can contribute to it is the biggest driving force.
Companies that largely brag, lead with strengths and portray a perfect image are not only difficult to believe, they also miss out on the opportunity to show people the difference they can make by joining the team.
Being open about the disparity between the current reality and where the organisation needs to be in the future is a chance to use vulnerability as a super power – immediately becoming more believable and authentic as well as showing a candidate why you need them and the what they can do to contribute toward the success of the business.
Key metrics to measure the impact of your employment brand.
For Talent Attraction: If we agree that employer brand is better served as a smart filter, rather than a magnet to simply attract, we can also agree that the primary measure of success should be the percentage of applications you receive that you really want.
For Talent Retention: Losing 50 of your rising stars and top performers every month would be a disaster. Losing 50 of your bottom-performing people would be a dream come true. With this in mind, merely measuring retention doesn’t add much value. What is better is understanding of those leaving, how many would you prefer to stay? How many would you rehire tomorrow?
How to leverage employment brand effectively in a crisis or time of adversity.
Remove the tension between what’s best for the company and what’s best for the employees by finding where the motivation overlaps.
As things are changing rapidly, use your employment brand to communicate certainty and extend a sense of familiarity. Use the same language to breed confidence, even what addressing change. Here's a guideline below.
Strategically and authentically balancing the reality of today and the inspiration of tomorrow.
The employer brand is not there to set the ‘why’ or the ‘what’, however, it is there to articulate the ‘how’ and frame the ‘why’ and ‘what’ in the most relatable and authentic terms to the audience.
If today’s reality is not where the business needs to be or the current culture is not optimised to support the intentions of the company going forward, some change may be required and cannot be ignored. It must be in line with the overall vision of the company too.
The employee value proposition (EVP) within your employment brand can be a powerful way to articulate the changes that are required and how it will affect or change the employee experience going forward.
The golden rule is to not pretend the future you want is already the current reality you have. Be clear about what already exists (that you want to keep) and what is being introduced in order to change toward the future you want and need. The credible reason for change is the key to maintaining authenticity.
Bryan is the CEO and founder of Ph.Creative, recognized as one of the leading employer brand agencies in the world. Ph. specializes in building world-class employer brand, EVP and talent engagement strategy for companies such as Apple, American Airlines, GVC and Blizzard Entertainment.