Employer Brand * Likely More Misunderstood than You Think

Here’s a startling statistic I ran across recently:
“70% of senior leadership understand and 49% value the employer brand, compared with 10% and 20% of employees/potential employees, respectively.”
That’s from a CIPD/Mercer report published a couple of months ago. Consider your own organization – your leadership gets “it”, but your employees, the people who execute “it” don’t. And don’t assume your “employer brand” isn’t important. This is another way of identifying your company culture, the ethos that others see you as that is largely beyond your control.

Steve Jobs and the Apple brand do this exceptionally well. Not only do his leadership and employees get "it," but so do consumers.

Three key tips from the research on how to increase understanding among your employees/potential employees of your employer brand – and, critically, align that understanding with what senior leadership intended.

Align Employer Brand with Reward

“Branding and rewards should be mutually supportive, emphasizing the need to get the initial alignment correct and ensuring authenticity within the organization. Aligning employer brand with reward can help companies meet employee expectations, from attracting them into the company to developing trust and commitment during their careers.”

While this report focuses largely on external brand and the total rewards package, it also links employee value proposition to rewards strategy, a desire we’re seeing more if in many of the more ambitious, direct consumer-facing companies we work with.

Use Company Values as Strategic Link

This report strongly supports using the company’s values as a common link in the company culture and the basis of reward – one of Globoforce’s 5 tenets of strategic recognition.

“The most effective way rewards can support employer branding is through rewarding desired behaviors. Often defined in a company’s values, these behaviors can create a clear identify for employees and support a positive customer experience that together reinforces the company culture.”

Just as the report strongly advocates using company values and recognition based on them as a means of performance management, so too does Globoforce strongly recommend using strategic recognition as a faster, easier and more cost effective means of performance management in an organization – a 360° ongoing performance review based on what companies most need to succeed, which is consistent demonstration of the company values.

Getting this right will ensure that new and existing employees are strongly linked with the company ethos and remain more loyal over the long-term, drastically reducing retention and replacement budgets.

Lead from the Top
Agreeing with and working to achieve the above is great in principle, but to truly succeed, you need the CEO to not just buy-in and promote the program, but to preside over it as one of his/her projects seen as critical to company success:

“Often the most successful strategies are those that are presided over by a CEO who is visible and active in the process.”

Employer brand is near and dear to every CEO’s heart. What are you doing to show him how you can proactively contribute to the understanding of this brand at every employee level – and measure and report on the results?

2 comment(s):

At June 15, 2010 4:42 PM, Rob Quish said...

I like your link from employer brand values to employee value/rewards .... employees need to understand how they are valued if they are expected to contribute at a higher level. I think you need a few other pistons pumping to reach the Holy Grail of an engaged workforce: 1)folks need to Understand the CEO's strategic vision of the company, 2) they need to believe the Importance of that mission as something greater than sales/share and 3) they need to feel personally Relevent to the outcome. This story, made up of these four truths (including value/rewards), is fundamental to understand if you are going to build an employer brand that your people 'get' and your prospects admire.

-Rob Quish

At June 15, 2010 5:18 PM, Derek Irvine said...

Excellent points, Rob. I've elaborated on this importance of aligning employees to changing strategic objectives in a few other posts. That's why strategic recognition is so powerful -- it clearly tells employees WHAT is important, WHY it's important within the big picture, HOW they can contribute/are contributing to the outcome, and how greatly valued they are for those contributions.

A few of my past posts on this are available at these links: