Image Image
November 2022

Building, activating and living your employer brand everywhere

Employer brand or EVP, however you refer to life and culture in your firm, is more important than ever. We’re living in uncertain times and EVP’s need to create a meaningful reason to attract and retain talent. They need to create clarity and coherence when everything else seems so unclear. And as everyone appears to have upped their game, you need to make your EVP authentic and worthwhile.
1. It’s never mattered more

The Covid Pandemic and the Great Resignation have challenged the relationship between employee and organisation. We’re working in more fluid and hybrid ways. Companies have been increasing salaries to retain and attract talent, and in some instances, to eye watering levels that other firms can’t compete with. One report suggests that the last few years has taught us that employees need meaningful interactions, not just financial transactions.

As we enter a period of seemingly prolonged economic uncertainty and recession, what next? Pressure will invariably increase on productivity which may undermine efforts on employer brand from the last few years. The apparent productivity paradox highlights polarising views between employees and managers about working from home.

Looking ahead, do companies invest in people and their EVPs? Financial downturns are generally good times to attract and retain talent as costs tend to be comparatively less. More importantly, employer brands need to make sense of the upheaval over the past few years. They need to factor in the reality of working practices going forward and what this means for employees and managers alike. They need to understand what makes talent tick beyond pay, and articulate the meaningful interactions created for people. Doing this matters more than at any other time, as companies need to get ready for any downturn and prepare to grow as situations improve.

2. Reflect your soul

EVP’s shouldn’t be mandated from leadership

An EVP needs to express the experience employees are likely to get at that company. It’s the contract between what employees are required to give and likely to get, that will help them achieve their potential and excel. It needs to reflect the vision and mission and make sense of all these different communication strands in a clear, coherent and compelling way.

EVP’s shouldn’t be mandated from leadership. They should come from the heart of the organisation and feel authentic.

To do this:

  1. Get under the skin Understand the mission and vision, the strategy ahead, the corporate brand, how aligned brand and HR are, etc.
  2. Hear from the top Interview senior leaders to hear their views on the type of company they want to be.
  3. Build from the bottom up Hear from your people. Run focus groups based on tenure to find the real picture. Why did they join? What were they expecting, and what the company was actually like once they joined? What the organisation is like when it’s working at its best?
  4. Observe from afar Talk to recruiters who will provide an objective view and can provide some valuable insights on what’s true, verses what’s corporate gloss.

Once this is done, you can start developing your employer brand narrative. Write it with personality that reflects your real soul. This will help you stand out despite having a common theme like customer focus.

EVP’s shouldn’t be mandated from leadership

3. Keep it in the family

There should always be some degree of connection between the EVP and the core brand, but this isn’t always the case.

Some brands articulate themselves in functional or generic ways that make it hard to build employer brands on. Some brands have a more inspiring, emotive message that their employer brand can play off and relate to. And some brands have a single message and identity that works across both core brand and employer brand, albeit with the need for nuances. Different attributes can be dialled up or down for different audiences, that allow brands to talk to different audiences.

Graduate recruitment campaigns are sometimes seen as the key focus of an employer brand. Whilst many have money to spend on doing something different to stand out, graduate communication should kept within the family too,

4. Activate everywhere

Activate your employer brand along the entire employee lifecycle.

Make sure potential employees can see your employer brand everywhere, from website and social media, to job descriptions, and to recruitment events. Provide opportunities to ‘meet’ your potential colleagues. Social media, and Instagram in particular, is a good way to show a more informal and human side to your organisation. Job descriptions are often overlooked, but this is something candidates are likely to pore over in detail so they should be considered too.

Your employer brand shouldn’t stop, or change, after recruitment. Communicate your employer brand as employees join, whether through presentations or other materials. Don’t underestimate the power of a welcome pack.

Think about all aspects of employee life from appraisals to events. Weave it into training programmes. Employee events are great ways to embody your culture. Employee benefits reinforce your brand but they should be relevant to support and reinforce your EVP. Some organisations are introducing digital badges that employees can work on. Some organisations build award schemes around their employer brand and values, with rewards for those who exemplify it.

Creating the right environment is always going to help. With people coming into the office less, it’s even more important to ensure they connect with your EVP. Merchandise that captures your employer brand can work well.

Your employer brand still has a role to play as people leave your organisation. Some organisations create an alumni network based on creating a lifelong experience.

5. Always in beta

keep your EVP authentic and relevant

Acknowledge that your EVP is work in progress and can always be improved. Find ways to support and prove it.

Analyse each sentence of your employer brand narrative and map out a list of proof points or actions that demonstrate what you say. This will create a strategic plan to deliver against to keep your EVP authentic and relevant.

Get your leadership community to think through what they need to do to support your EVP, which takes it from being posters on the wall to true actions that make it come alive.

Run briefing sessions with teams, explaining what your EVP is. Involve them in thinking through what they could do differently to support and build this future organisation.

keep your EVP authentic and relevant

6. Make it worthwhile

Companies are upping their game. It’s important to do something and not get left behind. Get it right and make it authentic. People want to see people. Film gets used a lot and it can provide a real flavour of the organisation and the people who work there.

If you’re going to invest in film, make it specific. There’s no point spending a lot on a beautiful film that’s so generic that it could apply to any company. Avoid over-scripting and over-stylising which may result in it feeling so far removed from reality that it becomes disingenuous. The best films are often the simplest where real employees talk about their real experiences, both good and bad.

Given the uncertainty ahead, it’s more important than ever to define a compelling EVP that demonstrates the meaningful interactions employees seek to keep and attract talent. Use your EVP to join all the different messaging and strategic strands together, making sense of your role in the world, but do it in a way that reflects soul and personality. Ensure it resembles your corporate brand – it reflects the same company after all. Activate it everywhere from recruitment to onboarding and beyond. Consider it as always work in progress. Tinker with it, prove it and develop actions to support it. And make it authentic and worthwhile.


Download publication
Rokos Capital Management: Driving excellence and a belief in the future

Our digital and social storytelling campaign helped showcase the human face of the firm.
Ensuring wealth and asset manager brands remain relevant

Wealth and asset manager brands, what should they do to remain relevant and survive?

Contact us

Whether you want us to be frank, bright, able or all three, get in touch.

Find out what’s new

Sign up and be first to hear about our events and publications.

Arrow Top Top