Employment3 Apr 2023
Activating your Employer Brand: A Step-by-Step Guide
Developing your Employee Value Proposition and Employer Brand is a great start. But they are only tools and unless you activate them in market, they won’t make a difference. Don’t treat your Employer Brand like a one-off marketing campaign that ends up gathering dust on a shelf. Your Employer Brand is a living entity that continuously works 24/7 to help you attract, engage and retain the right talent for your business moving forward.
By taking a pro-active approach and continuously engaging with your current employees, potential candidates and the talent market in general means your Employer Brand has a much higher chance of being effective.
Central to success is what we call Employer Brand Activation. This means operationalising your Employer Brand by applying it in a relevant way to every touchpoint in the candidate and employee ecosystem.
Activation brings to life your EVP through Employer Branding initiatives that; capture the heart of your workforce, convincing them to believe in your employer brand; providing them with the proper knowledge, cultural insights, values and tools to quickly and clearly understand “what am I signing up for here!”
In an era of heightened competition for talent, it is essential to recognise the power of seeing your Employer Brand as a whole-of-business asset.
While external messaging strategies are critical, an internal activation campaign can also be a powerful tool for galvanising and empowering employees to remain loyal to your company. By reinforcing why your workplace is exceptional, you can prevent top talent from being lured away by rival employers.
Moreover, initiating an internal activation campaign can provide swift victories and valuable insights before proceeding with external efforts. By commencing with an internal activation campaign, you can assess the extent to which your Employer Brand is embodied and embraced and identify opportunities for advocacy via employee brand ambassadors to promote your company's reputation as a top employer.
Use your Employer Brand Strategy as a guide to content creation and communication
When you want to activate your Employer Brand, you must develop and communicate content that connects candidates and employees with the things that they value most. You can do this by leveraging the messaging in your Employee Value Proposition. Then knowing which talent segments you wish to connect with, create EVP-aligned content that will resonate with them, promoting it via channels where they like to ‘hang out’. That may be on Facebook, LinkedIn, Insta, YouTube, careers expos, on job boards or even cinema or radio depending on your audience. Keep in mind you want to adapt your content to be suitable for all these different channels to maximise engagement.
Your Employer Brand strategy is a plan of action designed over time to attract, engage and retain the right talent to meet your organisational objectives. Depending on those objectives, your Employer Brand may need to position your employee experience to keep the talent you have, or attract a different type of talent that you don’t have. Your Employer Brand may even be required to encourage natural attrition in certain areas. Every business is different and has different needs over time. Your Employer Brand strategy is a combination of brand positioning (i.e. who we are and what sets us apart) and brand marketing (promoting that positioning to the right talent through the right channels at the right time).
Your Employee Value Proposition and the cultural values of your organisation are suitable foundations to activate your Employer Brand. Within your EVP, the strategic messaging pillars and proof points that support them are both inspiration and evidence that you can leverage to keep creating new content again and again, helping bring your Employer Brand to life in a strategic way; authentically, relatable and differentiating.
Leverage your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) to create a library of authentic people stories
Your EVP helps establish credibility with your target audiences. When your EVP combines with real employee experiences, it helps authenticate your Employer Brand in a relatable way. Creating a library of employee stories is a powerful asset that you can use again and again to build that trust.
Your EVP strategic pillars, help showcase both the tangible and intangible benefits for working for you. They also help set you apart from other employers. That’s why it’s so important to build your employee storytelling around these pillars. To source employee stories, survey your employees about the EVP strategic pillars and ask them which EVP pillar resonates the most and why. Ask them to share a specific moment or story that brings that to life. It’s a good idea to survey at least 2 people per talent or divisional segment. Then use these surveys to identify the most engaging and diverse stories to bring to life.
Employees are the most important asset to your organisation. Sharing how employees feel about you as an employer is essential to activating your Employer Brand. By amplifying what they value it helps you attract more great talent but also reinforces to existing employees why they should stay. Keep in mind that employees are not actors, nor do you want them to be. Key is to make them feel comfortable. You can do this by calmly saying, there is no right or wrong answer and that they are perfect just as they are. Getting their spontaneous answers is critical for authenticity, so don’t share your questions with them beforehand as they will spend more time trying to recall prepared answers (and come across stiffly) rather than speaking from the heart.
Employee stories or experiences bring your Employer Brand to life. So while you are interviewing employees, try and maximise that time by capturing their testimonial on video and then doing a photoshoot at the same time. Finally from their full interview you can pull out a personalised written story as well. Know you have 3 key pieces of content per employee you can leverage in different ways. Keep in mind that people enjoy digesting content in different ways; so this makes sure you’re covered to deploy employee stories in an engaging way that suits each channel and gives choice for the target audience.
Kick off with Quick Wins (first 90 days)
Deploy your EVP Narrative across all your owned channels
Your EVP narrative is a cornerstone Employer Brand asset that will help you connect with your employees and convey how compelling your employee experience is to potential candidates. Deploying your EVP story across your owned channels; such as careers website, LinkedIn Life, and job ads, is a quick win to bring consistency to how you wish to position your Employer Brand to influence your internal and external audiences.
Create Employer Brand Guidelines so everyone is consistent with messaging, look, and feel
By creating and using guidelines that sum up your Employer Brand you will ensure that messaging is consistent throughout all touchpoints with candidates and employees alike. It will help your Employer Brand establish itself as trustworthy and valued. And this consistency will build brand awareness around the positioning you have strategically chosen to promote to market.
Launch internally using EVP ambassadors
When your EVP gets thoroughly embedded with employees across your organisation, they become brand advocates. Leverage the most vocal of these employees from different levels and divisions of your business and support their advocacy with tools and content that will help them amplify your strategic EVP pillars. People trust people over companies which is why the ‘word of mouth’ advocacy of Employee Brand ambassadors is one of the most powerful (but also cost effective) channels at your disposal.
Plan future major Employer Brand content updates
Think of your careers website as your billboard for talent attraction. Employees do their research, because taking on a new job is one of the biggest decisions in life. And therefore your careers website (and the quality of its content and useability) can help sway employees to either take the next step or look elsewhere. Make sure your careers website answers candidate’s burning questions. What can I do here, who will I work with, what’s the culture really like and how do I join? Then build content around these questions, leveraging your EVP. Include employee testimonials in written, photographic and video formats for a richer, more engaging experience.
A video speaks a thousand words. Developing a video series that targets specific role types will help your organisation to properly reach and engage your audience and connect them with your Employer Brand. While more tactical, this content approach can work either as a polished video, or something more raw (less produced), that gives a behind the scenes look at the team culture, workplace environment and quality of work product. While still aligned with your overall EVP, this type of video may promote a sub-EVP that is divisional specific and more closely related to the experience within a certain group or team. It’s all about building credibility and trust with your desired ideal candidate.
Measuring the success of your Employer Branding efforts
Measuring Employer Branding is notoriously difficult, as there are so many factors to consider that impact talent metrics outside of the brand’s control such as social, political and economic factors. Also comparing yourself against other employers is not ideal either as you are unlikely to have clarity on that businesses' objectives. As such you can only measure your own progress.
Start with your business and talent objectives. What are the metrics that are going to best demonstrate improvement against these? Then benchmark where you are sitting before you launch your Employer Brand and then check in every 3 months as to how you are tracking. Ideally have 1-2 key metrics you are focussed on. While traditional recruitment metrics are a good starting point (such as quality of hire, time to hire) as well as engagement and attrition, you can also measure the success of your digital campaigns and engagement in real time. Learn and optimise by trying different things. Double down on what works and stop doing what doesn’t work.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it essential to have an Employer Brand?
If you are an employer, you already have an Employer Brand. It lives in the hearts and minds of potential candidates and current employees. The question is “are you influencing it?”. A research-led Employer Brand is a proven and effective business tool to help you retain and attract the best talent in any industry.
How much should I spend on activating my Employer Brand?
The total spend will vary according to the value you place on attracting, engaging and retaining the right talent. On average you could spend between $50,000 - $85,000+GST to invest in highly produced videos, photography and written employee testimonials. Keep in mind you can leverage these assets over all your owned channels both internal and external for at least 1-3 years, providing a rich and authentic insight into the employee experience for candidates and re-affirm that with employees as well.
How long does it take to activate my Employer Brand?
It varies. However if you have no assets such as employee testimonials (written, photographic and video) you may need at least 8 weeks to plan, shoot and edit this content so it is market ready. If you already have these assets, which should be aligned with your EVP, then you can start building smaller tactical activations within 1-2 weeks. Remember you should be actively deploying employment marketing communications regularly to keep your internal and external audiences engaged and up to date.
What are some excellent examples of Employer Brand Activations?
• Allianz Australia - developed a conceptual series of EVP videos winning Best Use of Video 2022 (ITAs)
• Allianz Australia - first-ever ambassador program leveraged bold graphics to amplify EVP content via personal social profiles
• Roche Pharmaceuticals - over 90 pieces of EVP aligned content including videos and quote cards
• BAI Communications - global flexibility in web and social banners to suit different regions and employee stories for website along with Employer Brand guidelines and Leader Toolkit
With a menu of proven creative ideas, including costings, deliverables and live examples you will have everything you need to build a comprehensive budget to activate your Employer Brand.