Hours of dusty board meetings are poured into carefully crafting your brand values, your company mission, your raison d’être, … But unfortunately, despite all your goodwill (and a lovely PowerPoint, indeed!), you realise that your employees still can’t really seem to be bothered. Your words don’t get translated into the actions you hoped for. And even worse, your company doesn’t attract the powerhouse talents you had in mind.
Too often, the company’s communication towards its employees is not taken seriously enough. To give meaning to someone’s job, to help somebody gain confidence in the company, to make somebody proud about the place they work at, … these objectives are no small feats and they might seem too ambitious, or even overwhelming. However, we believe that a cleverly engineered employer branding strategy can achieve these goals with great results. Let’s dive in.
Employer branding 101
To start off, what is employer branding actually? Employer branding is – nothing more, nothing less – than the internal culture a company creates, based on the brand’s common history and the way employees experience and promote the company’s values, both internally and externally.
And why would you want that? To start with, you’ll have a great advantage over your competitors in the battle for talent. Employees will be much more inclined to start working at your company – and more importantly, stay there once they get going. Job applicants – and especially the younger generations – look for more than just a company that can help them earn a quick buck. By investing in employer branding, you’ll become an employer of choice.
Besides that, your employees’ engagement and motivation will grow exponentially with the more meaning they find in their work and the more they can call their workplace home. This not only makes everyone’s life more fun, it will also give your company a long-term commercial boost. And that’s what companies do it for in the end, right?
Marketing or HR?
After reading about these potential benefits, you might ask yourself: Would employer branding be categorised as Marketing or HR? To succeed in your efforts, it’s important to understand that employer branding doesn’t fall into either category. However, both functions have the ability to communicate certain aspects of it. So a synergic collaboration between both sectors would be very fruitful, while creating a unified strategy.
Besides Marketing and HR, a third player should play a crucial role in these efforts: namely the CEO. Visible leadership is a must in order to implement a successful employer branding strategy. And of course, we don’t mean an old-school CEO telling their employees top-down how to behave. No, we’re talking about a frank and open conversation where a human being leads by example and interacts with all its employees.
Let’s put it into practice
Enough with the talking, time to illustrate all this with some concrete examples.
How to create a sense of belonging?
Everyone – from receptionist to top managers – knows their job and does it well. However, despite HR’s best efforts to get everyone together during team building sessions, everyone seems to be glued to their job and position. More often than not, interactions are limited to some small talk at the coffee machine or while eating a bowl of industrial salad… (sound familiar?)
The starting point is that people feel more invested and more confident when they are part of a community where they are recognised for who they are. Just an example, but doesn’t it feel amazing when somebody you’ve only spoken to on occasion, remembers you and calls you by your name?
Take for example the Saint-Gobain group. They enhanced their community’s group feeling by creating video profiles of their employees all over the world, using a social media format. A strategy that paid, since the #WeAreAllSaintGobain registered more than 3 million views!
Or BNP Paribas Cardif, who decided to celebrate the first work anniversary of their employees at the company. During this afterwork event called “Happy First Year”, more than 300 young newcomers, during an exclusive preview, could have a go at “Ages of Cardif”, a social game about the history of the insurance company.
And last but not least, the “I Tag You” campaign created by AXA banking. To develop more team spirit between employees, AXA created a platform where employees could create an award badge for one of their colleagues. When a colleague got such an award badge, they received a virtual gift as well! Result: more than 80% of the employees gave away their three monthly badges!
As you can see, the possibilities are virtually endless in the quest for more and longer-lasting employee engagement. We’d say get those creative juices flowing, and when you need help, we’re only a phone call or email away!
By Hélène Renaud