Employer Support Resources: Your Corporate and Employer Brand
- Hiring Resources
Employer Support Resources: Your Corporate and Employer Brand
Brands are what drive consumers to make choices and companies work hard and invest heavily in defining those brands and setting their services or products apart from the competition. A consumer brand helps to sell the concepts of quality, mood or emotion, and is used to attract the attention of target market groups geographically, by gender, cultural backgrounds, education levels or age.
A corporate brand is something else again. According to the Harvard Business Review, a corporate brand can be much more difficult to define, particularly for companies whose businesses are not related to consumer products or services, but it is just as – if not more – important, particularly if it relates to attracting and retaining the best and brightest talent. All companies also have an employer brand, whether they realize it or not.
Unlike a consumer brand, a corporate brand doesn’t rely as heavily on using visual cues – visual design, graphics and colours to attract and retain interest and attention. It relies heavily on corporate reputation. Some companies wrongfully assume their corporate brand is represented by their logo and leave it at that; the reality is that all companies have a reputation and by neglecting it, their corporate and employer brand is left drifting to be defined by others. Many large energy companies recognize the need to manage their corporate brand and invest heavily to promote themselves as responsible corporate citizens and as leaders in their industry. This can have very positive impacts on the way they are perceived by the public. However, that does not always address what it is like to actually work for them.
As the energy industry moves beyond the economic, political and public health impacts of COVID 19, and, as it accelerates a transition to a lower carbon economy, employer brand will become increasingly important as companies try to recruit and retain workers in an increasingly competitive market.
Why It’s Important
Employer branding is the process of positioning your company as the employer of choice to a target group of potential candidates. An employer brand refers to the perception your current and potential employees have of your company. As an action, employer branding involves deliberately establishing your company’s values, work culture, and personality to ensure they align with your ideal candidates’ aspirations. Employer branding is not about misleading people into thinking that a company is better than it actually is. It is about defining your unique employee value proposition.
A senior partner with a global executive search agency echoes that sentiment. “We work with clients all over the world and it’s easy to see which ones invest the resources to communicate what working for them means. When we work with companies who actively show what they offer their workers as a complete job and compensation package and what types of people they are looking for, it’s easy for us to identify candidates who actively want to work for those organizations. Our job gets harder when we seek candidates for clients who aren’t well known and who don’t make it easy to figure out what it’s like to work for them.”
“It’s important to define your corporate and employer brands” says a Calgary Oil and Gas Human Resources consultant. “This doesn’t mean that you should try and put out the message that you have the best work environment, that you care the most about a particular issue or that you are the most trustworthy—your employees and recruits will figure that out for themselves. What you need to do is use all of your communications channels to convey consistent messages about who you are as a company and be honest about what you’re saying and own your culture and brands.”
A clear identity anchored by a corporate and employer brand will be a critical piece in your organization’s ability to compete for talent and keep those who are already committed to working for you. It’s important to remember, however, that not all workers are looking for the same things in their careers, just as an employer you place different emphasis on the qualities you are looking for even though you might be looking for candidates with similar education, training and technical skills.
If your organization tends to be more traditional, more formal and whose work environment is highly structured with clear lines of authority and a high-salary-based compensation package, you want to ensure that you hire and retain those who understand that environment, who are comfortable in it and can thrive. Conversely, if your business requires a high degree of creativity and flexibility, you have an informal culture with looser reporting relationships, and, a work space that encourages group social interaction and flexible work arrangements to compensate for lower base pay, you will be targeting a very different type of employee.
What are Employers Doing About It
One Human Resources advisor for a major Canadian energy producer, notes that current employees and prospective candidates are also constantly looking at companies as potential places to grow their careers. “When we recruit someone, we know what we’re looking for, but we can’t forget that job seekers are also weighing where they want to work. We put a lot of effort in communicating who we are as a company, our values, our vision and what it’s like to work for our team so that when we invite someone to an interview, we can be more confident that they are really interested in the opportunity in front of them.”
By being honest and true to your brand your current employees can also continue be more confident in their choice and more confident in their work.
What Can Your Company Do?
A recent article by Randstad makes an important point: just because your company may be well known, it doesn’t mean that you’re a great place to work. Reputation plays a huge role in being able to attract and retain talent. “A well-conceived, methodically executed employer brand can be the difference between having top-calibre talent knocking down your door, wanting to work for you, and a long, drawn-out hiring process that leaves you frustrated and unable to fill important roles.”
Make sure that your organization follows through on your brand. Every interaction, whether one-on-one meetings with stakeholders, press releases or news stories, hiring interviews or internal staff meetings, will impact how your organization is perceived. Corporate culture, pay and benefits, workforce diversity, workspace, career growth opportunities, strategic direction, corporate responsibility and community involvement are some of the many elements that make up your broader corporate identity.
Whatever does make up your corporate and employee brand you must hold true to it.
If you promise a flexible, work-from-home mentality, that better be true. If you promise top of the market salaries, deliver. If you promise a casual, open-door office environment, that’s what candidates will expect. If your employer brand doesn’t live up to its promises, the jig will be up as soon as new employees step through your doors.