Knowledge bites: Avoid this BIG employer branding mistake…
Employer Branding, if you aren’t up to scratch just yet, is about creating something exciting, engaging and attractive for the talent that might just consider working for you. With one of the most competitive job markets in history and a ‘war for talent’ that is becoming more of an empty role apocalypse, creating a look, feel, sound and personality for your organisation is beyond important.
If you’ve already realised this, then well done, you’re taking a gigantic leap in the right direction. But if you’re fresh to the world of EVPs, tone of voice and brand guidelines, then we want to share a common mistake that will sink your plans before you’ve even hatched them.
If you think about it, we’re pre-programmed to be led from the top-down. From government to our jobs, there’s always a leadership element, with decisions passed down to the bottom of the chain. Yes, feedback can travel upwards, but it’s usually filtered or sorted out before it reaches the upper echelons, with only the most pertinent cases dealt with by the top level.
And this is the big mistake.
As leaders, it’s very easy to fall into the trap that we think we know everything there is to know about our operations, people, vision, values and ultimately, our culture. With that mindset, it’s very tempting for the decision makers to pick and choose the pieces that make up an EVP, basing the information on the desired reality, rather than actual reality.
How to do it properly
Realising your culture and the things that really make your organisation an attractive place to work always needs to start with your people. It can’t be enforced from the top down; it needs to be about digging into the feelings, thoughts, needs, pain points and reasons for staying or leaving, even if that means going backwards before you move forwards. This organic approach is infinitely more beneficial than guessing and leading with salaries and benefits.
By undertaking this potentially truth-revealing exercise, you can then really root out what it is that keeps people coming to you – and what makes them leave. You may find that this aligns with the strategy you had in mind, but it’s also a massive eye-opener if it doesn’t, and you can then fix a problem that you may not realise exists. But truthfully, you’re better off not doing it yourself.
Guess what? Teams are much less likely to truly open up if their manager or superior is the one asking those gritty questions, plus, it’s going to be highly likely that some sort of bias will come into play if things get even slightly messy. Without making it too obvious, it really does make sense to use an external service provider to carry out your EVP in an impartial, independent way. They’ll create a story which will then translate into the way you present yourself to potential hires.
The biggest benefit of starting your cultural journey with your people is the ability to realise what your audience (the candidates you want to keep on hiring) want from their careers. If your people are getting what they need, you can tell your prospects, who will likely want the same, that you are delivering it. That’s so powerful – and impossible to do from the C-suite.