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Why a strong employer brand is key to attracting candidates in a talent-short market

By Shandel McAuliffe | |6 minute read
Why a strong employer brand is key to attracting candidates in a talent-short market

In the current marketplace, defined by talent shortages across multiple industries, changed workplace patterns and evolved employee expectations, building a brand people want to work for and do business with has never been more important.

However, building a strong brand and becoming an employer of choice doesn’t happen in a vacuum or overnight. Chief among the needle-moving actions business owners and CEOs can do are:

  • understanding the mood of the market
  • getting clear on what their brand stands for, and
  • strategically aligning the organisation to drive a strong positive reputation.

Understanding the mood of the market

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What people believe and most highly value now drive their choices, decision making and expectations when it comes to where they want to work and what projects they want to take on.

The 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer for example, found that 60 per cent of people will choose their workplace based on their beliefs and values.

Company purpose is also vitally important as people now expect brands to stand for more than just profit by acting in socially-conscious ways to help create a better world. According to PwC, Millennials are 5.3 times more likely to stay with an employer when they have a strong connection to their employer’s purpose and non-Millennials are 2.3 times more likely to stay.

The Edelman research also found that trust in the four institutions of business, NGOs, government and media continues to spiral down, concern about fake news or false information is now at an all-time high and mistrust is now the default position for about 60 per cent of people.

Good news for employers, however, is that 77 per cent of people trust ‘My Employer’. This not only highlights the important relationship between employer and employee, but it also represents an opportunity for employers to build on this foundation by being a trusted source of information for their employees, ensuring they communicate openly, truthfully and regularly.

Getting clear on what you stand for as a brand

When businesses embrace a higher purpose beyond making money, they can make a stronger emotional connection with their target audiences, including employees who can link their work to an inspiring end cause.

A global survey of business executives conducted by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services and EY Beacon Institute for example, found that those companies that clearly identified their purpose as “an aspirational reason for being which inspires and provides a call to action for an organisation and its partners and stakeholders, and provides benefit to local and global society,” reported that their customers were more loyal and employees more engaged.

Strategically aligning the organisation to drive a strong positive reputation

One of the most powerful things an organisation can do to build a strong brand and drive a positive reputation is to be consistent with intentions, words and actions. People trust other people when they have good intention and do what they say they will do. Similarly, people trust businesses that have good character and deliver on their brand promises.

To establish consistency of intention, words and action, a business needs to align the four organisational dimensions of culture, communications, customer experience and corporate citizenship. When these four business dimensions are aligned, credibility and trust are fostered from the consistency of thoughts, words and actions.

This alignment also creates more cohesive and engaged organisations, because the thinking, language and behaviours of employees are based on a common purpose and shared understanding of organisational vision, values and desired strategic outcomes. Over time, this consistency improves organisational results, relationships and reputation.

While having a clearly defined purpose and core values are fundamental, ensuring alignment of corporate language and actions in line with these culture pillars is crucial to building a credible and trustworthy brand. By so doing, your brand will become a beacon to attract like-minded prospective employees. You’ll also empower your most important brand ambassadors – your employees – to champion your brand and strengthen company reputation.

Ros Weadman is a brand communication specialist

RELATED TERMS

Branding

Branding, in terms of human resources, is using marketing to distinguish a company or the products/services it offers by rapidly becoming known to consumers This may be accomplished by using certain noises, colours, features, or logos.

Recruitment

The practice of actively seeking, locating, and employing people for a certain position or career in a corporation is known as recruitment.

Shandel McAuliffe

Shandel McAuliffe

Shandel has recently returned to Australia after working in the UK for eight years. Shandel's experience in the UK included over three years at the CIPD in their marketing, marcomms and events teams, followed by two plus years with The Adecco Group UK&I in marketing, PR, internal comms and project management. Cementing Shandel's experience in the HR industry, she was the head of content for Cezanne HR, a full-lifecycle HR software solution, for the two years prior to her return to Australia.

Shandel has previous experience as a copy writer, proofreader and copy editor, and a keen interest in HR, leadership and psychology. She's excited to be at the helm of HR Leader as its editor, bringing new and innovative ideas to the publication's audience, drawing on her time overseas and learning from experts closer to home in Australia.

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