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The changes that are influencing employer brand

It’s busy. Really busy, and perhaps more than any other function, Talent Acquisition seems to be caught in a perfect storm. So with that in mind, what’s happening with one of TA's greatest tools, employer brand? We talked about the challenge at the latest Resourcing Leaders Summit. 

A few weeks ago, at the end of August, I gave a talk at the Resourcing Leaders Summit in Whitstable. In its own right that’s not unusual, it’s happened plenty of times before, but this was only the second in-person event we’d been to since March 2020, and my first time standing up in front of real people for nearly two years. 

Needless to say, it took a few minutes for muscle memory to kick in, for the nerves to be replaced with the sheer pleasure of talking with people I like, about some of the things that fascinate me. How the world is changing right now, and the impact on how communications between employers and their people work.  

I talked about the current state of employer branding, and the three challenges that brands are facing on a macro level; Recovery from a damaging 18 months; Realising the gains made from positive brand performance over the same period; or finally those who are Rising as new entrants, more than likely on a strong growth path. One of those scenarios applies to every brand we're aware of.

In each context, the challenge is the same. Whether trying to make amends and revive the perception of their reputation or growing quickly with a new brand to build, the task at hand is to stand out from other employers and to cut through the noise of all the other marketing out there. Connecting with the people they need to affect. 

To do that well, brands are best advised to begin by understanding the way people are thinking about their careers. 

In general terms, we all seem to be caught in one of two camps when thinking about life, and the jobs we do. Firstly those of us who’re keen to just get back to how it was before. The people who want to reclaim life as it was. Secondly, those who have taken the chance to evaluate what’s important to them and are now working to renew the way they live and work. 

It’s this second group who in the main seem to be driving the fluidity in the recruitment market we all see. 

Behind these two clear points of view are even greater forces. Trends that are impacting all of us. There are many of these, so I covered the five that I thought most relevant: 

  1. The overcoming of inertia: the unstoppable force of change now that the wheel of life is back in motion.
  2. The tensions between government, employers and employees: a return to BAU or the new normal, whatever that might be, which will win?
  3. The impact of shared experience: the biggest collective sense of togetherness since WW2.
  4. Building back better: not just our individual desires to change positively, but the World Health Organisation, the United Nations and even individual governments too.
  5. The great resignation: the drivers and opportunities that this brings to brands. 

Each of these is a substantial topic and worth covering separately, so there’ll be a blog about each out soon. If you want these in your inbox at least two days before anyone else, it’s worth subscribing to our blog. There’s a link below.

But I finished my talk with a challenge. 

That all of us in our connected industries of brand, employer brand, talent acquisition, recruitment or communications, could work so much better if we put our collective weight behind some joined-up thinking. The debate that this caused is leading to an initiative that will come to light in the next few weeks - but will support TA as a whole. 

That’s critical because it’s clear that the sector is caught in a perfect storm of under-resourcing, under-funding and yet rapidly increasing demand from employers ramping up headcount quickly in a very tight recruitment environment. It’s keeping us at Tonic busy with interesting challenges to get stuck into, which is great, but there are many people in TA struggling and the more we can all do to work together to fix this problem, the better for all of us. 

So, in a world that’s short-staffed, please be kind to those who turned up. It’ll make all our lives better.

Can your content keep up in the new golden age of creativity?
How employer brands can benefit from collective experiences.

About Author

Tom Chesterton
Tom Chesterton

Chief Executive and Co-Founder of Tonic. Brand geek, dislikes charlatans.

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