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The evolution of employer brand: Thoughts when walking the dog

When I’m walking the dog I like to listen to podcasts. I’ve got a selection in my library that ranges from the historic serial, and the current affairs sheep-dip, to the philosophical, and the funny. And there are quite a few on the list that relates to the day job. From time to time I drop in on Matt Alder’s podcast, ‘Recruiting Future’, mainly when the content (or the speaker) piques my interest. So, yesterday night the dog and I had the treat of listening to Matt and Alex Her talk about ‘Making employer branding indispensable'. Obviously, this is in my sweet spot, so I was all ears. The dog seemed less bothered if I’m being candid.

There were five things that stood out for me that I thought were worth writing about. Some points I couldn’t agree more with, others I’m pretty sure I take a different perspective on. Disclaimer: I’m not directly quoting, I’m paraphrasing, probably badly…So here we go:

  1. Employer branding is in trouble as a discipline. Starting off with a big disagreement from me on this one. In our experience of working with employers of all sizes and sectors, national and international we see investment in employer brand gathering pace. But the investment is not exclusively focused on talent acquisition. Culture, retention, and business reputation are where business is focusing attention right across all business sectors. And even in EB's home territory of Talent Acquisition, recruitment still holds up in most industries. Where tech is taking a quick reset, other sectors are seizing the opportunity to build brands in labour markets that are still red hot.
  2. The discipline is changing. Agree with this one. Just because you are a recruiter, doesn’t mean that you’re skilled in employer brand, no matter what your LinkedIn profile says. But it doesn’t mean you can’t be, there’s no glass or class ceiling here, just skills that need to be learned. But if you follow the school of thought above about the breadth of impact that employer brand has in the current model, you’ll need to be skilled across the wider employee experience if you want to drive maximum value.
  3. Employer branding is integral to business success. I 100% agree with this one too. It amazes me that some businesses still see employer brands as essentially reductive, as a nice to have. Growing your business means building a team, hiring the right people, engaging and motivating the employees you have - and then driving customer success. In that context employer brand is marketing, recruitment is sales, and HR is account management. Imagine a business that decided that marketing, sales, and customer management were dispensable. Wouldn’t be a great plan for the future would it? And the same is true for employer brands.
  4. Employer brands can help with attraction and offboarding in a down market. Yes, but that’s far too thin a definition of how employer brand benefits business success. Also culture, purpose, attraction, onboarding, engagement, advocacy, L&D, internal comms, growth, and much much more. The ins and outs of people are only the edges of where the employer brand really adds value.
  5. Measuring ROI means more than clicks and likes. Yes, agree, and that’s particularly true when times are tough. But the measurements of ROI go way beyond the recruitment funnel, so let’s not limit ourselves to that - especially if we agree that employer brand is more than just for recruitment. I wrote a blog about that a few months ago.

So, check out the podcast that Matt curates. It really is worth a listen, and it will get you thinking. Alex makes some great points, many of which I agree with. Some of which I would go far further with.  But these are just my thoughts. Have a listen and see what you think.

 



*Note to save me from getting in trouble. This is not my dog. It's an image made with DALL-E. This dog has never existed and never will
Please don't put headphones on your dog. They won't like it, and it will probably be the last time you see them in one piece - if your dog is anything like mine. 

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About Author

Tom Chesterton
Tom Chesterton

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

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