We were delighted to host a breakfast round-table discussion with Transform magazine on Friday 28th April in Hong Kong. It was an animated discussion with communication and brand professionals who shared their experience in creating a strong employer brand.
The discussion started with a key question, why is Employer brand important?
Our MD Kate Shanks made an interesting comment about how valuable it is to find out what people are feeling in the business. Undertaking an employee brand exercise can draw out powerful insights into how employees feel and help shape your brand story. In addition, Kate highlighted the importance of having your employees say great things about you, especially now with social media at its best, it is easy for new recruits to learn what your brand is really like. The integrity of your employer brand is so important when retaining employees and achieving high engagement scores.
It was clear to see that no matter the scale of the business the brand identity is always important and will always impact engagement. Many discussed the increase in “savviness” of consumers and employees which shows the importance of having an authentic and transparent employer brand. When working with millennials it is important to understand what motivates them. The “what’s in it for me?” mindset is very common rather than the traditional “what can I bring to the company?”. Differentiating yourself from competitors through having a clear purpose and corporate social responsibility will help your brand immensely when attracting and retaining a millennial workforce.
Four top communication challenges
- Breaking through “the clay” – the hard layer where your internal communications can often become stuck between middle management and your frontline staff.
- Leadership training – employees can be promoted to a “management” level title because they are good at their job rather than because they a good leader and it can be argued that more time should be invested in training leadership skills. This issue is heightened in cultures where there is a focus on the importance of a management job title, and employees may seek these positions before they fully engage with the responsibilities of the role.
- Engaging employees through cultural benefits to drive retention – where it is commonplace for many employees to move for a better job title, or a small pay increase, there is a cultural shift needed to encourage employees to consider the importance of the culture or the brand of the employer they are working for. Additionally, there is an opportunity to demonstrate the benefit of longevity in a role or a company and the positive impact this can have on learning and development.
- Measurement is key – there is a desire to learn more and have training on how to measure the effectiveness of communication activities. With the solid evidence of impact, it will become easier to obtain buy in from the board.
Developing an effective employee value proposition
- Start with your employees: the message must be authentic and resonate with those in the company before it is rolled out. The EVP must reflect what the employees want.
- Obtain engagement from leaders and middle management and equip them with a clear toolkit to enable an effective cascade of information.
- Recruit brand advocates to help embed and engage the message further.
- Encourage employee collaboration across your digital channels.
- Measure, refine and check the integrity of your brand
Ideas and top tips for making an impact
- Encourage the employee voice, it is importance to create a culture of trust so your employees feel able to speak-up. One idea that has worked well is rewarding collaboration such as giving new ideas and showing interest – whether the ideas are taken up or not.
- Always take time to translate the communications to the local language. There is a far greater chance of engaging employees, in particular frontline staff, if the content is easy to understand and relatable. A top tip was suggested to source mother tongue translators and have a thorough quality check process in place to ensure the messages are not misconstrued.
- Using an enterprise social media platform like Yammer – Dairy Farm Group have had recent success with driving adoption of their Yammer platform from 2% to 20% in 2 months. The majority of the success came from having an engaging content strategy in place that gave their employees a reason to come back time and time again. From using interactive polls, to casual images of the leadership team, content was relatable, shareable and enticed contribution.
- Communicating your company purpose – our model of employee engagement PRIDE, concentrates on many factors, one being purpose. When purpose is present and authentic, it can make the difference between average and high performance in a company.
If you are interested to be a part of the conversation and attend future events, feel free to get in touch and keep an eye out for Transform magazine’s employer brand conference in November.