How to Build a Magnetic Employer Brand

Posted on the 28 November 2019

How to Build a Magnetic Employer Brand

While marketing and PR often focuses on talking to your customers, in today's competitive market for top talent, building a reputation as a credible employer and great place to work is a key factor for any business in the long-term.

In our latest exchange event, Kari Owers and Fran Ratliff (O Communications) showed how any business can position themselves as an ‘employer of choice’ – a place where the best talent want to work while sharing real-world examples of companies with purpose.

Joined by thirty of the region’s most ambitious entrepreneurs, Kari defined the term ‘employer branding’ and emphasised how important the concept is to attract and retain talent.

She quoted, “Connecting with people who aren’t convinced to join your company not only requires great timing, but a great story.”

Storytelling was a key theme in the first session, as Kari led the attendees through an exercise in understanding their own brand story to ensure they are able to communicate an authentic narrative that future talent would find compelling.

“Nowadays, the new workforce isn’t looking for a ‘job’ - they are looking for a place to be themselves, to make a difference, to have ideas and to be heard.”

Taking the future generations as a theme, she referenced research showing that millennials are looking for true flexibility, not just flexible working, and that companies with a clear purpose are more attractive to this ‘giving generation’.

Kari emphasised that a company’s social presence is now crucial in the recruitment stage, referencing that 68% of millennials visit employer’s social media properties specifically to evaluate the employer brand - which is 12% more than Generation Xers and 20% more than Baby Boomers.

Building a social media presence that attracts candidates requires creativity and, while using Netflix’s #SheRules and Brewdog’s Puppy Parental Leave as creative examples, Kari advised the room to seriously consider video marketing in particular in its talent attraction communications strategy as it is a storytelling format that gains greater engagement online.

Fran, who, as Head of Client Services at O Communications is responsible for it’s ‘Opprentice’ and ‘Ocademy’ schemes, led the culture as strategy session where she explained that “every story requires characters” achieved through the use of “employee personas”.

“Knowing what your ideal employee persona allows you to target the right person at the right time and in the right place.

“Then, you can focus on finding a common purpose. This should start at the recruitment stage. What purpose do you have as a business? Ensure your business has strong leadership communications and a clear direction of travel. Make your employees feel that they’re on a journey with you.

“Finally, give people their share of voice. Make them feel included, give them ownership of parts of your business and the responsibility to drive it forward.”

Both sessions emphasised the importance of creating an environment that inspires others and is somewhere people feel proud to work, where staff become natural ‘ambassadors’ for the business.

“People are your best advocates. Make sure you understand what makes them tick as individuals. Help them carve a niche in the business for themselves and they’ll soon become your business's best ambassadors.”