How serious are you about workplace culture?

It’s a question that you may think goes without asking, but maybe that is what’s at the heart of the problem. The biggest problem we find with companies that try to do something about their workplace culture, is that they underestimate the importance that needs to be placed on going through the proper employer branding process. Many common solutions, such as keeping the process internal or simply using a standard marketing agency, have their merits, at least on the surface.

I’d say 80% of eBrands toughest projects (and some of our most intellectually rewarding truth be told) have arisen through helping clients who have previously made the choice to not properly go through the employer brand development process and need to recover. Here are some of the potential caveats of that pathways:

Being serious and showing commitment requires more than a cosmetic approach. Populating a master brand template with stock shots of someone enjoying work life balance with kids in the park takes you into the same morass where 80% of other businesses live. This solution does not testify to the company/employee relationship and what it means. The evidence of a lack of commitment creates all sorts of symptoms, the most common being the loss of any message effectiveness due to a lack of resonance, so here are our tips to create a great employer brand.

Don’t use typical brand research techniques.

When done properly, the research – insight generation – engagement and project development patterns demanded by a successful project need deep organisational interaction. The navigation of internal stakeholder networks demands a sensitivity that’s not native to the ‘brief, and respond to brief’ dogma of a normal marketing agency.

Use an external perspective.

Group thinking and unchallenged consensus can be the employer brand’s worst enemies. It can be hard to learn at the end of the process that the most cynical of all brand stakeholders is your fellow unengaged employee. This places demands on relationship management and insight capture skills that the majority of marketing agencies cannot deal with. A skilled employer brander will relish facing the contrary insights.

Have a project ownership structure that is tailored to employees.

Our fundamental approach is that the employer brand is essentially the employees’ version of the truth. It creates a great platform for employee participation in the project – so the agency must have a collaborative and knowledge sharing mind-set that many design firms are simply not exposed too. This also applies to your project team, choose a management/project team that will put the employee first over the organisation or customer needs – they will ultimately benefit from a well implemented employer brand.

There is a large gap between traditional brand design knowledge, and HR and organisational psychology.

At a base level, knowledge of language and the environment and how it relates to project outcomes. At an advanced level, knowing how internal values relate to behaviours, and how employment brand outcomes relate to human resource metrics, is something that ‘the creatives that know photoshop’ won’t have much time to understand – In short, it’s not going to be about what looks best for the organisation or conforms to brand guidelines, it will be about what speaks, inspires and engages your employees.

Employment brands, like any brands, do not do well with short-term fixes.

Sincerity, Transparency and Clarity are not things that you can gamble with; and patchwork solutions that touch on your ‘reason for being’ do nothing but devalue emotional capital investment.

Employment branding is a distinct discipline that requires its own craftsmen and women and it deserves real respect. If the employment brand & the employer/employee relationship is not a core organisational priority – that in itself speaks of issues that organisations will have to face now and in the future.

If you’d like to find out more about our approach to employer branding you can contact us or download our eBook here.

Comments? Thoughts?