It is by no chance the most successful employer brand programs are the ones where the key stakeholders have been defined and are on board from the beginning.
It doesn’t matter whether your employer brand strategy is initiated out of the human resource department or the finance department? Yes, companies that understand the link between customer engagement, employee engagement and financial performance may find their employer brand program evolving out of a discussion in the finance department.
I’ve consulted on a number of employer brand strategy development programs and there are two things that stand out with the companies who “GET IT.”
- There is a high level of collaboration between the human resource, marketing and communication departments, and
- There is sponsorship from Executive.
Too many companies exhaust wasted energy just trying to build the business case and get employer branding on the leadership agenda. Sure, your organisation may not be ready to develop an employer brand strategy right now. However when your are ready, it will pay to ensure the right stakeholders are behind your program, no matter how long this takes. You could even find yourself leaving your organisation if you have tried many times and have been unable to influence the right stakeholders to engage in your strategy.
So where should companies get started?
I suggest you set up a 2 hour round table discussion between a list of stakeholders from a combination of internal and external leaders you believe will:
- champion your efforts,
- be positive or neutral to your efforts, and
- one or two leaders who will be negative or likely to sabotage your future efforts to develop the employer brand strategy
The diversity in your selection will allow key issues to be put on the table and discussed in an open, non-confronting or non-committal manner.
Below is an agenda of some questions (chose 4-6) that could get the discussion flowing:
- How will a stronger employer brand support our business strategy e.g. M&A’s, growth, consolidation?
- What are the main internal and external factors currently driving our employer brand?
- What kind of organisational culture do we have? How consistent is it across geographical and divisional boundaries?
- What are the most consistently attractive and compelling organisational attributes for both current employees and potential recruits?
- What behaviours are felt to be most characteristic of the organisation? What are the moments of truth when our organisation is at its best (and worse?)
- What is the most useful way of segmenting the employee population in terms of their cultural characteristics and distinctive needs?
- How consistent are the messages we are communicating internally and externally about our organisation as a place to work? How do we inform our vendors?
- Which positions are most critical to our success and what are we currently doing/need to do to attract, engage and retain them?
The outcomes of the meeting will not only ensure a return on investment just for getting leaders from different functions around the table sharing insights and experiences, it will also develop a clearer picture of what steps you need to take next to get the development of your employer brand strategy firmly on the leadership agenda.
Compare this to the many hours you may already have spent trying to influence the wrong stakeholders.