Low unemployment and a clear skills gap mean that the need for the right people on the team is paramount for business at the moment. In fairness, this has always been the case, but it has particular importance in the current employment market. It is no wonder then that the notion of employer brand is frequently the subject of conversation in the boardrooms and recruitment exhibitions around the UK.
The lifeblood of success
The senior management team in every successful business will tell you that the right employees are the lifeblood of their success. Without the team that brings in the sales and send out the products or services, they would struggle to stay ahead. Employer brand is one way of ensuring that you attract the right people and then encourage them to accept your offer once you meet them. Most research will tell you that employees want more than few small perks. They are looking for a job that is part of their life, not something that is just there to pay the milk bill at the end of the month.
So, putting aside the academic interpretation in favour of a more practical approach, what does ‘employer brand’ actually translate to in the real world. Well, essentially, you are looking for ways to show the existing and potential employees who and what your business is and what you are about. This is more than your product, service, management team or history though (although they are a part of it) it is the condensing of your business into a few tangible elements that prospective employees can relate to.
- You have a great story, so tell it to people where you can. This is really important because as anyone in sales or marketing will tell you, as a rule, people are motivated by their emotions, not their logic. Apple and Steve Jobs recognised this, which is why the two names are synonymous in our minds. A prospective employee is a person making a choice based on people, and as the old saying goes ‘people buy from people’.
- Be clear about your values. Your core company values are really important because the prospective employee will be attracted to ones that are in line with their own. There is even a school of thought that the actuality of your business, the nuts and bolts of what you do, really does matter as much as why you do it. Whatever the level of importance overall, showing your values could really help you attract the best team.
- Show the inside to the outside. Let prospective employees meet your team. This is something that the education sector does very well. Final selection lecturing and teaching staff will often be offered the opportunity to spend some time with the team. In the case of schools, they may even be interviewed by the children. We suspect that an interview panel consisting of a group of 12-year-olds may well be the most nerve-wracking part of the interview, but it gives the prospective teacher a chance to be in the environment they work in. A good old-fashioned tour and a cup of tea with the current team can be really effective.
- Be very specific about the role, the prospects, and the job description, but also be open to suggestions. The way people work is changing dramatically at the moment so considering the possibility of unusual hours or remote working. If it suits your environment, it could really be a deal clincher for a candidate. Good team members feel valued as we all know, so it may be worth looking for their opinions on the role during the interview process. Not only will it demonstrate you value their skills but you may well get some useful feedback.
In the final analysis, So free tea and coffee or something similar may be a small attractor to an employee but checking their ethos aligns with yours will be a much bigger one.