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10 ways to create and promote a strong employer brand

June 14, 2016

Promoting a strong employer brand is fundamental to attracting the top talent – and retaining it. Here’s how to get started..


With tech firms such as Snapchat, Pinterest and Twitter reportedly paying summer interns as much as $10,000 a month plus benefits, there is clearly still some mileage in the old adage ‘catch them young, watch them grow’ when it comes to creating and promoting a strong employer brand.

But money, while important, is certainly not everything in this context. Here are 10 other things you can do:

Be like Apple

Sticking with Silicon Valley tech, Apple has long been recognised for its distinctive, and often attractive, employer brand.

Yes, it has a reputation for long hours and high stress, but it also renowned for attracting top-flight talent, a flexible (albeit ‘always on’) culture, perks such as on-campus food (something that Google and Facebook are also well-known for) and ‘beer bashes’, product discounts, access to training and loads more. Then there’s also the fact that Apple has recognised the next point….

Your customers are also potential employees

In the case of Apple, this means they’re often passionate about the product. But it can also mean recognising that a great customer profile (including on social media) can also translate into a perception of being a great place to work, and if your employees are both your champions and potentially your customers, then the boundaries can quickly blur.

Identify your USP

What it is about you that is going to make people want to come and work for you? Money? Perhaps.

But it’s often as much to do with the environment, culture, live managers, and opportunities. Which brings us to….

Offer challenge and responsibility

If you get a reputation as being somewhere that allows people to shine, to take on responsibility and develop quickly, perhaps through offering access to training or having a proactive coaching culture, that’s quickly going to be a compelling ‘sell’.

The culture should encourage collaboration and growth

This is similar to number four in a way, but it’s also about recognising that people, by and large, don’t just come to work because they have to; they come to work because they want to do well, to progress, develop and grow.

Make it part of your culture to encourage dialogue, involvement, collaboration and creativity, often through flatter, more consensual management structures and approaches.

Think about:

  • Autonomy: Manage your boundaries and your energy
  • Mastery: Adopt a growth mindset
  • Purpose: Connect with why

Offer access

Make it a key part of your USP that senior managers and leaders are accessible and approachable, and able and willing to be learned from, happy to coach and mentor.

Offering access to senior talent in this way, whether simply informally on a day-to-day basis or through a more formal talent identification, detection and management programme, can become a powerful part of your employer brand mix.

Have (and encourage) champions

This needs to be at all levels. If your managers are talking up the employer brand, but it’s at odds with what is being said (or muttered) at ground level, that’s not going to work.

But if those on the outside can see your employees are genuinely (and that’s the important word) enthused, engaged and passionate about working for you, that’s going to rub off.

There can also be an element here of showing trust in your people through, for example, giving employees more autonomy and responsibility in their roles.

Hire for attitude

Clearly, you also have to hire for skill and expertise. But if you focus on hiring people whose outlook and attitude you feel will be a good fit, and who can then learn the skills they need, that can quickly build into a powerful employer brand.

But, again, it has to be genuinely embraced, at all levels, with the ‘right’ attitudes and behaviours being modelled from the top.

Embrace diversity and inclusion

This is the caveat of ‘good fit’. Good fit should not necessarily mean ‘like me’ and certainly not ‘all the same’.

A diverse, inclusive organisation will better reflect, and resonate with, its community and customer base. This, in turn, can help you to build a stronger employer brand with both your own community and customer base.

Make it fun

OK, we know it’s work. But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be an engaging place to be, given the amount of time we all spend in our workplaces.

Actively focusing on and investing in activities and events that will boost team morale and encourage a sense of team identity can be hugely beneficial.

Whether it’s charity or community activities, team away-days or office perks (such as already highlighted above at our favourite tech companies), making the workplace somewhere people look forward to coming to will make them more likely to talk and enthuse about it which, in turn, can all feed into creating a powerful, external and internal employer brand.

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