Employer Brand: Not just for big business

from Silk Helix
Photograph of Jenefer Livings, Founder of Silk Helix Ltd
12 January 2020
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What is Employer Brand?

Employer brand isn’t an isolated thing HR does. It’s not your recruitment marketing. It is who you are and the experience of your employees. It is your brand, that is everything people - those who work for you and those who don’t - think about you.

Employer brand is something that runs through your business. It’s not an initiative or campaign. It’s not what you tell people it is. It is led from the top, but must involve your staff. There are many business owners, or even managers, who will describe their culture one way whilst their teams describe it completely differently.

Why do we need an Employer Brand?

For the majority of businesses, your employees are your business. How your people perform, how much they achieve and how well they do their job defines your business - however big or small you are. Exactly what this means will vary depending on the type of business you are.

If you’re looking to differentiate your business on the basis of customer experience, you need your employees on side. This is particularly important in service based industries, such as professional services, retail and leisure.

There are endless examples I could give of the importance of your staff to your business and whether or not you make money. It’s really worth stopping at this point and thinking about it from your business point of view. Consider what type of business you are, what impact your staff have on your customer experience? What do you want your customer experience to be?

Many business owners recognise the importance of their customers but forget it is employees who are delivering their customer experience. Happy, inspired and motivated employees perform better. When productivity and customer service is improved, so are sales and you make more money. On top of this, happy staff stay! It is considerably cheaper to retain staff than to recruit.


If you’ve got a brand you can shout about, you know what the employee experience looks like and you can authentically talk about it, you’ve got the start of your recruitment marketing.

If you’re a company no one knows about and you need to recruit, whether to fill a vacancy or grow your business, you’ll be placing an advert and hoping that the right person is looking for a job right now - and, furthermore, they look in the place you placed your ad. This approach can be a bit “stab in the dark and hope” as your pool of prospective employees is limited to those people who happen to be looking for a job.

Let’s turn that around. Start from a position where you’re a company people know about. You’ve shouted about your employer brand. You’ve told people what it’s like to work for you. People know who you are. Your current employees are happy in their roles and act as brand advocates, telling people it’s a great place to work. You’re now in a position that people are following you, you are building up followers who could be prospective employees. People are already thinking “I’d like to work there”.

Now, when you have a vacancy to fill, you’re no longer stabbing in the dark. You have people looking out for your vacancy. You’ll have people who follow you and are willing to share that you have a vacancy.

Your brand - importantly, the marketing of it - has not only widened your pool of prospective employees, but you’ve also got people who already know what you’re like as a company. These people are already attracted to your business and have decided that your culture is a fit for them. You’ll have less people who go through the interview and then decide you’re not a company they want to join. Your recruitment advertising has become more targeted as even those who haven’t come across you will be able to research and find what they need.

How do we create our Employer Brand?

1. Your Goal and Vision

If you’ve not got a goal, how do you know where you are going?

What do you want your business to look like? What are your values? What do you want the employee experience to look like? What do you want the customer experience to look like?

2. Know Where you are Now

Unless you’ve not yet started your company, you will already have an employer brand and it might not be what you think it is. Start by finding out what people think about your company. Your existing staff are your key so find out what they experience day to day. Don’t assume, ask!

If you have a high turnover of staff this may be an indication of issues. Exit interviews should be a good source of information.

An employer brand isn’t just about recruitment. Getting people to stay is just as important. Retaining people will always be cheaper than recruiting.

Once you know where you are now, you can identify any gaps between what is really happening and your vision for employees in your company.

3. Build the right Culture

Once you know where you are now and where you want to be, you’ll have identified the gaps you need to fill. Make sure your information is correct and that you’ve spoken to your staff rather than simply assumed. Use this knowledge to make the right changes.

Change must be rolled out from the top! This cannot be something HR does to the organisation. If your top people don’t buy in it’ll never work.

This is not about a short term initiative, this is about your company culture. This is something embedded. It’s your values. It’s what your business is built on. Staff will quickly lose trust if they see you talking about change, perhaps see some posters around the office, and a week later it’s all forgotten, back to the status quo.

4. Your Ideal Candidate

Once you know your values, goal and vision, and understand your company culture, you can start building a picture of your ideal employee. This is not just the skills you need for each specific role but the type of person your business is looking for.

Once you know who you are looking for you can target your recruitment advertising to that person.

Employer Brand is about…

  • Getting the right people into your business - people who:
    • value your values
    • believe in what the business is doing
    • want to be a part of it
    • understand and are onside with the vision of the leader
  • Telling the world about your values and vision, attracting the people who believe in it
  • Attracting the right people before you even start advertising
While this guide covers the basics, every situation has its own complexities so you should always seek professional advice.
We can help, so book a Free Advice Call .

Article last updated: 12 January 2020

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