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Recommendations for Managers: Doing your bit to contribute to your employer brand

11 October 2021 by Rachael Gordon

The most successful companies in the world know they would be nothing without their people. At management level, many believe the employer brand is dealt with higher up or not their direct concern, but this is not the case. The most successful employer brands recognise the value of their people from the top down, and management have a key role to play in furthering this.

What is an employer brand?

Employer branding is simply your organisation’s reputation as an employer. LinkedIn ranked companies such as Barclays, Upwork and American Express in the top 25 employers in the country. Reasons for this include a focus on diversity and inclusion, flexible working, and wellness coaching as part of the employee package. These companies look to deliver what their employees expect and then exceed those expectations.

Employer branding should be something that everyone working for a company believes in and embodies, especially management and leadership teams who influence the opinions and actions of the wider team. It shouldn’t be something you switch on and off, as Jillian Einck, Director of Employer Brand at Recruitics asserts:

“Employer brand efforts shouldn’t be saved only for hiring peaks. It’s a long-term goal that needs continuous management and care.” Your employer brand is vital for attracting the best candidates but also holding onto your top talent.

Why should employer branding matter to managers?

Hiring managers know just how hard it is to attract the best candidates in a busy marketplace. Good employer branding can influence an applicant’s decision to choose your company over others. In the last eighteen months people have had the chance to experience better work-life balance. This means they can be much more discerning when it comes to their next job move. It’s not unusual for a good candidate to leave on job on Friday and start a brand-new position Monday morning, equipped and ready to go. Your business needs to have the tools to facilitate this, but also to promote and market yourselves an employer whose people come first.

In a post-pandemic world, employees are putting more focus on the care and support their companies offer. Cisco and Salesforce have both ranked at the top of the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For 2021 and their employees reiterate how the companies put their health and welfare at the forefront of their employee brand. This is a clear example of the role managers play in shaping employee’s opinions. They’re on the ground every day, directing and overseeing the workforce, but also checking in and supporting them through the most difficult times.

Similarly, Best Companies produce an annual measure of the Best Companies to Work for in the UK and our clients, including Asda, Legal & General and Kier Group, have appeared on their lists since they first launched in 2001. There is special influence on the role of management in their listings with comments such as “I feel that my manager trusts my judgement” and “I feel that my manager talks openly and honestly with me” contributing to their ranking within the listing. Management plays a vital role in influencing individual employee’s experience of their organisation, so it’s important to be aware and find actionable ways to contribute to the employer brand.

Managers strengthening Employee Value Proposition (EVP)

Hiring managers are on the frontline of the employer brand and have the best access to data and information on it's success. Managers communicate with employees in the workplace day-to-day and can see first-hand how they’re responding to the work environment and the company culture you’ve created. LinkedIn researchers found companies with a stronger employer brand than their competitors see a 43% decrease – on average – in the cost per candidate hired. Managers can collate similar data from their own experiences and share this with other stakeholders, highlighting the effectiveness of your EVP amongst employees and candidates. A continual cycle of action, feedback, and adjustments, where necessary, help to hone the EVP to deliver the best possible results. Managers are the driving force by the business’ EVP and are best positioned to make adjustments and share successes.

What can managers do to embody their employer brand?

Everyone in an organisation may take some responsibility for the employer brand. Research carried out by Universum found 60% of CEOs hold themselves ultimately accountable for the employer brand, but management can and should play their part too. Randstad corroborates the importance of a strong employer brand, with it considered on par with, if not more important than, salary. As a manager who wants to work with the best talent, doing your bit to support and promote your organisation’s employer brand is crucial and there are many ways to do this:

Employee-First attitude

The best managers care about their employees and want to meet their needs in the workplace. An employee-first attitude means you consider the needs and goals of all your employees. You should do all you can to help them be the best they can be, and strive towards goals you can support them in.

Ask for (and act on) feedback

Many employers claim they are always asking their employees for feedback. This might be true, but what do they do with this information? Good managers should expect and request regular feedback from their team but also act on the results. Ask questions of employees and look to make appropriate adjustments or changes in line with feedback.

Don’t forget the fun

Companies with strong employer brands never forget the importance of fun. They revel in the chance to step away from the more serious side of work once in a while. This is where management can come into their own, ensuring team events, office fun days and competitions are regularly organised to add a sense of fun and friendship to the workplace. This is only really effective when a range of engagement opportunities are available to suit different preferences within the team. Never lose sight of inclusivity or your efforts could be counterproductive.

Make training a priority

Very few employees are happy in a job with no prospects or room for growth. Training and career development should be something all managers promote. Giving employees opportunities to grow and develop in their time with the company must be a priority. A schedule of training and development opportunities can be a marker of your organisation and something management proudly promote. It shows current employees and future candidates how important each individual’s career goals matter to the business.

Celebrate your staff

Be proud of your staff’s achievements and celebrate them often. Showing off something your team has achieved can be motivating for other teams and employees too. You can also offer incentives in line with the achievement from bonus payments to gifts and even career progression opportunities.

Any business looking to attract the most gifted candidates and retain the talent they have needs to consider the importance of their employer brand. As a manager, you are the voice of the employer brand as you communicate with your staff each day. If you want them to be ambassadors for the company, make sure you take the lead.

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