10 things we learnt from last week’s Employer Brand Management Conference


Last week we had the pleasure of attending Transform magazine’s Employer Brand Management Conference, with Employer Brand Leaders from 18 different companies including Unilever, Dixons Carphone and Aviva. The conference was focused on employer branding at times of change, which in today’s market is relevant for almost every company out there! Here are 10 takeaway points we gained from the conference:

Strong employer brands start from the inside out

You can’t just create an employer brand to the archetype of what your company to be – the employer brand must be shaped internally to then be communicated to the external market. You don’t need to start from scratch necessarily; often you can enhance what’s already there! Speak to your employees, carry out a ground perception survey and see if the messages align. If not put a strategy in place to make better changes that will reflect your employer brand ambitions.

Your values are a great way to attract candidates, but they need to work

Long gone are the days where candidates only look for the biggest salary when choosing their next employer, EVP’s are also really crucial to their decision. Candidates want to join a company with values that align with their own – however it’s important that you make these EVP’s work! Jonny Briggs from Aviva noted that in the quest for attracting Data Scientists the prospect of joining a secure, traditional insurance company wasn’t always their biggest sell. Instead they showcased employees who had joined from more tech lead companies like Call of Duty as a way to attract candidates from similar backgrounds!

You must invest time in stakeholder engagement and demonstrate ROI

If you don’t get buy in from the top down then you are setting your employer brand up to fail. You need to get engagement from key stakeholders and managers, and to do this you’ll need to demonstrate the expected ROI. Establish your metrics to measure the success of your strategy, whether it’s recruitment / retention KPI’s or employee surveys, having the metrics in place will help back your case to senior management / stakeholders.

Don’t patronise – humanise

When you start to map out your employer brand strategy it can quickly turn into a list of buzzwords / HR terminology, but is that going to appeal to potential candidates? Cut the buzzwords and make sure the marketing content you push out sells your company in a way that makes sense to your target audience.

Glassdoor can be your friend

A lot of companies are terrified of Glassdoor, mainly because we associate review sites with disgruntled customers / employees. According to a representative from Glassdoor only 61% of companies respond to reviews / comments on the site – however 65% of people who have submitted reviews noted that if a company did send a reply said this could help change their perception of the company. So instead of hiding away from reviews, get responding!

Employer Advocacy can help your recruitment strategy

A lot of companies are terrified of employees talking about them on Social Media, mainly for the same fears they have about Glassdoor! However when happy, engaged employees share content to their networks it doesn’t just expand the organic reach of your content, but it also makes employees feel empowered and helps to build trust in your brand. Keeran Gunno, Global Employer Brand Director at Unilever introduced an employee advocacy program for their organisation focusing on LinkedIn and saw fantastic results: Through shares their content reached 200 million people and influenced 1200 new hires! As well as this the candidates who applied as a result of seeing this content were also seen as being more capable of making an informed decision about Unilever before their interview, which helped with retention and acceptance rates.

Your website isn’t always the best way to attract candidates

Depending on your organisation, chances are your website is geared towards your customers / clients. Sometimes you have an enormous amount of information on there but only 5% is actually relevant to a candidate. In a market where skilled candidates are very much in demand the last thing you want to do is attract people to your website, only for them to lose interest or be unable to find your careers page! Hosting a separate careers hub / microsite allows these companies to give a richer sense of experience away from the noise of their corporate site. This means the information you display can be super targeted, encouraging a higher volume of relevant applications.

Your company culture is brand dynamite

James Rutter, Director of COOK made this statement when speaking about the idea of ‘Disruption’ at last week’s conference and it is very true. People and culture are the best way to show your employer brand because they are at the heart of what this is. Look at employee storytelling as a way to showcase your brand to the external market, and get your employees involved in the strategy too!

You have to be authentic

This word was used A LOT at last week’s conference mainly because it captures exactly what employer branding is. You can’t use clever marketing spiel / pretend you’re something that you’re not to draw candidates to your company. They will see right through it and either waste your time at application stage / impact on your retention rates. Instead showcase the reality of your company culture, in a positive light! People don’t expect perfection!

You don’t own your employer brand

As much as we would like to control this the truth is you can never fully own your employer brand. Your employees and stakeholders are the main contributors to the employer brand, so in order to make sure your strategy stays on track you should form an employer brand team across the whole organisation, educate leaders on your EVP’s and strategy as well as carry out regular employee and ground perception surveys to ensure your message is consistent across the whole organisation.


Sophie Heaton (Employer Brand Manager, JobHoller)

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