Phil Owers: It’s dangerous not to align employee experiences with your external brand

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A cool external brand image can sometimes be the wrong bait to cast when you’re looking for new employees.
Before a candidate even considers the position on offer, the prospect of adding such a prestigious name to their CV and the anticipation of belonging to this environment will already have appeal.

There is a danger in projecting the “cool” brand image, however, if the candidate or employee experience does not match up with how your company truly sees itself.

The disparity between your internal and external brand may emerge when the talent acquisition and HR teams are too far removed from the customer experience team. This chasm within your organisation can lead the brands to diversify, providing candidates and employees with a disjointed experience.

The inconsistency can damage your organisation’s credibility, and the research shows that a negative experience could lead to people actively dissuading others from joining the company.
On the other hand, companies that get it right and align those brands have seen success.

A recent study from LinkedIn found that businesses that have managed to closely align their internal and external brands have, on average, experienced a five-year cumulative growth in shareholder value of 36%.
Achieving this alignment requires an employer to be honest about their value proposition. The employer needs to ensure the brand feels authentic to candidates during their application journeys as well as after they are hired. It also requires the employer to understand the external perceptions of the brands and to road test a candidate’s application experience to ensure that they match.

This is easier said than done, according to Helen Durkin, employer brand manager at Dixons Carphone. She claims that one of the hardest things to achieve when rolling out your employer value proposition (EVP) is, “making your internal touch points match up to the promise you are making to the external market”.
She says the external proposition you use on your careers website, social media and attraction materials is often the first place businesses start because “it’s the easiest to influence more often than not.”
How you get the messaging right on these channels is another question, however. At Papirfly, we recently partnered with Two Heads Consulting to commission research that looked at this very issue. The results showed that there are four areas that organisations should consider when aligning their external and internal brands.

1. Consistency is key
It’s important to ensure communication is consistent across the board. To achieve this, the talent acquisition and HR teams need to stay abreast of all internal digital transformation and internal communications. This will involve working closely with the marketing and comms teams in the business.

2. Strengthen your internal values
The development of a strong internal brand will naturally drive a strong external brand. By hiring to fit the culture, both new and existing employees will feel a closer alignment with the company’s values.

3. Don’t make promises you can’t keep
If the brand messages places emphasis on personal development, transparent leadership or rewards, then the reality has to match the expectations being created. If it fails to meet the standards as advertised, new hires will be disillusioned.

4. Design a positive application process
It’s also important to provide a good application experience, as a bad one can turn a brand advocate into a detractor. A negative recruitment process can ultimately lead to damage reputation and potential loss of future revenue. Companies that have recognised the importance of the application journey, like Virgin Media, have been trying to quantify their applicants’ sentiments by measuring how many applicants who were subscribers, cancelled their subscription after being rejected.

Consistency is key when it comes to employer branding. Businesses that have got it right, and have taken the time to align HR communications within the entire company, will reap the benefits of a strong brand and attract the very best talent.

About Phil Owers

Phil is the CEO at Papirfly Employer Brand. In this role he is responsible for creating a clear strategy for growth and to ensure that the plan is delivered. This includes customer acquisition and management, product development, resourcing and marketing. Papirfly Employer Brand provides online employer branding technology which enables multi-national companies to communicate with their employees and potential employees, simply, cost effectively and consistently in any language.

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