I’m writing this in something of a hurry but felt compelled to post based on a comment I saw from TruManchester that employer brands no longer exist and have been replaced by ’employee brands’. It’s not the first time I’ve seen this and well done for pushing the argument, but I get the sense the argument here may well be positioned by those who would argue against the existence of employer brands in the first place. I may well be wrong, but show me how one employee (and if we are talking employee brand we are acknowledging an individual point of view) directly replaces an organisation’s Employee Value Proposition which whilst one might argue its interpretation is still an important part of what constitutes an organisation’s employer brand.
There’s nothing that new here. I’m bored of hearing how social media is taking over the world and therefore organisation’s no longer control their own employer brand etc. etc.. It’s like it’s some new revelationary epiphany pushed by those evangelising that social media for those that get it and everyone else still penning their employer branding strategies and articulating their EVPs are going to get left in the stone age. It’s absolute nonsense.
Employees have always been able to voice their opinion and we acknowledge the fact that an employers reputation can spread quickly through a variety of communication channels. Social media has undoubtedly made this a lot easier. But ultimately employees are not the ones running the organisation. Employers have a responsibility to listen and look at their interaction with employees and potential candidates alike. That is why research is so important – and always has been – in analyzing and understanding an organisation’s employer brand and how best to position and communication internally and externally.
Personal branding, on the other hand, is clearly an evolution from social media but still adopts old-fashioned principles of self-promotion. This is where I think the lines are being crossed when interpreting what an employer brand should achieve.
I acknowledge employees and ex-employees as a collective voice have an opinion which influences how an organisation is perceived in the talent market – and that is nothing new. But the organisation is the one that is ultimately in control of its direction, shaped by the people within its organisation. That is the key difference. It doesn’t mean they can control what people are saying about them, but it does mean they’re in a position to act.
Having worked on many employer branding projects, the most important component is the research. What are people saying about your organisation both internally and externally? So what’s the difference now?