I used this quote recently to describe the way that communications within the employer branding lifecycle have evolved since “Employer Branding” was first trumpeted as a new beginning twenty odd years ago.
The current trend is to focus on the fact that employers “can no longer control their employer brand”, but this is to confuse the purpose with the reaction. Sure there will be disgruntled people who will air their views on what they think an employer is like to work for, but listening to this perception – or experience – is nothing new.
An organisation should define its EVP and its expectations, values and behaviours which is different from talking about ‘not controlling your employer brand’, but sometimes the two elements are confused. Managing these behaviours will clearly influence what people say about an organisation and therefore the brand perception in the marketplace.
For me, it always comes back to value which is the founding principle within the EVP. The value that an employee contributes, the value placed on that role by the organisation and the value that organisation brings to others for the work that it does. These are the drivers of reward and motivation – feeling valued – and this is an age old requirement for anyone doing their job. This is the fundamental principle that lies within employer branding as a whole. Even where it has been repackaged, this is where the focus should be then the other aspects of brand measurement follow.
Maybe by focusing on what people are saying about an organisation first as the main trail of an argument we are too quick to look for reasons to blame and point the finger and react to the reaction rather than looking to achieve a greater understanding of the purpose or analysing behaviour.
Finally, this is not to say we are not right to embrace the communication mechanisms that our digital society affords to highlight injustice bad recruitment,employer and management practice. Far from it. A good organisation will be listening, measuring and monitoring every aspect of its employer brand from perception, the candidate experience, employees and alumni. But it needs something to measure its performance and behaviours against which are its values and EVP.
Employer Branding has evolved and is as fluid today by definition as it has always been. The one thing that has never changed is why someone should do the job they do for the person or organisation they work. And in an ideal world they will go home at the end of the day feeling happy and valued.