When Unilever says, ‘A better business. A better world. A better you,’ or when Nike says, ‘We lead. We invent. We deliver. We use the power of sport to move the world,’ they’re not just taglines. These are expressions of the companies’ Employee Value Propositions, statements that succinctly tell anyone who may be contemplating the idea of working there, what the companies are trying to achieve and what they value.
Defining your EVP is, thus, integral to building a powerful employer brand. This is more important than ever now when organisations are witnessing unprecedented levels of competition for talent amid the Great Resignation. The success of an organisation at this tumultuous time will depend on how it differentiates itself and innovates in order to recruit and hold onto valued employees in an ever-shrinking talent pool.
Here’s how to put employee experience at the heart of your employer branding strategy:
Invest in upskilling and employee development programmes
The focus of leadership has, traditionally, been customer oriented. This is rapidly changing. The Randstad Employer Brand Research (REBR) 2022 survey reveals that nine out of 10 Indian employees feel that personal career growth is an important job consideration. In order to motivate employees, employer branding strategies must, therefore, not only include mapping customer personas but also candidate personas.
These should be segmented in terms of culture or job fit. These exercises will allow you to create development programmes and learning opportunities that align with the hopes and expectations of your employees.
Strengthen employer-employee relationships
Internal branding messages can go a long way in creating an emotional connection with an organisation. For employees, the connection they feel with the brand also informs the way they approach their jobs, and interact with customers.
Think of employees as potential brand ambassadors
Like satisfied customers, happy employees can be great brand ambassadors. Positive reviews will boost your organisation’s ability to attract talent. Many organisations thus invest in building employee alumni networks as part of their employer branding strategy.
How you craft and deliver your employer branding message is just as important as the ethos at its core. With this in mind, here’s a look at how some companies have been building powerful employer brands:
Constant reinforcement of messages
Repos Energy’s ‘Fuelled by Yes’ tagline and the mode through which this ideology is reinforced, makes for a great example. Savita Lohan, talent acquisition lead at the energy distribution startup, says the company launched the ‘Repos Way’ book in 2021, to get the most out of employees by underscoring its brand philosophy and principles. Additionally, the book allowed a wider audience to take advantage of and understand the ideas that form the core of the company’s employer branding strategy.
‘We believe employees should perform at the optimal level in both, work and in their personal lives. And, at Repos Energy, we have been building work culture around Indian culture, which we see as a spring for powerful management lessons,’ says Lohan.
“When Repos Energy was launched in 2017, the idea of doorstep diesel delivery was unheard of. And this is an industry, where anything new requires an endless list of approvals from the government, but the founders refused to give up.” The never-say-die attitude of the firm’s founders Chetan and Aditi Walunj are encapsulated in the company’s name: ‘Re’ comes from relentless, and ‘pos’ stands for positive, so the company’s name itself is a reminder to employees to stay positive in the face of challenges. Offered to employees to support this philosophy, even the meditation sessions – these are conducted thrice a week to reduce stress and boost optimism – thus underscore the brand’s story and ideology.
The power of purpose
It takes time to build a strong employer brand, and though often overlooked by companies, well-thought-out and articulated mission and vision statements are vital elements. These work to help clients to understand what to expect from your business; they also inspire employees to work towards the objectives outlined in the statement. Besides, there are numerous studies now that show that a company’s values are also an important criterion for job seekers.
Elon Musk’s Tesla is a great example of how a mission statement can be drafted to highlight a firm’s direction and ambitions. The company’s corporate mission is ‘to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy’.
“One of our large Indian clients, a huge telco in Asia, actually has five-star ratings on every single micro-app they build for employees. You can bet the HR team immediately fixes things that get rated poorly.” – Josh Bersin, Global Industry Expert.
These are well-chosen words.: ‘To accelerate’ suggests that Tesla has pushed the industry towards advanced technologies. The word ‘world’ makes it in there to indicate the global market as well as the company’s commitment to source the best global talent, and finally, the statement describes the nature of the business.
Does articulating the employer branding strategy translate into better employee experiences though? It’s not directly causative, of course, but it would certainly have contributed to the fact that out of 458 Tesla employee reviews on Comparably, 79 per cent were positive, and the remaining 21 per cent were constructive reviews with the goal of helping Tesla improve their work culture.
Focus on culture
Delivery startup Dunzo’s employees have given its work culture a five-star rating on Glassdoor , and 4.1 in AmbitionBox despite complaints about long work hours. What is the seven-year-old company doing right?
Dunzo makes every effort to provide a fair and transparent work environment for all its employees. Leaders at the Bengaluru-headquartered company believe in nurturing careers and celebrating talent and employees are not only encouraged to voice their concerns and views but all opinions are also given due importance. It’s not enough to just listen to employees, the HR department must make every effort to fix the issues that have been brought to the company’s notice.
As Josh Bersin, founder of the eponymous research and advisory, says on his website, “One of our large Indian clients, a huge telco in Asia, actually has five-star ratings on every single micro-app they build for employees. You can bet the HR team immediately fixes things that get rated poorly.”
A positive employee experience is thus the net result of multiple factors and initiatives. It requires concentrated and consistent effort by employers. But it’s worth the work because as studies like this one show, compensation alone simply won’t help you to hold onto your best workers.