How employee engagement can help your employer brand

by guest blogger Lottie Gunn, Ellwood Atfield

Another great Employee Engagement Alliance session that Malcolm Cotterell kicked off, by defining what an employer brand is:

The CIPD states that Employer Branding: promotes the attributes and qualities, often intangible, that make an organisation distinctive, promise a particular kind of employment experience and appeal to those who will thrive and perform best in its culture.

Malcolm discussed how every business has an employer brand (by default) whether it’s written down or managed in some way. On this basis employees can be a company’s greatest advocates or your most damaging antagonist. Especially with the rise of social media. Glassdoor is a prime example of this, as is Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Malcolm stated that the litmus test is: How would your employees talk about your business in a pub? He also discussed how you can use engaged employees to spread the (good) word through internal and external channels:

  • Blogs
  • Testimonials, not just about the company but also the location
  • Videos

Amongst other thing…

Read more on The Role of Reward and Recognition in Effective Employee Engagement.

Malcolm also discussed how recruitment, development, policies and procedures all need to be in line with the vision and values of a company. Find out what connects a company and what disconnects it and work with that.


‘How things are done around your business’ IS your business

Tanya Harris who is the CEO of ICOM4 discussed: The Power of Living Your Brand and how culture represents your brand, which people sometimes forget: ‘How things are done around your business’ IS your business. How your employees speak to each other and customers, represents your brand.

As Warren Buffett once proclaimed: “It takes 20 years to build a good reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” 

Everything your business does needs to be linked to your vision, strategy and values: your recruitment; employee’s development; policies, etc. They all need to reflect what your organisation is trying to achieve.

From a recruitment perspective it is so true. Organisations/ hiring managers/ HR need to think about the behaviours that they want someone to demonstrate, which fit with what your organisation is trying to achieve. An organisation’s recruitment process must reflect this – from overall branding, adverts (their tone, etc.), interview style and process. When  you’re looking to hire someone into your team it’s important to also think about what type of person will complement your team, and this might not necessarily be the person that’s exactly like you… Belbin’s team roles can provide a useful guide. It suggests that a team must consist of different roles/ types of people to achieve maximum performance.


Internal Environment

Amy Brann who is a Director at Synaptic Potential which is the first company dedicated to bridging the gap between scientists and organisations and helps organisations understand how their people actually work/ tick.

Amy discussed the highlights of their White Paper on How to Get Board Buy-in for Employee Engagement and the importance of organisations clarifying what they want people to be engaged in – what do you want people to do – what behaviour are you looking for? What are the results that people should be generating? Then designing an internal environment to best support that. So if you want people to be innovative, if this is one of your values, create an environment that stimulates innovation in people. She discussed the way that our brain works and how certain things, like playing with lego, for example, will stimulate innovation in someone.

Amy also highlighted how TRUST is key and quoted Stephen M R Covey: “The first job of a leader—at work or at home—is to inspire trust.”

She also discussed that to get Board buy-in for employee engagement you need to speak their language.


The Panel

The session then finished with a panel discussion where the speakers were joined by Chairman of the Employee Engagement Alliance Crispin Manners and Louisa Moreton from Instinctif, where it was highlighted that an Employer Brand must be two-way: the organisation must set clear expectations of what they will provide the employee and also what is expected from the employee in return.
It was also highlighted that if people are voicing their opinion, even if it’s negative, then at least they have the passion to do this. It’s those who aren’t speaking up who are the hardest to connect with. As long as there’s a dialogue then things can be changed and when they are changed it can’t be a one-off. People need constant communication and if initiatives start they need to continue, otherwise employee’s will lose trust.