An organizations values is another important factor. What do these people believe in? How do they treat their own employees, customers and partners? Do they operate responsively? Are the values visible in the day to day operations or are they just fancy words in a PowerPoint document?
Companies that manage to attract, hire and retain the most competent, talented and motivated people are likely to win in the competitive and fast-developing business environment in Kenya. That is a great recipe to commercial success and something that very few people disagree with. Yet, it’s evident that the concept of employer branding is somewhat unclear to many organizations in Kenya despite the fact that its core to successful talent attraction and a key ingredient to profitable long-term business.
Many managers wonder whether it makes sense to build an employer brand, what to say about the company and how to create employer branding communications that touch the hearts and minds of people. In this short article, we try to highlight the importance of employer branding in organizations, as well as give some advice and tips on what to do in practice and how to do it properly.
To begin with, let´s be clear on why organizations need to put an effort on branding:
- The main reason is in attracting candidates to the company. And not just any candidates, but the right candidates that have a high probability of getting selected to the organization and giving their best. Those candidates usually like the company mission and culture and have the required critical capabilities that benefit the firm. If an organization attracts the right candidates, it stands a good chance of reducing the recruitment window and the work effort of reviewing various un-fitting candidates.
- A good employer brand also helps companies retain their employees. If the employer image is easily understood and inspiring, the employees will have a sense of belonging and stay longer. Furthermore, all recently-hired employees know where they are coming to, and there are less surprises and disappointments after the first weeks at work. A good employer brand works both inside and outside the organization.
- Finally, a good employer brand helps companies create brand ambassadors who talk positively about them thus pushing their brand to their targeted audience. Such ambassadors could be the current employees of the firm or just people who like the company’s mission. Whenever the said brand ambassadors talk about an organization they like, they are basically offering free advertising.
What then should organizations highlight when talking about their brand? There are at least four things that candidates are interested in:
- Many people are curious to know the organization’s mission and vision. Why does this company exist? What does it want to achieve? What change in the society is the company about to make and why is that change needed?
- An organizations values is another important factor. What do these people believe in? How do they treat their own employees, customers and partners? Do they operate responsively? Are the values visible in the day to day operations or are they just fancy words in a PowerPoint document?
- Many candidates usually want to understand what kind of people work for the company, to enable them get a clear picture of the existing team. Are these people satisfied and joyful at work? Do they have clear responsibilities and autonomy to do their job? Do they have clear career projections and plans? Overall, is the company investing in the development of its employees?
- People also want to know about the working environment. Where is the office located and how does it look like? Is it cosy and enjoyable? Does it support teamwork, sharing of ideas and collaboration? What tools, methods, equipment and refreshments are available for the workers?
Finally, how should organizations promote and communicate their employer brand to their selected target audience? This boils down to a communication plan that is solid and comprehensive:
- Organizations should ensure that their employer brand is unique and inspiring to the target group they want to reach. It doesn´t make any sense to copy the much commonly used phrases of competitors, or try to pretend to be something that doesn´t exist. Instead, credible employer brand communications require thorough target group understanding, solid thought leadership, as well as objectivity and realism. It might take several working sessions for companies before the key points and tone-of-voice are ready for communications.
- Once those unique and credible messages have been created, companies need to tell them consistently and systematically in various company presentations, including job ads. Various creative formats should be tried e.g. videos, pictures, narratives or games. They should apply a multichannel approach and use both online (e.g. web pages and social media) and offline (e.g. print magazines, fairs and events).
- Lastly, organizations need to ensure that their employer branding materials are practical enough and not too high-level or difficult to understand. How can this be achieved? By showing real people, real images, daily life and routines, examples of company values or corporate responsibility put into practice, and so on. By doing this, companies can avoid empty jargon that easily irritates candidates and makes them stay away from the organization.
Employer branding is not necessarily an easy task for organizations. It may require management commitment, marketing and communication skills, time and effort, as well as good ideas and a sophisticated understanding of the audience. Typically, the `why´, `what´ and `how´ questions need to be answered before any employer brand building can begin. The rewards of employer branding are clear. Not only will candidates get attracted to an organization, but the existing employees will feel more committed and satisfied in their job. Less worries about talent acquisition and retention, more time to focus on core business plans and execution. Time to start thinking about your employer brand.
Fuzu is a Finnish-Kenyan company that develops career guidance, online learning and recruitment services for the emerging markets. We help people to take the next step in life, get inspiration and unleash their hidden potential. Click here to see how Fuzu can help your company in building and maintaining an attractive employer brand!