Making sure your Employer Brand isn't absolutely rubbish

BY Scott Millward   |  

Ooooooo, employer brand, eh?

Yeah, it's a sexy buzz term, employer brand nowadays, isn't it?

It's just a shame no-one has a bloody clue what one is, or how to create a good one.

Well, I say no-one. Some people do. Like me. I do.

"Oh, how very big headed of you, Scott."

I know, I know. But what can I say? It's my gig, man.

But how? How the jimminy do you create an employer brand?

Well, I'm not going to tell you just yet.

Step 1.

Ask yourself, who are we?

And I mean really.

I always go on about this, but to build a real employer brand, you need self-awareness. I mean, you really need to understand who you are as a business.

You can't just pop a 'scooter-to-work' scheme on your list of benefits, and video loads of happy people (actors) scootering to work if, in reality, only one person uses a scooter because most people live 20 miles from your office. No-one in the right mind is scootering 20 miles.

You can't talk about unlimited holidays and bury the fact that most people in your company took far less holiday than the standard amount because, at the min, their workloads are too big.

We all love our own businesses. We all think our company is the best. We all think we treat our staff and employees really well.

But, in reality, we all have warts. We all have things we do badly.

We all have jobs in our companies that have rubbish bits to them.

And if you're not honest about that, if you're not transparent, people will accept a job based on how 'amazing' your company is (because that's all you tell them), only to think 'sack this' and walk out after a week of working for you because they saw the reality.

Want to build a great employer brand. First, take a long hard look in the mirror. Then tell the truth. Even the bad bits.

Step 2.

Use the voices of your employees.

And no, that doesn't mean force them.

If I had a Venezuelan bolivar for every time I've seen companies force their employees to complete a 'Best Places to Work' survey, I wouldn't be very rich because bolivars are worth diddly squat...but I'd have a lot of them.

The point is, using your employees voice means asking them genuinely what they think, and letting them voice that online.

However, that also puts the pressure on you because you need to make sure you treat them well.

Putting pressure on them to complete daft surveys when they hate you, their job, and pray that their manager is savaged by a random jaguar that escaped from Chester Zoo, isn't going to do you any favours.

Bad employer, bad employer brand.

Yup, I'm really sorry to say this, but if you've got cr*ppy pay, poor benefits, rubbish work/life balance, no progression or training, and an office dog that bites people and leaves surprises in the corners of your office, you're going to struggle to build a decent employer brand.

If that's you and you tell the truth, you won't attract anyone.

That's why, the starting point for any great employer brand is creating a truly great place to work. Treating your people well.

Because if you treat them well, you'll grow a great employer brand because they'll talk about how amazing it is to work for you. Word of mouth is still the most powerful form of marketing. And that goes for your employer brand too.

Step 3.

Look after your leavers.

If they're leaving, they don't matter.


This is one of the biggest mistakes I see people make. If you treat leavers badly, don't listen to the reason they're leaving, and don't focus on addressing the issues that they raised and their reasons for jumping ship, you'll always be fighting an uphill battle.

You see, if you're losing people, there's a reason. And the more people that leave and feel as though you burnt them, the bigger that negative 'let's destroy our old employer on Glassdoor' army becomes.

And trust me, that Glassdoor army can massively limit your chances of hiring good people.

Tell them you were wrong.

So many employers struggle with this.

If someone leaves, and it's for a negative reason, you need to take some responsibility for that. And you need to make that person aware that you failed them. And, in many situations, you need to apologise.

Because the fact that you admitted your part in that failure will do a lot to mend some of that relationship. And though it might not solve everything, it'll soften the blow. And it might even stop them talking negatively about working for your business.

Listen to them. And make every effort to address whatever caused them to call it a day.

And, erm, yeah.

That's it for now.

In truth, I'm bored of writing.

OK, so there's 3 tips that I really believe are the core of building a great employer brand. There's a lot more to it, but if you don't get those right, you'll be right on your way.

Anyway, if you want help with your employer brand, I'm only around the corner. Well, I'm around the online corner. Or I'm on LinkedIn, is what I mean. You know what I mean, right?


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