Cristina Muntean recently spent several intense months reviving the integrated communications of a division of a large manufacturing operation located outside of Prague. Part of that task entailed establishing a stronger employer brand. She reflects on that work below:
How important is it to connect your consumer or customer brand to the employer brand? And how much should marketing to your employees affect what and how you market your product?
“It is a simple question to answer, but a hard thing to do. A good consumer brand absolutely makes an employee interested in the company, and curious about how it is to work there. This interest can be leveraged into a good employer brand. What makes it difficult is ensuring that the same values that make something a good consumer brand are translated into the employer brand. If this overlap does not happen and employees can see a disconnection between the consumer brand and the employer brand, it can have a very negative impact on retaining people. You need the values that created the product to also drive your behavior as an employer.”
When building that brand, did you find that employees wanted more than compensation and benefits from the company? For instance, did they want meaning? How much emphasis did you place on the company’s role in promoting the circular economy when constructing the employer branding?
“In general, the bluer the collar, the more important role compensation plays in joining and staying at a company. As people begin to feel more secure, they want more engagement and freedom. They want a degree of autonomy to work the way they want to or to be able to take breaks when they feel they need them. They also have a need to understand how what they do helps the company and the customer: they want a sense of how important their work is. We wanted our people to see how directly what they did helped people. We would explain how the time and quality of refurbishment of a phone put that phone back in the hands of elderly people who relied on it to communicate with their family and their doctors. The more concretely you can describe how your product influences people’s lives, the more engagement you can build.”
How difficult is it to convince middle management that they are the direct representative of the employer brand, and how do you help them develop those representational skills?
“This may be the hardest task of building an employer brand. Middle managers are usually under tremendous pressure to deliver results, and have little time to consider changing what they do. If they are used to achieving results through a direct use of power, they have the most to lose by giving this up to allow more autonomy. Persuading them requires constant communication of what they will gain through applying the company’s values.”
How do you know how successful your employer brand is?
“You can measure it in many ways, but, for me, the best sign of success is when former employees send people your way.”