What’s on your employer brand runway for 2024?

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What steps will you take to ensure your employer brand remains relevant, future-fit and authentic, asks Celeste Sirin, MD of Employer Branding Africa.

As we embark on the journey that is 2024, it’s a time for reflection, growth, and strategic planning. Drawing inspiration from global predictions offered by renowned employer branding thought leaders and esteemed consultancies towards the close of 2023, we stand at the cusp of endless possibilities for enhancing your employer brand.

In a year that promises innovation and evolution, the question beckons: What steps will you take to ensure your employer brand remains relevant, future-fit and authentically resonates with your people both inside and out of your organisation?

Trend 1: mobilising employees internally

In the talent race, your organisation holds a hidden treasure – your existing workforce. Look beyond external recruitment; tap into the potential of your loyal, committed, and skilled employees who have been instrumental in your success.

With the shift toward a skills-first working environment, identify and nurture the wealth of transferable soft skills and competencies within your team. Foster a culture of internal growth, developing existing resources to advocate for retention over recruitment.

Why retire when your most valuable assets are eager to advance within your organisation? Tailor and embed your often long-forgotten EVP inwardly, remembering that retention is not only driven through monetary value.

Your employer brand advantage: mobilising employees internally not only enhances engagement within your workforce, but also signifies profound acknowledgment and appreciation. On the external front, it positions your organisation as an exceptional employer dedicated to propelling career progression and advancement, intricately future-proofing both individual careers and the organisation as a whole.

Considerations:

Recognition and engagement: how can internal mobilisation enhance recognition and engagement among your employees?
External brand reputation: in what ways can internal mobilisation contribute to building a remarkable employer brand reputation externally?

Trend 2: build brand advocacy through harnessing trusted employee voices

Many companies miss a significant opportunity by not being intentional about maximising the wealth of valuable employee-generated content and recruiter/talent leader insights. This content, when strategically curated and shared, serves as a powerful storytelling tool, offering an authentic glimpse into the workplace, culture, values, behaviour, and work-life within the organisation.

The constant reinforcement of the employer brand narrative, echoed and promoted throughout the organisation, serves as a compelling reminder to employees about why they chose your organisation as their preferred workplace. This continuous narrative subconsciously reinforces, brings to life, and impresses upon employees the unique qualities that make their organisation stand out.

Your employer brand advantage: The authentic voices of employees at work, leaders leading by example, and talent advisors and acquisition specialists on the frontline provide a transparent narrative and real-life stories, offering a genuine depiction of what it’s truly like to work within the company.

Considerations:

Strategy or action plan: what robust employee advocacy program or action plan have you set in motion to effectively harness and gather insights into the vibrant work life within your organisation? How intentional and action-oriented is your approach to building your employer brand through your employees?

Enablers: do your people have easy access to tools, channels, and recruiter enablers or talent leader/employee enablers that make it achievable to encourage their participation in providing the collective voice behind the organisation?

Trend 3: differentiate your employer brand through providing a remarkable/unforgettable candidate experience

An exceptional candidate experience, equally significant as a consumer experience, holds immense importance as a key differentiator.
The commitment and endorsement of your people can elevate this experience to new heights. By meticulously mapping the moments that matter and surprising candidates with unexpected, personal, meaningful, and caring human connections, you position your organisation in a league of its own.

It’s a shift that transcends simplicity, such as opting for a personal phone call over clinical written communications or sending a tailored thank you letter specific to aspects that stood out during the interview process. Recognising the importance of both successful appointees and regretted applicants is crucial, as they become brand advocates for your employer brand, whether they succeed in the role or not.

Your employer brand advantage: Aligning all stakeholders to effectively showcase, translate, promote, and unlock the power of your Employer Brand and Employer Value Proposition is key. This involves active participation from those involved in the interviewing process. By focusing on tailoring, personalising, and amplifying the human connection throughout the interview process, you can elevate the candidate experience from good to great.

Considerations:

  • Mystery shopper concept: when was the last time you adopted the mystery shopper concept to test your employer brand footprint pre-hire?
  • Candidate journey mapping: have you mapped out your recruitment process to ensure the seamless integration of your EVP narrative and employer brand messaging?
  • Stakeholder alignment: how aligned are your hiring managers, line managers, and talent team with your latest employer brand messaging and relevant newsworthy happenings within your organisation?

Trend 4: embracing AI to enhance employer branding internally

The evolution of artificial intelligence (AI) is reshaping job roles, expediting processes, and refining candidate assessments. This evolution offers significant efficiencies as companies recognise the paramount importance of internally fortifying their employer brand. The focus is on galvanising employees and refining the entire employee lifecycle.

Your employer brand advantage: AI emerges as a strategic ally in tackling heavy lifting and fostering creative thinking to address gaps and challenges throughout the candidate and employee lifecycle. This includes revisiting and refining employee satisfaction pulse surveys, competitive differentiating surveys, retention surveys, and more. AI also plays a crucial role in gathering employee-generated content to inform, shape, educate, and keep external talent engaged with the internal culture, values, and noteworthy talent brand-related news.

Considerations:

  • When was the last assessment of HR satisfaction service levels into your organisation, EVP, and employees’ understanding of their impact and belonging to the organisation?
  • What AI enablers and communication mechanisms are in place to support leaders in championing and living the employer brand, shaping a positive employee experience continually?

In the ever-changing landscape of predictions and trends, one constant remains – the integral role of employer branding in your talent management strategy. Recognising employer branding as a living organism, the emphasis may shift internally towards retention rather than solely external attraction.

Amid budget cuts, economic uncertainties, and external trends, the unwavering truth persists: the dedicated cultivation of a happy and engaged workforce is the perennial driver of success for your organisation. As we navigate the future, let this be our guiding principle – employer branding is not just a strategy; it is the heartbeat that sustains and propels the thriving pulse and profitability of your organisation.

 

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