What prompted your thinking in the first place? Well, it started with product brand management. The employer brand idea grew out of that. The essence of brand management is the basis for my thinking.

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What prompted your thinking in the first place? Well, it started with product brand management. The employer brand idea grew out of that. The essence of brand management is the basis for my thinking.

There are 6 key elements, and this is important because those 6 elements apply to the employer brand as well: The first step is research and planning across consumer, trade, competition and the regulatory environment. Step two is the formulation of a strategy approved and supported by involved senior management who know brand management. I could not have done my job without them, they were demanding, had high expectations and knew my job backwards.

The third step is the creation of a proposition which is distinctive, compelling and rooted in reality. Step five, this may surprise you, constant liaison with a dedicated management accountant advising on the financial implications of every step I took. Being my financial adviser on every aspect of the brand. It might be worth noting what I think makes a good product brand manager. Here are a few points: One, they have to have the trust and respect of powerful line management and functions across the company.

That trust is based on you knowing more about the brand than anyone on earth. Second, you need to have the ability to influence and inspire without line authority, and at all levels including European and global management.

We talk about the event and then he says he has to read a report. I take out a copy of Campaign Magazine, the advertising journal, and Ralph notices it immediately. After a few years, I found myself face to face with the responsibility of managing quite a large team serving the HR community. It seemed to me that the world of employment was dominated by the need to react. How do we fill the gap?

I also found it handicapped by the absence of strategy. Senior management involvement seemed to be lacking, lack of research, and lack of measurement. I thought how great it would be if the best of all that could be brought into this sprawling, yet vital, new area for me. It needed its own disciplines.

The second is that while customers will know a bit about the brands they, an employee knows almost everything about their working experience. What issues did the idea have to surmount in the early years? I picked out some key findings, which I think may be of interest.

Number one, the introduction of marketing terms was a terrible problem for HR and internal communications, A, for the meaning, and B, for what they meant deep down.

Heres a choice verbatim. Although not as many. Is employer brand a nice-to-have? So often, people are pitched into doing this stuff right, when something bad happens. We cannot recruit X and Y. Why did we fail to get so, and so, and so? Some sort of failure, in my experience as a consultant, is what often drives the first call.

I think the employer brand might be a way. Some argue there is no employer brand. Instead, there is only one brand. Not everybody can do that job. You have to show up. You have to be clean and reasonably well-groomed. You have to have an easy manner with customers. You have to get on with the rest of the crew. You have to follow a standard process. This process of who we hire and who they are is a very critical separate stance.

Of course much of it is in common, but EB thinking would not have taken off in the way it has if people thought one brand was enough on its own. It needs a subset driven by different management skills to create, manage and measure the employment experience. Did you expect the employer brand to take off the way it has? I always had a belief in it because it was logically so strong, but it was a slow start for the reasons we unearthed with the LBS study I was quoting just now.

It is good to see the growth in the number of employer brand managers within organizations. What makes employer brand management so important today?

It used to be the case in client services businesses, that the key success factor was the ability to win clients. Doing the work was not the difficult bit. Winning it was difficult. I fundamentally disagree with that. Start with them. My golden rule, I ran an advertising agency for 10 years, is to do something great every six weeks because that should ensure the firm remains lively and attractive to the team.

Additionally, an improvement to the organisation and if nothing else have a party! What are your top 3 tips to effective employer brand management? First, focus on the employment experience itself. How do you rate every key touch point which impacts your people? Second, get a board-level sponsor and through them, get senior management actively involved.

Functions like HR, marketing, corporate affairs, and internal communications, none of them can actually do this on their own. As I said re brand management earlier, these functions can highlight the need. They cannot really lead the action. My power as a product manager was because my plan became the corporate plan. Not because of me, but because it came from the top. So the connection with senior management is absolutely vital to this area. Great employer brands are built on the basics, which create the distinctive and compelling point of difference.

People try, and they fail. So employer branding is a problem for me. It has its role, of course, just like advertising has its role.

So those are my top three tips. What challenges face employer brand thinking right now? The first challenge is the perceived, highly sensitive nature of so much employee and HR work. Going back to product management, most of the elements are outside the company.

In my brand management, I made two quite serious mistakes. We need a major order for imminent delivery. So he runs lines at the maximum speed. I am in trouble as a result and should, of course, have gone to the plant director.

I should not have taken that kind of decision. I was forgiven due to the commercial pressure that the company was under. It was incorrect but sometimes in marketing, you do have to behave in an entrepreneurial manner. We may get onto that. The second part is in many organizations, the senior management group are not involved and focused on this area.

They have other fish to fry. Early on in a project, I am interviewing an experienced middle manager. Why is that? The third point is that the employer brand concept is often seen as just an aid to effective recruitment. Establishing what can be said, undertaking some research with relevant targets conducting the interviews on the lines I just described , creating the communications and messaging required.

As I said earlier, advertising and communications is only part of good product management. It only works when customers like the product anyway. What is the role of human resources? This is a delicate area. HR is key. Its historic role is to ensure the provision of personnel needs and to deliver service without risk, but building a great employer brand, like any form of transformation, needs bounding confidence, as well as commercial calculation and creative thinking.

It takes courage to say, this is wrong and press for change. This is what we need to be. Employer brand management needs a broader providence. If marketing took over employer brand management, they would fail.


Simon Barrow, the Creator of Employer Brand

Within this paper, Simon Barrow and Tim Ambler defined the employer brand as "the package of functional, economic and psychological benefits provided by employment, and identified with the employing company". Similar recognition of the growing importance of employer brand thinking and practice has also been recently in evidence in the USA, [12] Australia, [11] Asia, [13] [14] [15] and Europe, [16] [17] [18] [19] with the publication of numerous books on the subject. The market has shifted since the great recession in favor of candidates given low unemployment. This means that employers are fighting over the same small pool of candidates to fill their open roles, especially in hard to fill areas like data scientist and other STEM based roles.

AR 190-16 PDF

The employer brand



Employer branding



The employer brand


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