In the old days, actors often built their characters from the outside in. If they were to play a roguish charmer then they’d head for the props department and choose a rakish hat and colourful set of pantaloons. In the 20th century, method acting became the preferred choice of serious players. They’d look at their character’s motivations and history and internalise what they were thinking and feeling. The first approach was good for pantomime. The second has delivered performances that felt authentic and real.
So it is with your employer brand. A lovely logo, colour scheme and a beautiful set of photographs provides the external version of your brand. But unless your brand is also being lived from the inside then it’s fairly shallow and inauthentic.
In short, you need to take a method acting approach to your employer brand, where the people inside your company truly believe in, and live, its promises and values. This requires constant education.
Employer brands are long-term projects that may take some time to fully percolate within an organisation. You need to explain the brand and what it means before people can start to connect with it, believe in it, and, finally, champion it.
Hopefully you’re starting from a strong point with a brand that has been carefully researched and created, one that chimes fully with the experience of working at your company. If not, maybe you should think again.
It’s important to remember that the brand that you’ve created is not for the use of HR alone. It belongs to everyone. And if only HR buy into it, then it means nothing.
Education starts at the top with communications from both you and the company’s leadership, endorsing the brand and saying why it matters so much.
Then you need to take everyone into consideration. You’ll have to create a communications strategy that reaches all parts of the organisation. It’s not just about an initial burst of education (although a launch is a good idea), it also needs to run through everything thereafter. Regular communications must reiterate brand messages. Coaching sessions with line managers should reinforce how they should deliver your People Deal. Everyone should have access to a simple guide to the brand and what it means.
A video is always a good idea for getting messages across simply and effectively. A roadshow delivered by senior staff will demonstrate how the brand is being taken seriously at the highest levels. Reward and recognition schemes are excellent ways of reinforcing good behaviours.
The work never ends and if you decide to stop talking about your employer brand then people will stop thinking about it. Education, education, education: it’s the only way to keep things fresh and relevant.
Communicating an employer brand is tough. Let us help you through the process. To find out more about building an employer brand and how to celebrate it through every employee touchpoint, download our free Talking Points guide here.