Building an employer brand is an eye-opening experience. It’s a chance to step outside of your everyday work, take a really good look at your organisation and decide what defines it as an employer. You may not always like what you see, but everything – the good and the bad – will matter when it comes to creating a unique brand and set of people promises that attract and retain the right talent.

At Creed, we believe that the research period for creating an employer brand is the most crucial part of the process. You need to know who you are before you can decide who you want to be.

We always recommend a little investment in independent research, but when time is pressing this doesn’t have to take months. In fact, our robust yet pragmatic discovery methodology can yield the insight you need in a matter of weeks.

As good teachers say, “You can’t mark your own homework”, so it’s important that whoever undertakes this work is completely objective and also asks the right questions. You can look under a lot of stones to find the data you need, but some stones are better than others.

What to look for

You will need to deploy both quantitative and qualitative research techniques to understand who you are and create a brand that is both authentic and fit for purpose. We believe any useful exercise needs to examine the following areas.

  • Your employer reputation – what people with no links to your company really think about you, warts and all.
  • The current employee experience – finding out what your employees are thinking can be tricky and people can be either too negative or afraid to speak up. It’s here that an external partner can provide a genuine advantage.
  • Your talent landscape – what environment are you operating in? What kind of people are out there and where can you find them?
  • Your competitors – what are they up to and what employer brands have they created? How can you react to those brands to provide a better alternative?
  • The target audience – you need to know what your potential future employees are thinking, what motivates them and what they’re looking for in an employer.
  • Your corporate brand and values – an employer brand should work sympathetically with your corporate brand and culture.
  • Your direction of travel – you need to understand where you are going and develop the talent plans to propel you forwards. This insight will enable you to attract, retain and motivate the talent needed to keep your customer promises, and enable your organisation to fulfil its mission and purpose.

Staying impartial

As we said, this research must be completely objective to be effective. You’ll need to keep an open mind about what the data might suggest and possibly resist the temptation to use it to validate an opinion already held in the business, especially if the data suggests otherwise.

Asking who you are can be enlightening and sometimes challenging. Let us help you through the process. To find out more about building an employer brand and how to deploy it, download our free guide on the subject here.