Deeds not words – Cultivating a strong employer brand

Deeds not words – Cultivating a strong employer brand

Hollie Abbott

Hollie Abbott

By the time you’re reading this, all UK organisations that employ 250 people or more have (or should have) published their gender pay gap. More than 10,000 large firms have provided details of their gender pay gap and so far, the results have shown that three-quarters of them pay men more than women. Yet despite the legal requirement to submit these figures, there is no obligation for organisations to take action and reduce their gender pay gap.

However, if they fail to address it, their brand and reputation may be affected.

It's all in the narrative

Instead of producing results as just part of a compliance exercise, organisations may choose to seize the opportunity to tackle their gender pay gap and set concrete targets for closing the gap. Above and beyond the obvious reason for doing this – it’s the right thing to do – organisations should consider the impact on their brand if they don’t correct their failings. A weak brand can make retaining and attracting talent a difficult task, resulting in high levels of staff turnover, increased marketing and communications costs and an unproductive workforce.

However, once you’ve been walking the walk and not just talking the talk, then you should make sure that people know about the ‘new you’. So, with that in mind, how can companies start building (or re-building) their employer brand and, of course, how can marketing and PR help?

Shout about it

Many organisations overcoming the gender pay gap will have put coaching programmes in place to ensure female staff are successful in all areas of the business. However, a crucial step is not only to be a coach, but also an advocate for female representation across the company. For example, when profiling female staff in external press, don’t just allow male staff to talk about how the company has overcome the gender pay gap – put forward female staff and those from diverse backgrounds to speak with the media. For instance, Stylist magazine has a section called ‘A day in the life’, where the team profiles employees in various job roles, not just senior management. This variety will not only show diversity in your organisations, but it frequently leads to the unearthing of interesting and unusual stories. Your organisation may also be in the fortunate situation where the gender pay gap has never been an issue – and if that’s the case, encourage your female advocates to shout about this in the press too! Show off your USPs and the fact you’re ahead of the legislation.

Similarly, spend some time doing media training and preparing employees to speak with media – and use a cross-section of staff. For example, put forward someone from tech support or business development to give potential employees a different perspective of your organisation. This also gives employees from different levels a chance to represent the company and express their opinions, which will be seen as a positive aspect of working at the company by potential recruits.

Consistency is key

If you want to attract top talent to your company, it’s key to be consistent in your messaging. Any potential candidates will likely take a look at your social media channels to gauge what your company’s culture is like and will judge you based on the messages that you share. Include any company updates such as company away days, new hires and events on your page as well as interesting and engaging blog posts, videos and pictures that are relevant to your company or industry. Authenticity is important and can act as a big differentiator when employers claim they have an excellent company culture.

Twitter is an important social channel to focus on when building your employer brand. We recommend giving your employees Twitter guides, detailing how they should represent the brand online, but with room to allow for personalities to shine through.

Keep an eye out

Do you co-manage Glassdoor with HR? If not, you should. Platforms like Glassdoor give you the opportunity to manage company profiles, so you can include messages that align with other marketing activity. It can also influence strategy and give you an idea of how to strengthen the brand and address or counter weaknesses that arise from public feedback. Through PR and HR co-managing the company Glassdoor profile, you can ensure there are no discrepancies between your messaging and employee reviews - and if there are, address the reviewers accordingly. This shows that you take feedback seriously and aim to resolve any issues that your employees face while working at your organisation.

Whether the impact of the gender pay gap affects your business or not, building a consistent and transparent employer brand is essential in the fight for talent – as a nation built on the services industry, most challenges that brands face eventually come down to people. Improving your employer branding will increase employee engagement by showing employees that they work at a great company, but it will also help retain and recruit talent and ensure that there is consistency in messages, values and behaviour. Ultimately, this can only lead to company success!

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