Let’s start with a statistic, 86% of workers would not apply for, or continue to work for, a company that has a bad reputation for its treatment of employees. As an organisation, you could have the best pay and benefits policies in the world, but if your reputation is that you don’t treat your people well, the overwhelming majority are not going to join your team. With social media and websites like Glassdoor it’s never been easier for an organisation to build (or destroy) their employer brand in a relatively short time. Therefore, a good employer brand is critical to an organisations ability to attract and retain talent.

Your brand is not a social media post

One of the reasons why so many firms have failed to build an adequate brand, is because they approach employer branding like it’s a tactical activity. A few posts on social media does not mean you have a good employer brand. Your employer brand is something much bigger than that, it’s your actual reputation. The emphasis should be on the word brand. If a major political figure was caught murdering several puppies in cold blood, a couple of pictures on social media of them smiling and playing games with friends are not going to convince you they are actually a nice person whom you should vote for. The same goes for your employer brand. Just because you posted a few pictures of a team outing on LinkedIn, this is not going to have an impact if the public perception is that you treat employees like disposable slaves.

Authentically communicate who you are

The truth is, not everyone is going to fit in to every environment. Whatever kind of environment you create, there is going to be a group of people who do not like it. Therefore, its important to communicate as authentically as possible who you are. It is common that a high performing organisation will have both positive and negative feedback because it is a high performing organisation. The positive feedback comes from individuals saying they love the organisation because it only rewards the top performers every year. The negative feedback also comes from individuals because they only reward the top performers every year. The ones who enjoy it are those who are top performers, the others complain because they aren’t the top performers.

Such an organisation should communicate its culture as such. If the organisation is geared towards top performers, then they need to be as authentic and candid as possible about that. The message should be that the organisation only accepts the best, if you think you are in the top 10% or you want to be in the top 10% then this is where you should be. In return you are going to be very well rewarded for being in that top 10%. But, if you can’t hack it, you will probably get fired or quit at some point as not everyone can be at the top. This is going to be hugely attractive to highly motivated individuals who want to be part of the elite and terrifying to folks who just want a nice 9-5 and no stress. This is what you should want, as those who are not aligned to the organisation wont fit in and will likely fail.

A good brand does not mean you have to be a fun brand

If this same organisation puts out several posts every day across all social media platforms, showing people hanging out, having lunch, having beers after work, team outings and generally having fun, but not doing any work, what kind of person do you think this will attract? Is this going to attract a top performer who is driven by achievement and is willing to put in long hours, or employees who would prefer a nice work life balance? Of course, it is the latter. Now, there is nothing wrong with employees who want a nice work life balance, they can still be incredibly good at what they do. But they would not fit in to the organisation described above. They would fit in to another organisation, where the culture was more aligned to their preferences. There has been a misconception for a long time that an employer brand must be fun and make the organisation look cool. This is not true. Your employer brand should act as a filter, attracting the type of people you do want, while putting off the type of people you do not want.  

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