MAX Hire: Employer Branding
In our second feature about MAX Hire, we examine the importance of employer branding and how as part of our wider transformation we are developing a winning strategy for attracting new recruits
What is employer branding?
Your brand is how your customers perceive your products and services and the emotions they experience when doing business with you. Your employer brand is everything you do and say to attract and retain the people to your organization in order to build on or maintain that customer perception.
In other words, it’s your reputation as an employer – the first thing that comes into a person’s head, positive or negative, when someone suggests they consider working for your company.
Unfortunately, what many organizations fail to realize is that your consumer-facing brand and your employer brand are not separate entities existing in isolation. They are in effect two sides of the same coin. If your brand in the marketplace is weak you won’t be able to attract the right caliber of employee to turn things around. If you don’t take care of your employees or fail to live up to the expectations based on how you positioned your employer brand, your carefully cultivated customer-facing brand will start to suffer.
Why is employer branding important?
Employer branding is important because it sets you apart from your competition in the marketplace. If you and a direct rival are attempting to recruit for very similar positions, the company with the best track record for employee empowerment and respect will attract the best applicants.
Likewise, it demonstrates commitment and consistency. When the labor market is tight companies might go out of their way to increase signing on benefits or to make promises about compensation. But whether the market is tight or loose, you should always be trying to attract and retain the same caliber of person who possesses the right cultural as well as academic fit for your organization. And if your employer brand is up to scratch, you will have fewer recruitment problems.
How do you create an employer brand strategy?
If you want to create and implement an effective employer branding strategy, you need to begin by understanding where you are now in terms of external perception and internal opinion – in other words, conduct an employer branding audit. This was the starting point for our own transformational strategy Sitel MAX Hire.
By actively engaging our current 80,000-strong workforce and giving them their own digital community, we are able to understand, in real-time, each of the positive and negative elements of our current business culture; plus every aspect of individual roles or individual processes that create friction. At the same time, we use the community to have an open dialogue about the future of the company, to gauge their opinion and their insights. After all, no one knows our clients better than the people servicing their customers day-in, day-out.
Create an employer brand proposition
With this level of insight, you should be able to create an engaging value proposition – what it is about your company, what it stands for, what it strives to achieve – that will make it attractive for job seekers. For example, at Sitel Group we believe the customer experience begins with the employee experience and we are committed to driving a consistent, engaging and valuable employee experience across our culture, technology and working environment.
As well as in formulating the value proposition, your employees are crucial in disseminating that message as honestly and authentically as possible. At Sitel we have social media hubs addressing each territory around the world that showcase individual contact centers and employees but are also places where our people can create, post and share their own content.
Empower your employees to empower your brand
We also encourage our employees to use sites such as Glassdoor to leave honest assessments of their time with us as they move from one position to another within the company or if they choose to move on to other career opportunities. We take the time as a business to respond to these reviews with a personalized message and address any concerns we learn about. Further, it creates a two-way conversation with our current, past and prospective employees.
And then there is Empowered voices., our external platform where every person who works with us in any capacity is free to share their Sitel story in text or video format.
But it doesn’t stop with the message. The application, interview and onboarding process are also elements of the employer brand and as I’ve already discussed, we’ve actively deconstructed and rebuilt all of our processes so that they align with applicant expectations, remove any potential friction points and eliminate any doubts or questions regarding our company or what we offer.
Again, your employees are an invaluable asset in this respect. As part of the recruitment process, applicants can come to their closest contact center and experience it for themselves. They’re free to speak with existing employees and get a real sense of what Sitel is like.
The benefits of employer branding
With the right value proposition, the right level of employee engagement and a clearly defined recruitment and onboarding process, employer branding can help reduce the cost of recruitment and the time needed to fill a position. It can help attract the highest caliber applicants, improve the employee experience and reduce attrition rates. However, your employer brand is also a living thing. Once created it will have a life of its own and you need to ensure that your value proposition aligns with the reality of your business and you have to have absolute faith in your employees. It is through their words and their actions that your employer brand connects with others.