“Which comes first, improving your employee experience or creating your employer brand?”
This was one of the questions raised during the recently concluded first session from our webinar series on Employer Branding entitled ‘Marketing as Enabler for Employer Branding,’ led by GPTW Philippines’ Managing Partner, Antoniette Talosig, and with Catherine Ileto as guest speaker. This session was intended for Communications and Marketing leads who are keen to build strategies in making their companies an employer of choice.
Catherine Ileto is a well-respected figure in the Philippine business community, primarily for being one of the key enablers of the IT-BPM industry and for engaging global analysts to attract global companies and shared service centers to set foot in the Philippines. Her vast experience ranges from Media to the Healthcare and ICT industries, taking on Corporate Communications and Marketing Lead functions. And just recently, Cathy was sworn in as elected Board of Trustee and Director of the Public Relations Society of the Philippines.
This webinar was well-received, with over 150 registrants from various industries including Education, Manufacturing, Retail, Hospitality, Financial Services, Insurance and even government institutions. This goes to show that the topic of ‘employer branding’ is now of primary interest among organizations, especially since we have moved from offices to the virtual space.
The one-hour session was very engaging, informative, and insightful, as Toni Talosig and the audience themselves raised compelling questions for Cathy Ileto to address. I, myself, had a few realizations after listening to this dialogue, and indeed, there are many things to consider when you wish to build or strengthen your employer brand.
Here are my key takeaways:
For organizations to create an effective employer brand, they must do the following:
Align the external brand to the internal brand.
It is important to connect your people to your company’s mission, vision, and values. And this can be done by establishing a sense of purpose for the services the employees provide or the products they produce. Likewise, it is also important to highlight the value that employees bring to the community by showing how the company is involved in social responsibility and sustainable government programs.
Cathy Ileto quoted a passage from the book Living the Brand by Nicholas Ind which says, “Employees flourish in the organization where they identify with the brand. Organizations flourish when the brand has purpose and meaning.”
Create your team of employer brand champions.
Cathy Ileto points to the CEO, CHRO and the Marketing/Communications people as the main employer brand champions. The company chief acts as executive sponsor, while the CHRO and Communications Lead work hand in hand to ensure a great workplace experience such that the employees are proud and inspired to contribute and represent their company. Managers also play a pivotal part in rallying their respective teams and serve as role models that their employees can emulate. They are the main communication lines and must show authenticity and care when reaching out to their staff, creating an indelible ecosystem of trust, respect and camaraderie.
A question was raised from the audience on how to build the employer brand given limited resources. Cathy Ileto’s response to this was for the company to look for their ‘tribe of brand ambassadors’.
Employees will always resonate with how they are being treated by their employers. By extending care packages, providing for health and wellbeing, and opening communication lines and interest groups, employees will feel connected with the heart of the company itself. Transparency, accountability, and honest communication is also vital in explaining challenging situations. Most importantly, it is essential to identify who your key influencers are. Convene them and communicate how to best advocate for the company, so they can build and increase the tribe of brand ambassadors.
Have people practices that actualize your employer brand.
Defining your employer brand or employee value proposition (EVP) is unique to every organization, so their needs to be strong alignment between HR and Communications in this regard. Cathy Ileto shared how Great Place to Work®’s Nine Practice Areas has been her valuable reference in creating these strategies, acting as her compass in enhancing the employee experience and articulating the company’s employee promise.
The Nine Practice Areas are cornerstones from which the employee experience of great workplaces is measured upon. It serves as an effective guide for managers as they shape the employee experience that they envision for their organization.
Conduct frequent brand audit.
Given the circumstances brought about by the global pandemic, it is even more crucial to listen to the voices of your employees. Cathy Ileto shared that it is imperative to remain relevant with employees’ needs, in order gain their trust. Localization of broad themes such as recognition and team celebrations may often need looking into, to drive engagement as well. Every company must regularly review which strategies are working for them, and which are not. Emprising™, Great Place to Work®’s proprietary survey platform, has been a very useful and insightful tool in getting employee feedback in real time and feeling the pulse of the organization.
With all these crucial steps in building a sound employer brand, when is the best time to start working on it? Cathy Ileto says, “the best time is now!”
Especially in the era of a ‘disrupted workplace’ where employees are feeling a myriad of challenges, now is the best time to start creating your organization’s unique employer brand; one that serves as a dependable anchor in times of seemingly endless transitions. Knowing that someone, their company, has their back will be a great source of reassurance, and this in turn impacts productivity.
Getting GPTW-Certified™ is the first step in this journey, as it does not only provide recognition opportunities, but likewise the guidance and support of culture experts. It is also easy to deploy and available year-round. To find out how to be GPTW-Certified™, follow this link.
Xyris loves to look at life through a broader lens. She is a certified bookworm, occasional writer, intrepid traveler and design enthusiast. She likes to create and breathe vibrancy to things. When not organizing events, she is a content contributor for GPTW PH and likewise handles corporate matters. A happy wife and a doting mom, she finds joy in unique experiences and believes that everyone has the potential for greatness.