Posts Tagged ‘Employer brand’

Culture trumps strategy


Ever since this pithy aphorism was coined, employers have been wondering about it. Here, employers come up with 6 main benefits of hiring for cultural fit, and the 3 activities to execute the strategy.


Argh – Pee – Oh! Senior HR executives voice their reactions to outsourcing their recruitment function


A fascinating discussion runs the whole gamut of emotions and rationales. What do you think of their thoughts? Request this article (it will not be sent to you automatically) and let me know.


Direct Resourcing Think Tank, your Calendar for December 2010 to February 2011


Are you a discrete, senior and inhouse thought leader in Direct Resourcing? Do you want to network with your peers?

*Only Senior HR & Resourcing Heads of large enterprises public & private participate in the DRTT.

 *The hosts are the Senior HR & Resourcing Heads of large enterprises like Lloyds Banking Group, Experian, BP, Proctor & Gamble …..

*DRTT is about the strategy of resourcing, as you have teams who do while you direct.

*What price would you put on being able to meet your peers from the companies above and understand how they are tackling the big issues?  The DRTT membership is completely free of charge because the hosts pay for the coffee & croissants, so look at the Calendar of Think Tanks below and either call me on 07979 751 562 or email me at to let me know which you want to participate in … 

NOW Thursday 3 March P&G The Evolution of Social Media
  P&G Technical Centres LTD Hosted by Elizabeth Henry, HR Lead P&G
9am – 12.00pm Whitehall Lane  
  Egham This Direct Resourcing Think Tank will allow members to share the knowledge and best practice they have learnt during the phenomenal growth and evolution of Social Media. 
  TW209NW As well as looking at its value and relationship to recruitment, this Think Tank will look at the current trends and future development of Social Media and discover how these movements can be harnessed as a positive and powerful resource.
  (London Waterloo to Egham 30 minutes. Shuttle bus from Egham station to P&G.)  
8th December DTZ Talent Management
  125 Old Broad Street Hosted by Charlotte Johns, International Head of Recruitment
9am – 12.00pm London  
  EC2N 2BQ This Direct Resourcing Think Tank will explore how businesses can be engaged and leveraged to gain competitive advantage through Talent Management practices.  We’re offering members the opportunity to discuss business readiness and what internal culture is needed for its success and on-going development.  This event aims to bring together members from established programmes as well as those in embryonic stages to share thoughts and ideas in a collaborative and friendly atmosphere.
19th January Coller Capital Securing Candidates in an Increasingly Competitive Market
  33 Cavendish Square Hosted by: Karina Barnes, Resourcing Manager, Coller Capital
9am – 12.00pm London As we move back into a more candidate driven market and the ‘war for talent’ becomes more competitive, the need to look at what companies can do to beat the competition becomes more important.  From initial attraction through to on-boarding, this Direct Resourcing Think Tank examines innovative ideas and experiences that make the average business stand out from the crowd.
  W1G 0TT  
20th January Channel 4 Talent Mapping
  124 Horseferry Road Hosted by Joanna Taylor, Head of Learning & 4Talent, Channel 4
  London Talent spotlighting, internal / external succession planning and leadership capability assessment are all key to a successful talent agenda. 
9am – 12.00pm SW1P 2TX  
    This Direct Resourcing Think Tank will explore ways to forecast, identify, map and engage with talent across a business allowing resourcing to evolve from reactive to a proactive function. 
2nd February Experian Attraction and Retention 
  George West House Hosted by Wendy King, Recruitment Manager
9am – 12.00pm 2-3 Clapham Common North Side Back by popular demand this Direct Resourcing Think Tank will focus on Talent Attraction and Retention with specific focus on Referral Schemes and Social Media.  
  SW4 0QL Tackling issues such as diversity and cultural barriers, this event promises to be an informative and valuable session for Talent professionals hoping to meet the increasing demand for high-quality candidates whilst managing costs.
9th February BP Assessment – getting the balance between technical and behavioural.
  Building F Hosted by Jon Tait, Group Resourcing Sourcing And Policy Manager, BP
9am – 12.00pm Chertsey Road What is the right balance between technical and behavioural selection? How do we link this to job performance? And if selection means improving the quality of incoming staff, what does this quality actually look like? With challenging and thought-provoking questions over assessment and selection techniques being tabled at this Direct Resourcing Think Tanks this session promises to be one of the most contentious and interesting topics on our agenda!
  TW16 7LN  
  (Feltham station 30 minutes from Waterloo. Shuttle bus from the station to BP.)  
16th February Reed Business Information Cost per hire – How do you measure it and is it even relevant?
  1 Proctor Street Hosted by David Hipkin, Recruitment and Resourcing Manager, Reed Business Information.
9am – 12.00pm London  
  WC1Z 6EU As the market has begun to recover, it has become increasingly more important to maintain control over your recruitment spending. 
    One of the most measurable ways to do this is to keep a close eye on cost per hire. This Direct Resourcing Think Tank session investigates how we currently measure this much sought after HR metric and looks at how to prevent risking overspend. How do we find out if this figure is fully loaded? Or if we don’t measure cost per hire, how do we keep track of which candidate sources are working for us? 
    This DRTT session looks to create an open forum of discussion around a subject being asked by more and more business leaders.
23rd  February Eversheds Employer Branding
  1 Wood Street Hosted by Nicky Bizzell, Head of Resourcing Eversheds
9am – 12.00pm London Following a number of extremely successful and over subscribed previous Direct Resourcing Think Tank, this topic on developing your employer branding is back due to high demand.  This event promises to offer insight into the key areas and challenges involved in developing your business’s Employer Branding strategy and approach. 
  EC2V 7WS  

new DRTT dates for your Calendar


Are you a discrete, senior and inhouse thought leader in Direct Resourcing? Do you want to network with your peers?

*Only Senior HR & Resourcing Heads of large enterprises public & private participate in the DRTT.

*The hosts are the Senior HR & Resourcing Heads of large enterprises like Barclays, Tesco, PWC and Axa.

*DRTT is about the strategy of resourcing, as you have teams who do while you direct.

*What price would you put on being able to meet your peers from the companies above and understand how they are tackling the big issues?  The DRTT membership is completely free of charge, so look at the Calendar of Think Tanks below and either call me on 07979 751 562 or email me at to let me know which you want to participate in … 

April 9th9am – 12.30pm Barclaycard
1 Churchill Place
E14 5HP
Executive Search
Hosted by Adrian Shooter, Executive Resourcer, Barclaycard
Following a number of extremely successful and over subscribed previous Direct Resourcing Think Tank, this topic on developing an internal executive search capability is back due to high demand.   It offers members the opportunity to share experiences from initially championing a business to set up an internal function through to managing senior candidate attraction and on-boarding.
28th April9am – 12.30pm FSA
 25 The North Colonnade,Canary Wharf,


E14 5HS

Promoting Diversity
Hosted by Hayley Chelmick, Resourcing Manager, FSA
This Direct Resourcing Think Tank will explore the methods recruiters can use to promote opportunities to candidates from diverse backgrounds, either direct or through third party suppliers.  As well as discussing channels to market it will look at how people monitor and define success.
12th May9am – 12.30pm Tesco
 New Tesco House
Delamare Road
Structuring, Incentivising and Supporting an Internal Resourcing Function
 Hosted by Emma Smith, International Resourcing Manager (Europe), Tesco
Deciding how to structure, incentivise and support their internal resourcing function  is one of the key challenges many of our members face.  With so many variables and often an unclear picture of demand from their business this Direct Resourcing Think Tank offers members the opportunity to discuss their thoughts and experiences.   
19th May9am – 12.30pm Royal Bank of Scotland, Bishopsgate Structuring, Hosted by Susan Bor, Director, Group Resourcing, RBS
2nd June9am – 12.30pm Swiss Re
 30 St Mary Axe
Referral Schemes
Hosted by Kim Roberts, VP Human Resources, Swiss Re
Referral schemes are often one of the cheapest, yet most under utilised channels to market.  Tackling issues such as diversity and cultural barriers this Direct Resourcing Think Tank promises to be an informative and valuable session for talent professionals harnessing themselves to meet the increase in demand for hiring whilst managing costs.
9th June9am – 12.30pm BSkyB
 Grant Way
Employer Branding
Hosted by John Paul Cardew, Talent Resourcing Manager – Corporate & Broadcast, BskyB
By cleverly linking your employer branding to your consumer branding internal resourcing functions can gain unprecedented traction in the market.  At this Direct Resourcing Think Tank BSkyB will be sharing their experience on the journey they have been through to achieve this.
23rd June9am – 12.30pm  Coller Capital
 33 Cavendish Square
Sourcing and Selection
Hosted by Karina Barnes, Head of Resourcing, Coller Capital
This Direct Resourcing Think Tank will look at direct sourcing and selection techniques now being utilised in niche markets where directly approaching talent has traditionally been looked upon negatively .  Areas under discussion will range from comparing the use of different direct sourcing tools such as Linked In, through to how much emphasis should be placed in personality profiling and at what point in the process should it be used. 
30th June9am – 12.30pm Penspen
 33 Cavendish Square
Where have all the Engineers gone?
Hosted by Richard Irving, International Head of Recruitment & Manpower, Penspen
This Direct Resourcing Think Tank will look at the skills gap many engineering reliant organisations are currently experiencing.  From shorter term solutions to bridge this skills gap through to longer term strategies to revitalise the sector this promises to be a thought provoking discussion.
14th July9am – 12.30pm AXA, Bristol  
21st July9am – 12.30pm PWC  
4th August9am – 12.30pm Towers Watson  
1st September9am – 12.30pm Experian  
8th September9am – 12.30pm  Eversheds  
15th September9am – 12.30pm  Alvarez and Marsal  
22nd September9am – 12.30pm  The GSMA,Global HQ

Seventh Floor
5 New Street Square
New Fetter Lane

29th September9am – 12.30pm  CH2M Hill  

Brand from the Inside


Recommended Reading

Brand from the Inside. Eight Essentials to Emotionally Connect Your Employees to Your Business, Libby Sartain and Mark Schumann, 2006

Libby Sartain was, until earlier this year, Yahoo’s Chief People Officer, so what she writes is worth reading. She reads the Discussions in the Employer Branding group on LinkedIn, so you can have a discussion with her. Mark Schumann is a senior exec with Towers Perrin. They have written a number of books together. This is a light summation of their 2006 book.

Marketing own the brand, right? And they jealously guard it – “Don’t risk the brand!” they scowl at you when you make a suggestion for your job advertising! But if you want to deliver exceptional service, your branding program should really begin with your employees: when employees feel an emotional connection with a company, they deliver exceptionally good service, which your customers will recognise and appreciate. This is why Sartain coined the phrase earlier this month on the LinkedIn group “HR is the new Marketing”. This book could be a powerful ally when trying to co-opt Marketing into your way of doing things. Your employer branding campaign should include eight essential activities.


How customers view your brand determines whether they like, trust and buy your products. If your brand breaks its promises, your customers may turn away. Conversely, when a brand delivers excellent service or quality, that can have a halo effect on your entire product line. Brands can accelerate sales and customer acceptance.

The best brands generate emotions that overpower common sense. For example, why do people pay over £2 for a cup of coffee at Caffe Nero when they could brew it at home for pennies or buy it elsewhere in a caff for 50p? Millions pick up pricey cappuchinos every day, but the individual decision to grab a high end cup of coffee has nothing to do with reason.

When customers identify with your brand, it achieves a new level of influence. For other examples of such powerful branding, turn to Lego and Disney. Legoland stands for creativity; Disneyland a happy childhood. Consumers feel an emotional connection with these brands. I can vouch for this being a parent!

Employees also have a relationship with your brand. When people believe in a company, they feel good about working for it and delivering on its promises to customers. What Sartain and Schumann are suggesting is that you should discover what customers think of your offering.

“If the brand doesn’t live on the inside, it can’t thrive on the outside.”


A 2005 worldwide study found that HR professionals see a company’s brand as the essence of what it communicates internally and externally. The same study found that 60% of companies planned to start employee branding campaigns, which include many of the same components as customer-directed campaigns.

In a customer-directed campaign, you make promises to customers; in an employee campaign, you make promises to employees. In both cases, you must honour your promises.

An employee campaign should connect your brand’s promises to customers with its promises to employees. Both branding exercises must complement your company’s business strategy.

A study by Yahoo! found that 94% of job hunters said they had to believe in a company’s mission to accept a position with it. Companies with strong brands get good recruiting results. 79% of HR professionals believed that employees ranked companies with strong employer brands as top places to work. When employees feel an emotional link to a company, they are more likely to remain with the organisation when it experiences hard times or intense competition. This is why internal branding is important in meeting HR goals.

Make sure employees understand your brand – which means more than just ascertaining that they are familiar with your products and how they work. They must learn what your brand represents to customers and why the brand inspires them. Encourage employees to use the brand. Hallmark, for example, gives employees greeting cards to use.

“Any business, in any corner of the world, must create an experience to engage its employees before it can expect those employees to deliver the brand to customers.”


If you don’t intentionally develop an internal brand, one, or a number, will develop anyway. An informal employee brand may do a fine job of representing the company positively and accurately. However, if it doesn’t, you must correct the problem by making sure that you are communicating the right values to your employees and customers. Ask employees and marketing executives to answer the following questions, and use their responses to diagnose how well you are conveying your internal message and to formulate your internal branding strategy:

• Do those who work here understand what the brand promises?

• How strongly do they believe in the brand’s promises?

• Can staff members do more to deliver what the brand promises?

• Does the brand support the company’s recruiting efforts?

“The key to employer branding is tapping the emotional essence of the company and its brand, and using that emotional essence to frame and articulate the employee experience.”


When you plan and prepare an internal branding campaign, your goals are:

• To generate more revenue.

• To reduce talented employee turnover.

• To enhance recruitment potential.

Internal branding should become part of your business plan – however, don’t overstate what branding can accomplish. A change-resistant corporate culture, road blocks from company leaders and departmental turf battles can become obstacles to any campaign.

Although a good employer brand can reduce the amount you spend on recruiting and replacing employees, branding campaigns cost money. You may need to invest in research, the services of an ad agency to communicate your new messages and additional HR support, if the plan involves significant change.

In most companies, internal branding is the HR department’s responsibility. Depending on the type of business and the project’s scope, staff members from marketing, corporate communication, customer service, the call centre, sales and IT may also get involved. All these disparate people must learn to work as a team.


To carry out the plan, the team should take the following steps:

• Set ground rules – Specify the problem. Is there too much turnover? Cynicism? Are new competitors eroding sales and taking your customers? The team should analyse the effects on the brand of both external and internal factors.

• Perform research – Research can help you define your company’s essence, or what your brand means to your customers – which is not the same as what your product does. For example, Hallmark’s essence is “enriching lives.” Harley-Davidson’s is “we fulfill dreams.” Heinz’s is “doing a common thing uncommonly well.” Anheuser-Busch’s is “we will add to life’s enjoyment.”

• Set attainable goals – Specify objectives for each key area: the company, the brand, the market, and prospective, current and former employees.

• Communicate the goals – Everyone in the organisation should know and understand the goals. The team should develop a creative “big idea” that inspires employees and conveys what the company represents.

Implement the employer-branding process whenever you experience major staff changes or other significant shifts, such as a merger. Communicate your employer brand in all your marketing, policy and operational efforts.

“Brands paint the picture a customer steps into.”

“A brand can connect a customer to what a business is all about – its character, personality and values.”

“At their heart, brands touch the soul, excite the mind, satisfy the need and motivate the action.”


Your employee brand must meet employees’ expectations. Don’t frustrate your staff with a gap between what the brand promises and what it delivers. Make your promises clear; for example, FedEx’s “purple promise” to employees includes a compensation package and a rewards programme.

Break down distinctions between employees and customers by regarding your employees as internal customers. The HR department should insure that employees are aware of the employer brand at every stage of their life-cycle with the company:

• Noticing the company.

• Deciding it is an attractive place to work.

• Applying for a job.

• Joining the company.

• Working.

• Leaving.

• Remembering the work experience.


Share your employer brand messages with everyone the company touches: customers, the community, employees, regulators and competitors. The Internet, with its capacity to spread messages instantly around the world, has changed the way organisations communicate. You must explain what your company does, and how it benefits customers and employees.

When UPS changed its company logo in 2003, it gave every employee a small package containing a pin and a message from the company president explaining the reasons for the logo change, and how the new logo would look on company vehicles and packaging.

Hallmark uses another creative way to deliver its company message. Its annual employee brand conference puts participants in the mood to receive a positive message. Employees explain how the company and its products have enriched their lives. Company artists and writers discuss how they create the cards. The goal of the event is to help employees understand the business and to strengthen their belief in the company mission.

Washington Mutual appointed 75 brand managers, representing all lines of business nationwide. “Brand rallies” around the country had a 95% employee-participation rate.

To communicate your employer brand, follow these steps:

• Recognise that emotions are powerful communication tools.

• Re-evaluate your employee-communication programme&

• Tell the truth. A 2003 study found that only 51% of employees believed what their companies said, and only 48% believed senior management.

• Involve senior management in telling the story.

• Train key personnel to be employer brand advocates.

• Explain how employees benefit from working for the company: WIIFM. Then, explain again.

• Demonsdrate the business’s personality. Southwest Airlines, which has a reputation as a fun place to work, holds job-recruitment auditions, where interviewers encourage candidates to sing.

“Only by addressing each stage of an employee’s experience can you truly make an employer brand come to life.”

“To make the employer brand real for your employees, emotionally and functionally, it must live during each part of each day of an employee’s experience.”

“Your business must create a multisensory experience for your employees in which the  brand is present all around.”

“Ultimately, an employer brand is only as successful as the way in which it directs the choices people make every day.”


Once you’ve created and communicated your message, it will take on a life of its own in the workplace, through daily interactions between individuals and among small groups.

All of your senior managers should reinforce the branding effort by embodying what the brand represents.

To keep the branding program focused, monitor feedback from employees and customers.

Determine whether the brand is meeting employee expectations. Use focus groups and surveys to be sure that the customer brand and the employer brand are aligned. On the UPS “brand exchange” website, customers, suppliers and the community interact. The site protects the brand and ensures that everyone has a consistent experience.


• When employees feel connected to your company, they provide good service.

• See your employees as internal customers; create an employer brand for them.

• Half of HR managers view the company brand as “the essence of our offering” and say that their companies conduct some form of employee branding.

• Your employer brand must meet your employees’ expectations.

• To create your employer brand, know the brand’s essence.

• Take the following eight steps: discover, commit, diagnose, prepare, create, apply, market, nurture.

• Factors such as your reputation, corporate culture, workplace conditions, ethics and career growth opportunities shape your employer brand.

• Work to create trust. In one study, only 51% of employees believed what their companies said and only 48% believed statements from senior management.

• Revisit your employer brand whenever there is a merger or staff change, and in all marketing, communication, policy and operational efforts.

• To convey your company’s message, sponsor an event such as a conference that creates a receptive mood.

To temper what Sartain and Schumann wrote in 2006, the general argument in Direct Resourcing Think Tanks has been that organisations can no longer own or control their employer brand reputation. While once a business could implement an employer branding strategy and related messaging with stellar results, such as being named one of the best places to work, getting positive media attention and becoming the subject of academic and corporate case studies, this control has been usurped by social media, peer-to-peer publishing and online rating services. The shift in power renders all but the most strategic and well-executed efforts virtually ineffective.

Talent acquisition experts can no longer push out a message to those they wish to recruit unless the message is authentic and the experience inside the company mirrors the message.  Any disconnect puts the organisation, and the ability to recruit, at risk.

A business can stay in the driver’s seat of their brand reputation by creating an authentic experience for workers that begins before a prospective worker even thinks about a business as a place to work and ends with an active alumnus who is a fan of the business as a place to work. But this is hard work and requires the participation of everyone involved with the enterprise. It means that the website has to message what is really going on in the organisation. The candidate experience mirrors what the worker will experience on the job and will be the best first impression.

Once onboard, HR programmes should be consistently delivered as branded products and services. Leaders and co-workers influence, more than anyone else, what a worker experiences day in and day out. It means that day to day behaviour must be consistent with the employer brand promise. To have any control over the brand, an employer must screen for people with behavioural attributes that are aligned with the brand when hiring.

I do think that the Sartain book gives you in HR some strong arguments to co-opt your Marketing Department. In the worst case, they will help you confront Marketing, defeat their argument that they are the sole owner of the brand, and force them to get you in HR & Talent Acquisition onside.

A final word: as a recruiter, what management reports would you need to measure your employer brand?

Alumni returns, numbers of speccy CVs sent in via your website that you then interview or put into a talent pool, referrals as a percentage of total hires, retention of grade 1 performers, ratio of offers to accepts, and ratio of candidates who withdraw themselves during the recruitment process against those whom you reject. What other reports could you produce that would reflect on your employer brand?