Our CEO, Emma Hatto, on how a strong employer brand can help your business retain its best team members.
A few months ago, I wrote about how employer branding will help you to attract the best talent during the recruitment process, from job specs, to interviews and career sites. However, as you’ll know, the recruitment process is only a small part of building a great team. In a study by Kronos and Future Workplace, 87% of HR leaders say that employee retention is a number one priority, and for good reason too. Every team member has a wealth of knowledge and experience with your business, and when they leave, that knowledge and experience leaves with them (mostly.) Plus, it can cost up to 33% of their salary to replace them. On a happier note, a study showed that employer brand can reduce turnover by 28% and help you to grow (and keep) a team of talented people who actually want to be there.
What is an employer brand?
A brand is usually created to attract and retain customers, and an employer brand is like that, but the opposite. It’s about branding from the inside-out and applying similar practices to attract and retain employees.
Essentially, an employer brand helps you to bring your brand values to life for your team. So, if one of your brand values is ‘think big’—what’s in place at your company that allows your team to think big with their work? This is why employer brand isn’t just the brain-child of brand and marketing, it also needs the operational expertise of HR teams to make it more than empty words.
“You can’t reverse into a mission and values through marketing. The organisations that are struggling with this are probably the ones that are thinking about marketing first.” — Alex Weller, European Marketing Director, Patagonia (Source: Marketing Week)
However, it can’t just rely on HR to get everyone on board with an employer brand. Creative teams help to shape how that brand is communicated to your team and it takes collaboration from both sides to create an employer brand that’s as engaging as it is tangible.
So, how can an employer brand help with talent retention?
A study showed that great employee onboarding can improve employee retention by 82%.
When it comes to a new hire, those first few months will let them know if they’ve made the right decision and so, your employer brand should shine through during the onboarding process as much as it did when you were recruiting. That could mean creating fun welcome packs, setting up interesting Slack integrations and in general, putting things in place that make them feel like part of the team. In my experience, I’ve found that it’s the little details that really make onboarding a success.
In other words, employees want to have workmates. This can come naturally to some, but your business plays a part in that too. From an employer brand perspective, think of opportunities for your team to build connections and get to know each other. It could be as simple as setting up communication tools like Slack, or having regular events and team building days. And this isn’t just for your new team members. Regular interaction will help your team to grow stronger relationships and make them happy to come into work every morning. When your team are happy to come into work every day, they’ll be happier to stick around.
Employees who think they are progressing in their career are 20% more likely to stay at their companies
Careers are fulfilling and for your employees, they want to see that they’re moving forward with their personal goals and ambitions. If your business isn’t helping them to do that, they’ll start looking to either work somewhere that does, or start a business of their own. But how can employer brand help with that?
Probably one of the best ways to support your team’s career progression is to invest in their training and development (we can help you there.) When you actively help them to meet their goals, you’re sending the message that you’re invested in them and that their career has longevity within your business. Training does great things for company culture—we can help there.
Recognition is also a big deal for employees—a big deal for anyone—and implementing an employer brand strategy around recognition will make your team feel valued. In a study by Gallup, employees whose managers regularly communicate with them are nearly three times more engaged than those with managers who don’t regularly communicate. Another showed that companies who implement regular employee feedback have turnover rates that are 14.9% lower than for employees who receive no feedback. As a team, this could mean upping the frequency of reviews, introducing target-based rewards or giving shout-outs in your monthly internal newsletter.
Peer-to-peer recognition also comes into this and not just within the walls of your office. Social media has changed the working environment and although there’s a fear that the more your team talk about their work online, the more opportunity there will be for them to be poached by other companies, the benefits of encouraging them to talk about their experience at your company are ten-fold. For one, it allows them to showcase their career progression, which in turn, reminds them of how your company is supporting their personal goals. It also opens up opportunities for recognition from their managers, their team and wider industry peers. What’s more, it shows their wider network that your company is a great place to work. A study showed that employee voice is considered three times more credible than the CEOs when it comes to company culture, so developing an employer brand that champions content and storytelling, can actually help to recruit more great talent for your team.
As a brand value, transparency is one of the hardest to actualise, because it involves being completely honest about the good and the bad. However, even when times are bad, transparency can help to keep your team on board. Why? People like to feel like they’re part of something and if there are lots of closed doors and suspicious phone calls without any explanation, panic will make them jump ship. An employer brand that’s based on transparency will create a company culture where honesty is the best policy. This means, your team feel more invested in helping your business through the tough times (because they actually know what’s going on) and they’ll be more likely to be honest with you. Win-win.
48% say that the design of their workplace has a significant impact on their decision to stay with a company
Just as a Nike store is the epitome of the Nike brand, the same can go for your office, which can have an effect on employee retention. More than ever, wellness, natural light and even decor are becoming priorities for teams who want to work from inspiring, modern workspaces. A study from boutique coworking network, Mindspace, showed that nearly 40% of employees would like to see more comfortable furniture introduced to their workspaces. Your work environment is your employer brand home and if your business values things like wellness, or balance, then your space should reflect that, either through its decor, or initiatives like flexible working.
The important takeaway from all of this is that an employer brand is for life, not just for recruitment. An engaged team has the power to send your business to new heights and attract more talent for your team. This all happens by knowing what your brand stands for and developing an employer brand that reflects that.