There are two immoveable truths in the drinks market. The first is that it is one of the most brand-rich and innovative industries in the world. Secondly, it is one of the most competitive in terms of attracting and retaining the best talent. Whilst many drinks companies nurture, protect and develop their brands, far fewer invest the same amount of time, care and effort in their employer brand.
So what is your employer brand and why is it important?
The employer brand is the identity of a company as an employer of choice. For effective employer brand promotion, however, the company can only attract current and future employees if it has an identity that is true, credible, relevant, distinctive and aspirational. It is also about your reputation, how you are perceived in the marketplace and how others imagine what it would be like to work for you. As a result, an effective employer brand helps significantly with attracting talent and employee retention.
The employer brand experience spans every aspect of a candidate’s employment including; attraction, initial engagement, the recruitment process, feedback, on-boarding into the business, training and career development, support networks, benefits and incentives, right through to their exit from the organisation and beyond.
As recruiters (Fluid Fusion – link www.fluidfusionexec.com) with over twelve years’ experience in the drinks market we see a common theme that those businesses with the more positive ‘market perception’ invariably find it easier to recruit and retain staff over those less positive.
A consistent, clearly defined and proactive employer brand can offer significant benefits to your business. It can dramatically increase application rates and offer the enviable position of having a relatively wider pool of talent to select from. In competitive markets, where competition for the best talent is fierce, it also helps keep your organisation at the forefront of potential candidate’s minds, makes your company stand out in a busy job market and provides compelling reasons to stay engaged with your business, ready for when opportunities arise.
In addition, companies where values, personality and desired behaviours are embedded through the employer brand there is often increased engagement from employees. This has shown to result in greater productivity and higher retention rates – all of which contribute to retaining skills, advocates and knowledge, ultimately improving the commercial success of your business.
So how can you improve your employer brand?
- Draw together the key attributes of your people and values of your business together with a clear understanding of your culture is a crucial starting point.
- Ensure that your product brand and employer brand are well aligned. A disconnect between the two can cause a muddled message both internally and externally. Remember your biggest advocates are your people and they can either be very positive or critical. It’s counter-productive to promote product values of innovation, energy and vibrancy if these facets are not reflected by the day to day experiences of your people.
- The defined themes and values of your employer brand should then be reflected in your recruitment practices. From the job adverts you post, the recruitment partners you work with and the whole interview experience, there is a huge opportunity to leave candidates with a positive impression, whether they are successful or not. Sadly we often see examples of where companies do not deliver a great experience to prospective job seekers. This is typically due to poor outward advertising of jobs and messaging, working with multiple recruitment partners, a lack of feedback, elongated timescales and a muddled process.
In short the best advice to drinks companies looking to recruit is to ensure that your recruitment process and employee experience reflects directly the same values, time investment and respect you give your brands and products.
When was the last time you heard a positive comment about an employer compared to a negative one? It can take just one negative public comment to severely damage your employer brand. Therefore, investing time in nurturing and protecting your reputation is also very important. Social media is a double edge sword whereby you can spread positive messages quickly, but negative ones can move at the speed of sound.
One final point is that employers need to spread awareness of their brands in line with their own company identity. We still educate candidates and professionals each week on who the companies are behind the brands. For example, it is often confusing for graduates coming into the industry to identify the companies they want to work for especially when a number of them are named after one brand but actually own many, e.g. Pernod Ricard, Bacardi, Chivas Brothers and Carlsberg.
At Fluid Fusion we spend a lot of time educating and representing the employer brand. Due to the challenges outlined above we launched a new drinks industry career platform, Liquid Careers to help address this issue and other career challenges.