Not too long ago, the conversation of choice, for me and most other internal communicators, was how to better engage employees through more effective communications, onsite events and employee town halls, employee opinion surveys, and collaborative technology.
But that conversation evolved as I broadened my focus beyond employee engagement to encompass the entire employee journey (aka the employee lifecycle). But it wasn’t until I became involved in optimizing / creating the employee value proposition and the marketing of it that I realized what I’ve really been working on all these years is the embodiment of employer brand, how your company is perceived and how you market it as a place to work to both current and prospective employees. It’s really the perfect marriage between HR and marketing.
Some people use employer brand and employee engagement interchangeably. In fact, at a Talent Brand Summit I recently attended, I was surprised that the conversation focused on employee engagement as the initiative and employer brand as the means to achieve it.
Additionally, I found that many organizations see the primary focus of employer brand being within talent acquisition, which is why “recruitment marketing” is a buzz phrase these days. But recruitment marketing focuses only on the candidate experience.
A well-executed employer brand focuses not just on the candidate experience, but also on the employee experience — which, in fact, is the “longer tail” of employer brand.
The all important employee journey is the roadmap for activating your employer brand — first within attraction and recruiting and then carrying it forward into onboarding and all throughout the employee experience. Meaning, your employer brand is the fuel for your employee engagement efforts. The tactics of that being such as things as an employee ambassador program, employee referral program, alumni engagement, and even infusion within your internal communications content and channels.
The proof points (and content) for all of these tactics is generated from the message framework of your employer brand and employee value proposition. Your employees won’t subscribe to or share content that they don’t believe in or see evidence of. That’s why the metrics from these tactics are what you use as your KPI for overall employee engagement. And when these numbers go up, then you know you have a strong employer brand.
Employer brand and employee engagement are not the same. Rather, employee engagement is a measurable outcome of your employer brand — and not the other way around.