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The second event in the IoIC trilogy ‘Employer brand and the role of the internal communicator’ was a workshop where Stephen Cheliotis, of The Centre for Brand Analysis and IoIC's partner in the development of the Employer Brand Audit tool, gave a presentation on the way the tool works.



He started by reiterating why brands’ matters and what the essence of a brand is. In Steve’s view, 'brand' and 'employer brand' are very similar: it is the 'gut feeling' that derives from all that individuals have seen and heard from that business, which if positive drives interest and lustre among both consumers and employees to that given brand.
 
A strong brand he contends is not just about attracting consumers (and the positive impact on sales volumes and values this has) but also positively influencing all stakeholders, including of course employees. As an example of this impact, when employees are asked whether they would recommend their employer on average 38% would be very likely or extremely likely to recommend their organisation, but this rises to 68% among employees of leading Superbrands – leading to greater productivity and motivation and lower employee churn for these organisations. As such, understanding brand strength and perception among employees can be vital in boosting the businesses successes. Steve also pointed out that most of our decisions about brands, and whether they are suitable for us as either consumers or employees, are made quickly and are driven by emotion, as much as – if not more than – rational considerations. This he illustrated is driven by the fact that most of our decision making is driven by the fast system 1 part of our brain, not the slower more rational system 2 part of our minds.
 
So what’s the Employer Brand Audit tool? It consists of six elements: the first four measure the perceptions of both staff and consumers. The last two are employee-specific. Together, they offer a diagnostic that enables organisations to measure their internal and external brand equity, allowing businesses to determine not just how they are performing but how they can enhance their reputation to drive sales and business performance.
 
Elements of the tool

The first element looks at the purpose, values and behaviours of the brand. For example, is there an overarching mission the business is trying to achieve beyond making profit and is this recognised by both consumers and employees; furthermore is that mission actually galvanising to these audiences? In the case of employees do they understand and believe in that mission and what is their role in enabling the business to achieve that overarching goal. Do the values inform the decisions of the employee and are they genuinely lived, therefore experienced by consumers – or are they just words the management team like to talk about in presentations!
 
It gets interesting when there is a difference between the consumers' and the employees' views. That indicates that the brand has a problem. Employees and consumer will take the brand to task on stated values if they are just veneer: "We/you don't actually do that in my experience."
 
Other elements measured across both internal and external audiences include reputation (for instance, is the brand seen as having a strong brand and being a leader in its field), delivery (for instance, whether the company does what it says it will do), and momentum (for example, do people feel the brand has strong prospects and there is a feeling of positivity about the business).
 
The final two elements of the tool look at internal audiences only. They measure perceptions of how well the business enables genuine engagement across all levels and the more rational / tangible benefits the company offers.
 
So how does the tool sit beside existing surveys, such as the annual staff survey? Surveys and audits are not the same. Audits give a position at a specific moment in time.  The Employer Brand Audit is there to provide a unique assessment and insight on the position of an organisations’ brand in the mind of its employees and customers. Ultimately this will have an impact on talent attraction and retention, whilst booting productivity, customer experience and business performance. 
 
Following Steve’s presentation, delegates were given a chance to explore the six elements of the tool. Each table discussed one of the elements with some interesting observations:
 
1.    Brand Purpose and Values: "They should be differentiators that are honest and lived, ensuring they are matched between employees and the company"
2.    Brand Reputation: "Leadership in the widest sense: be authentic (and being copied shows you're doing it right), have great stories, align your PR with internal comms, be brave and dare to have an opinion."
3.    Brand Delivery: “Internal comms can play an integral role in delivering the brand promise, linking the employees’ experience to that of the customers.”
4.    Brand impetus: “Demonstrate internally the aspirations of the organisation; giving incentives and positive energy amongst employees; have a heart and give back to the community.”
5.    Engagement: "There are different measurements, financial and non-financial drivers, which should be considered side-by-side”
6.    Benefits: “Internal comms must link up with HR, it can point at the differences, where the promises do not work”
 

Click here to find out more about the Employer Brand Audit
 
 
 
 
 
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