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How to position yourself as a true Employer of choice

How to position yourself as a true Employer of choice
It has been almost 20 years since we started Allen Associates. Throughout this time we have worked with many of Oxfordshire’s leading Employers. But irrespective of the size of their organisation or number of years in business, they each face the same challenge – how to position themselves as an Employer of choice.

Competition between organisations has increased significantly in recent years, both in terms of businesses vying with one another to gain greater market share and attracting the best talent to work for them. In areas such as Oxfordshire, this is particularly acute with location being the key recruitment challenge reported by 60% of Employers who we surveyed recently.

Indeed, recent figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the unemployment rate in the county is one of the lowest in the UK, while the average wage is one of the highest. This presents Employers with a dilemma of how to find and attract the talent that is available and more important, how to encourage them to want to work for an organisation. Cue: Employer brand.

The term ‘Employer brand’ was first coined in the 1990s with little attention paid to it at first. But then the recession came along and terms such as ‘corporate reputation’ and ‘transparency’ quickly found their way into the lexicon of HR’s everywhere. Organisations began to apply the same focus to their Employer brand as they did to their Corporate brand.

So, what can Employers do to build a stronger Employer brand?

The role we perform and the plethora of organisations we have worked with over the years has provided us with invaluable insight into the things Employers do that make a successful Employer brand, and the things that don’t:

1. Create an Employer Value Proposition (EVP)

According to a global survey of 2,000 senior executives published in the Harvard Business Review, 61% of respondents said that having an Employer Value Proposition is essential for raising their Employer profile.

As its name suggests, your EVP is an expectation of what the Employer has of its Employees and what they can expect their Employer to provide for them in return. In practice, this involves listening to Employees and letting them – not the marketing department - decide what’s great about working for the organisation.

It needs to involve all stakeholders with the mission, vision and values of the business clearly spelled out too. Remember, Employees are rarely if ever ‘just looking for a job’, they want something more, so Employers always need to be mindful of addressing the what’s-in-it-for-me factor when developing their EVP.

Having an EVP in place has also been shown to positively impact the business, too. Research by Towers Watson found those organisations that use their EVP effectively are “five times more likely to report their Employees are highly engaged and twice as likely to report financial performance significantly above their peers.”

2. Keep the ‘Social’ in Social Media

Research by Social Talent showed that 93% of Recruiters and hiring managers say they have searched for applicants on social media sites – up from just 12% in 2009. 60-70% of candidates say they use social media as part of their jobs search. While these are certainly impressive statistics, the success of their social activity and how it impacts their Employer brand comes down to one thing – engagement.

To maximise the return on their social media investment, Employers need to have a dedicated strategy which involves posting careers-related content and responding to followers on a regular basis. By proactively sharing stories that give an insight into the culture of the organisation and its people, Employers can build a more authentic and engaging Employer brand proposition that is more effective than any beautifully crafted recruitment advert can ever be.

3. Create a team of Brand Ambassadors

Creating and communicating the EVP and providing insights into the heart of the business are significant in themselves, but to complete the Employer brand circle Employers need to practice what they preach too.

Identifying a core group of engaged Employees who could serve as internal brand advocates can have a significant impact on getting others onboard. By engaging them whether through focus groups, interviews or Employee surveys, Employers can use the information gathered to create a compelling brand advocacy programme. This in turn supports the Employee attraction and retention strategy of the business too.

Research by LinkedIn reveals that 83% of ‘talent acquisition leaders’ say that their Employer brand “significantly impacts their ability to hire great talent.” It has also been shown to reduce Employee turnover by as much as 28%. So, by getting it right, your Employer brand can make your organisation more than just a business – it will come to mean something that people will want to be a part of.

Our Recruitment team has helped to position many of Oxfordshire’s businesses as the Employer of choice to talented candidates. Why not speak to us and find how we can help your business find the best in local talent.